UPDATE @ 7:30 p.m. (July 12): The hometown of Neil Armstrong is expanding its annual festival celebrating the moon landing in honor of its 50th anniversary this year.
The annual Wapakoneta Summer Moon Festival will take place for 10 days this year instead of its usual four. Organizers said they expect tens of thousands of space enthusiasts to attend this year’s special celebration, meant to honor Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s landing and walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission.
"History will always record that the first person to set foot on the moon was Neil Armstrong from Wapakoneta, Ohio,” Dante Centuori, executive director of the Armstrong Air and Space Museum, told the Associated Press.
“There’s a certain amount of pride that just permeates this whole community,” Centuori later told News Center 7’s Steve Baker.
The event will go from today through July 21 and feature appearances from NASA astronauts, hot air balloon rallies, concerts, food and games.
Wapakoneta resident Pat Conley remembers the original parade 50 years ago and she has hopes for the upcoming celebration.
“It was a good parade, and it lasted forever,” Conley said. “I hope this one is just as good.”
Events will take place in downtown Wapakoneta, the Armstrong Air and Space Museum and the Auglaize County Fairgrounds.
The full schedule, as well as parking and lodging information, can be found on the Summer Moon Festival’s website.