It is that time of year where family and friends come together, celebrate the holiday and enjoy an annual festival.
The St. Joe Fourth of July Festival kicks off Tuesday and Wednesday at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds, and festival chairs are putting the final touches on the event.
“Our mission of the festival is family and patriotism,” St. Joe Festival Chair Mike Wurst said. “It’s a family-oriented event.”
The admission, parking and attendance drawings are free, and the event is open to the public.
Event Chair Bob Kohlrieser noted there should be activities that will be fun for all ages. Popular favorites along with a couple new events will be incorporated into the festival this year.
“New this year are the duck races,” Wurst said.
People can bid on a duck, as the ducks will race down a 16-foot water stream, going through obstacles.
Also new this year is the “Old Glory Parade,” which will include people dressed up in patriotic outfits parading through the festival. People who want to participate can sign up at the event.
The Freedom Train will be available again this year, making stops at the parking lot near Dearbaugh Avenue picking up people from their cars and taking them to the festival on the other side of the fairgrounds.
A festival favorite is the Grand Sizzler drawings, which will begin at 1 p.m. on July 4. There are thousands of dollars worth of prizes, including an iPad, 55-inch LED TV, Canon Rebel camera, a gas card, gift cards and the grand prize of $10,000 in cash. Tickets are still available by calling the St. Joseph Parish Office. Also, a list of ticket sellers is available at stjoewapak.org.
Drawings will be held every 10 minutes beginning at 1 p.m. on the Fourth of July with the large cash prize being drawn at 9 p.m.
Also new to the festival will be a Christian concert Tuesday featuring We are LEO.
Other features at the festival are a tractor and truck pull, a cake wheel, live entertainment in the Beer Garden each day and bingo.
The second St. Joe Firecracker 5K run/walk will be held Wednesday. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the 5K will start at 9 a.m. at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds.
The festival opens at 3 p.m. on July 3 and conclude with fireworks at 10:15 p.m. on Wednesday. Wurst said that the fireworks are still scheduled to take place, with fire personnel on hand during the display.