The fun, food and festivities of summertime Fourth of July parades, come early to the village of Johnstown, with the annual Johnstown Fireman’s Festival.
The festival will begin Wednesday, June 24, and run through Saturday, June 27.
The parade is scheduled to step off at noon, Saturday, rain or shine.
It is organized by the Johnstown Fire Department Association, a group of retired and current firefighters who raise money for the Monroe Township fire department.
Amusement rides and vendors will open at 6 p.m. daily, Wednesday through Friday, and at noon, Saturday.
The festival started in 1975 as a local street fair and a way for the fire department to raise a few dollars.
Now, it has grown into an event so large that former fire chief Johnny Johnson estimated the festival attracts more than 10,000 people over the four days.
“It’s a big family gathering where people can say ‘hi’ to old and new friends,” Johnson said.
He said the festival used to be held on July 4th but the organizers found their was too much competition with other festivals and celebrations in Granville, Sunbury and Centerburg.
There will be 12 food trailers, offering classic carnival food such as corn dogs, elephant ears, gyros, cotton candy and bratwurst and otherr sausages.
Johnson said rides at the festival are top-notch because festival organizers contract with the same company the Franklin County Fair uses.
In previous years, the Miss Johnstown Pageant has been held the Tuesday before the Firemen’s Festival, but this year it’s being held Saturday, June 20, because of summer camp scheduling conflicts.
Each night of the festival there will be live music from 8 to 11 p.m.
Wednesday night, Southern Touch will perform. Thursday, June 25, the music will be provided by Sidewinder.
Friday, June 26, local band Cool Kids will perform and Saturday, June 27, Marquis 66 will perform.
The parade will start with a line up at the Johnstown High School at 9 a.m. and will proceed along Route 37, turning left onto Pershing Drive and left onto Oregon Street, ending back at the high school.
Floats will be judged starting at 10:30 a.m. and winners will be announced as they pass the announcer’s stand. Awards and trophies for best looking, best float and judge’s choice will be presented near the Gazebo after the parade.
The parade lineup is based on a first-come, first-served basis and Johnson said everyone is invited to participate.
“I get 40-50 calls every year from people wanting to be in the parade,” he said. “All they need to do is show up in the morning.”
The grand marshals of the parade will be all 192 members of the Johnstown High School Big Red Band.
The band has previously performed in parades such as the Outback Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl and at Walt Disney World.
Only parade vehicles will be allowed on Douglas Street.
There will be a drive-thru lane via Oregon Street for drop off only of parade participants.
For more information, call Johnny Johnson at 740-967-7771.