Fling into Spring

Miamisburg’s annual Spring Fling returns

By John Hamilton

Photo: The annual Miamisburg Spring Fling festival takes place May 16-17 in Miamisburg; photo: Lois Dempsey

Miamisburg is setting up its tents and lighting up the lights to get things ready for the 35th Annual Spring Fling festival on May 16 and 17. The community carnival promises a wide variety of food stands with delicious treats to feast upon, local arts and crafts to gaze upon and carnival rides designed to release your inner child. All of this is kicked off by a parade to help set the tone.

“The Miamsburg Spring Fling got started in 1980,” Lois Dempsey recounts.

Dempsey is the acting chairperson of the Spring Fling and has been a part of the council for it since 1982. The Spring Fling was started by three very important ladies in the town: Mary Goodwin, Rose Mears and Mary Margaret Fortner.

“They were upset that there was a strike among the teachers and it was making things very divisive in the community,” Dempsey says, including that the demonstrations were spreading to local places such as the front of the doctor’s office.

The three madams of Miamsburg decided there had to be a way to bring the community back together and diffuse the rising tensions over the strike and demonstrations. The three ultimately decided on a picnic for the public.

“It was held in Library Park and was a success, and it has since been expanding and growing,” says Dempsey.

Dempsey believes the Spring Fling’s ability to unite the town is still relevant.

“I think that this needs to continue because it’s a way to support and honor what Goodwin, Mears and Fortner had set out to do,” she says.

It’s not only an event that celebrates uniting the neighborhood for food, drink and merriment, the event also benefits the park and the library next to it where the whole thing started, along with other departments involving Miamsburg.

“The money made from this will go to improving the park and library adjacent to it,” Dempsey says. “In the past we’ve helped raise money for the police initiative program and for the police’s K9 program. Over the years we’ve managed to raise enough money to plant new trees in the park, we were also able to get a gazebo and a new water fountain constructed in the park.”

Since its inception in 1980 the Spring Fling has been run and organized by volunteers.

Dempsey praises the work of the volunteers saying, “The number of people to run this thing is amazing. The work they do is fantastic. Everybody puts in a lot of time and hard work.”

They’ve even been given compliments by the likes of Mayor Richard Church: “The mayor has even called the operations a well-oiled machine,” Dempsey says.

The festivities begin at 9:45 a.m. when a big parade promenades down the streets of Miamsburg. Floats for the local softball, baseball and tee-ball teams will be included and Rose Mears, one of the festival’s founders, will be the Grand Marshal of the parade.

At the end of the parade, awards and prizes will be handed out to the best floats of the bunch.

Then come the festivities. At 10 a.m. the carnival starts to twist and turn, the arts and crafts displays will come out and of course there will be a enough fair food for all. Lois Dempsey recommends the kettle corn, which is the hot food item of the festival. It’s been prepared in the same copper pot since the Spring Fling started.

In the arts and crafts department there are plenty of things to check out – everything from Ohio State Buckeyes products, hand-knit clothes and a booth where youngsters can get their faces painted.

“About 75 percent of the participants are returning crafters,” Dempsey says, “but we’ve got a lot of newcomers joining us this year. So there’s bound to be something that will spark anyone’s interest.”

Starting at noon on both Saturday and Sunday, free live entertainment will take the stage to add more flavor to the festive feel.

“We’ll have everything from local bands and guitarists performing music,” Dempsey says, “but we’ve also had tumbler acts and clog dancing take the stage as well.” There will certainly be no shortage of shows to check out.

“The Spring Fling is a very comfortable environment,” Dempsey says. “It is a fun place to check out and it is a great way to kick off the summer season and is very worthwhile.”

The Miamsburg Spring Fling takes place Saturday, May 16 from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., with the parade starting at 9:45 a.m., and Sunday, May 17 from noon – 6 p.m. at Library Park, E. Central Ave., in Miamsburg. The event is open to the public. For location and parking information, please visit Miamisburg-springflingfestival.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer John Hamilton at JohnHamilton@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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