Back with a bang! Americana Festival celebrates Fourth of July and honors COVID-19 first responders

The Centerville-Washington Township Americana Festival is back and honoring the men and women who helped the community battle the pandemic.

“We set out this year hoping that we could put on an Americana Festival that allowed people to come out and celebrate after making it through some very difficult times,” said Keith Weiskittle, executive director of the festival.

“We really wanted to honor the people in our community who made it possible for us to get through that time.”

The event was cancelled last year and this year’s festival theme is “Honoring COVID-19 First Responders and Health Care Workers.” Representatives from local hospitals, fire and rescue organizations and health care workers will be the parade grand marshals.

The festivities kick off Sunday, July 4 with a flag ceremony at Stubbs Park, 225 W. Spring Valley Rd. at 7 p.m. followed by the Americana Concert. This year the Centerville Community Band and Chorus will perform patriotic music.

A fireworks display with synchronized music by Jack FM 92.9 blasts off at 10 p.m. at the Centerville High School Stadium, 500 E. Franklin St.

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Gates open at 6 p.m. and 10 food trucks will be parked outside. The stadium holds 4,000 but bring blankets and chairs for additional viewing outside.

This is the 48th year for the festival which began as a sidewalk sale in 1972 among downtown Centerville merchants, according to the Centerville-Washington Township Americana Festival website. In previous years 90,000 people have attended.

A day of celebration takes place Monday, July 5.

Lace up your shoes for the Up and Running Americana 5k Run/Walk.

The race starts and ends at the high school stadium and participants should arrive by 7 a.m. for the 7:30 race start.

Registration is $30 but runners and walkers can save $5 by registering by June 30. More information about the race and registering can be found here.

The festival parade is a patriotic spectacle with more than 120 units participating.

Floats, bands, mobile and walking units — all decked out in red, white and blue — will proceed along Franklin Street beginning at 10 a.m.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

For those who can’t make it in person, the parade will be aired live on Time Warner channel 5. John Davis, Centerville community relations officer, and Kate Bostdorff, communications director, will narrate the procession.

In addition, there is a change to the festival this year. The hundreds of arts and crafts booths that typically line Main Street have been cancelled due to lower vendor applications. Americana Festival officials believe the pandemic caused the low application turn out but they will return again in 2022.

“Instead of that we’re really trying to amp up our food fair,” Weiskittle said. “We have more than 75 food vendor booths that will be lined up on Main Street.”

Strolling performers, jugglers, stilt walkers, balloon artists and more will roam the street and live music will be performed on stages at Routsong Funeral Home and Burke Orthodontic.

Among the bands performing will be Soul Express, the Hauer Swing Band, Locking Up Otis and the Vicki Youngman Trio.

The annual auto show will be set up at the north end of the festival on Main Street.

More information about the Americana Festival can be found online or on the festival’s Facebook page.

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