Fall for all

The ’Burg is back with Fall Fest 2015

By Zach Rogers

Photo: The Miamisburg Fall Festival takes place Oct. 10 in downtown Miamisburg

Fall is in the air, and it’s time once again for long sleeves, football, Halloween and pumpkins—in your food, in your drinks, everywhere. In Miamisburg, the city is once again ready for its annual seasonal celebration, a time when the city waves goodbye to the carefree days of summer and embraces fall with open arms. Now its fifth consecutive year, the Miamisburg Fall Festival will take place on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 12:30-4:30 p.m. at Riverfront Park, located at 3 N. Main Ave. in downtown Miamisburg. A signature event for the city, this year’s festivities promise to be the best yet.

“It’s a great family-friendly event where all the games, activities and entertainment are free for participants to enjoy,” says Mark Hesse, recreation programmer for the city of Miamisburg Parks and Recreation department. “We hope to get a lot of people out here again to enjoy a nice fall experience in Miamisburg.”

Families are encouraged to come down and take part in the spirit of the season, with carnival games, inflatables, music, crafts and other fall-related activities. There’s also going to be a hay maze, hay rides for the kids, a pumpkin patch and decorating area and even a pumpkin decorating contest, new this year to the festival.

“Families can turn in a pumpkin for the contest up until the Thursday of that week, and we will have them on display at the festival so that everyone who comes out can get a chance to judge them,” Hesse says.

A DJ will be on hand to provide music for the attendees, and there will also be food vendors set up for those who get hungry. Selections include a wide variety of fall-related treats, plus popcorn, ice cream and food from local restaurants in the Miamisburg area.

“The big idea with a lot of our events in Miamisburg is to bring more people to the city and the downtown area,” Hesse explains. “Getting people to see what we have to offer with all the new businesses and restaurants, and show what the city of Miamisburg has for anyone who wants to come visit.”

The idea for a fall festival came from a previous event called “Sweet or Treat,” a night where kids and parents would trick or treat from business to business in downtown Miamisburg. There were a few activities for the kids to enjoy, but nothing on the scale of what the festival offers today. Hesse was in charge of the previous event as well, and it was his idea to expand it into a full-blown festival for the city.

“Eventually our numbers just got too big for that type of an event,” Hesse says. “So I thought, ‘How can we capitalize on getting people down to the city and also have a good time while doing it?’ and that’s when I came up with the concept of the Fall Festival.”

The transition to the new festival proved to be a success, with both merchants and participants excited to see what the city could bring to the table. The first year in 2011 included many key components of the festival today, including games, inflatables, music, hay rides and a hay maze. Attendance topped out at around 3,500 total for the day, which proved to be a terrific start for a new city tradition. And it’s grown each year, with more games and inflatables added as well as new additions like food vendors, a pumpkin patch, pumpkin decorating, an entire family game area and contests for kids and parents to participate in together.

“We always want to figure out new things to get people excited about coming down every year,” Hesse says.

Hesse plans and develops the festival every year, beginning in the summer and then leading up until the last few weeks before the festival.

“I start planning for the festival in July, so for the past couple of months I’ve been working to get different things lined up and everything ordered for the event, and working with different vendors and making sure we have enough activities and entertainment for everyone,” Hesse says.

For an event only in its fifth year, the Fall Festival already feels like a long-standing tradition in the city. And with that, Hesse hopes to continue pushing the festival forward into the future in order to deliver the perfect fall event that everyone in the region can be a part of. A family-focused event through and through, the Miamisburg Fall Festival is a time to celebrate not only the changing weather, but the city itself and all it has to offer.

“We’re always continuing to find new ways to make the festival fun each year,” Hesse says. “Determining what went well, what things could be improved or made better, and bringing in new ideas in order to grow it year by year and provide a great fall experience for everyone that comes out.”

The 2015 Miamisburg Fall Festival will take place on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 12:30-4:30 p.m. at Riverfront Park, 3 N. Main Ave. in downtown Miamisburg. Attendance is free and the event is open to all ages. For more information, please call 937.866.4532 or visit exploremiamisburg.com/fall-festival.

Reach DCP freelance writer Zach Rogers at ZachRogers@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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