A sonic boom

Second Baby Boomer Festival returns to Centerville

By Matt Clevenger

Returning Saturday, Aug. 5 for its second year on the giant lawn at St. Leonard’s Retirement Community in Centerville, the Baby Boomer Festival has already become one of the area’s biggest free festivals. And you don’t even have to be a baby boomer to attend.

“That’s just the theme,” festival organizer Manfred Schreyer says. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a baby boomer or not—everybody’s invited. Even if you’re not a baby boomer, stop by and enjoy it.”

The festival, which runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., celebrates music from the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s with live bands performing all day, hundreds of food and craft vendors, a free kids’ area, and two car shows. “It’s just a blast, and people have fun,” Schreyer says. “It was a huge success last year. We had over 2,500 people attend. It was incredible.”

One key to the festival’s success is its location on the gigantic lawn at St. Leonard’s, and it was actually the yard itself that inspired the idea for the festival in the first place. Schreyer, who also owns Taffy’s of Eaton, was driving past the lawn when he first got the idea to start the Baby Boomer Festival.

“I was driving in Centerville,” he says. “I was buying a car out there and I was driving by this retirement community that has this huge front lot out there. So I was driving past and I’m thinking, ‘This would be the perfect place for a great festival.’”

Two years have passed since then, and Schreyer’s idea for a gigantic festival has now become a reality.

“It’s massive,” he says. “We fill pretty much everything up. Between parking, vendor parking, and the festival, it’s full. I can’t thank the St. Leonard’s community enough, and the many volunteers who are a part of this. It’s just incredible.”

The festival promises 10 hours of live music, featuring a wide variety of musical styles and genres. “The music is fantastic,” Schreyer says. “This time our headliner, Hotstop, is from LA: they play songs in the style of Led Zeppelin and Michael Jackson. We’ve also got a lot of local talent, like Gary ‘Guitar’ Williams, and we’ve got one of the premier guitar players out of Indianapolis, Django Knight. He won the Robert Johnson award when he was 14 years old. We’ve also got Phonic Uproar from UD.”

Two acts, Gary “Guitar” Williams and the Nerak Roth Patterson Band, are back by popular demand, returning from last year’s festival. “I invited them back,” Schreyer says. “Gary ‘Guitar’ Williams, because he’s a local ambassador, and people really enjoyed the Nerak Roth Patterson Band so they’re coming back. They’re fantastic.”

In addition to live music, the festival also features food and craft vendors, a free kids’ play area, and other family-friendly attractions. “There’s food trucks and food vendors of all kinds, from Cajun food to German food to waffles,” Schreyer says. “We have a giant beer tent. We have two tents for about 500 people, where people can sit under them to eat or drink. There’s a kids’ area; there’s a giant antique car show by Gem City Classics. There’s also a new car show by Performance Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram of Centerville.”

Pets are welcome at the festival, and the only rule is that firearms are not permitted. The event also functions as a food drive to benefit St. Vincent de Paul in Dayton, and although admission is free attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for donation.

“We have barrels there from St. Vincent de Paul,” Schreyer says. “We collect food items for them. So if people come to the festival, please bring a non-perishable food item so they can put it in the container.”

Sponsors for the festival include St. Leonard’s Retirement Community, Budweiser, Fox 45/ABC 22, the Dayton City Paper, Denny Cottle/Edward Jones, Dayton Drones, Clark’s Pharmacy, and Performance Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Centerville, among others.

“It’s a good time,” he say s. “That’s really what it’s about, just to have a great time together. I can’t thank all the people enough, from the stage manager to the sound engineers, the support has been incredible and so the festival has worked out wonderfully.”

The Baby Boomer Festival takes place Saturday, Aug. 5, from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., at St. Leonard’s Retirement Community, 8100 Clyo Rd. in Centerville. Admission is free. For more information, please visit TheBabyBoomerFestival.com.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Clevenger at MattClevenger@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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