Hometown celebration kicks off with annual Spring Fling festival
By Emma Jarman
Photo: The kettle corn is just one veteran Spring Fling vendor
We did it. We survived a winter that included not one, but two polar vortexes, weeks of subzero weather, calamity day extensions, salt shortages, bursting water pipes and grey skies that seemingly lasted two full calendar years. I’m pretty sure Puxatawny Phil LOL/JK’d when he poked his little head above the arctic Pennsylvania landscape a full 14 weeks ago before scurrying back down to bed. But as of late, the sun has reemerged, the temperatures have risen and Miamisburg is ready to kick off the festival season.
The 34th annual Miamisburg Spring Fling opens the gates of Library Park the weekend of May 16-18 for families, friends and neighbors to relax and enjoy the season.
“It’s all about the tradition in Miamisburg,” Pat Murphy, publicity chair of Miamisburg Spring Fling said.
What started as a potluck organized by a small group of women 34 years ago has evolved into the three-day extravaganza it is today: a carnival, parade and art fair with more than 20 food vendors and a wealth of live entertainment.
Friday night is a “soft opening,” when the carnival will operate from 5-10 p.m. and armbands will be for sale, good for four hours of rides and play. The real fun, kicked off by the parade through town, begins Saturday morning at 9:45. Floats will disperse from the MMCIC (Miamisburg Mound Community Improvement Corporation) parking lot and march through town before filing through Library Park and dispersing down Fifth Street. Downloadable application forms are available on the Spring Fling website.
By the time Grand Marshal Virginia Kinderdine leads her paraders through, the carnival at Library Park will be in full swing, since the first ferris wheel starts spinning and the first elephant ear sizzles at 10 a.m. The traditions continue until 10 p.m. The Sunday celebration will run from noon to 6 p.m. The children’s activity center in the gazebo will be open for toddler-teenage business from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, providing children a chance to create their own art while their family members shop for other handcrafted goods. Art for sale at Spring Fling ranges in medium anywhere from jewelry and painting to knit goods, stonework and sewing, all maintaining that down home, traditional family fun vibe Spring Fling is known for.
“We are so grateful for our many years of being in the park, and happy our arts and crafts and food vendors return,” Lois Dempsey, vice chair of the festival said. “We have new ones each year and the good old standards, too.”
Food Chair Mickey Albion, who also participates in the festival every year as a vendor with Blackjack Grill, has organized quite the team to cater the event. While there is no alcohol served on the premise, at Spring Fling you can belly up to the stainless steel counters flanking an array of food trucks including Blackjack Grill, ever-popular kettle corn, Pretzel Hut, the ice cream trolley and Boy Scout Troop #26. Many restaurants in the immediate Spring Fling area will be running specials in cooperation with the Taste of Miamisburg event, which runs the same weekend as the festival.
While Spring Fling has historically been on the lucky end of the weather forecast, if clouds do roll in, the show will go on. Even musicians will hit the floor regardless of the weather – thanks to the covered main stage.
“The weather is usually great,” Murphy said. “In the middle of May we have great weather – not too hot, not too cold – almost every year.”
A few acts locals may recognize are slated, including musician Larry Goodwin, bands A.K.Q. and Frozen Over, the Twigs Gymnastics team and a clogger group. Sunday at 1 p.m., the Wright Brass band headlines, playing a lively variety of original arrangements mixed with familiar favorites, sure to entertain the entire family.
Miamisburg Spring Fling is more than just a community fun-for-all festival. Spring Fling is a taste of more than just the food of Miamisburg. Booths by the parks and recreation department, local social clubs and restaurants all come to play – every part of Miamisburg is very well represented and all local programming and information will be available.
“There’s something going on in Miamisburg just about every weekend,” said Murphy. “You can find out what’s going on in Miamisburg when you come to Spring Fling.”
If hometown atmosphere and community engagement aren’t your thing, perhaps philanthropy is.
“The Spring Fling is organized because we support the community,” noted Murphy. “We are a charitable organization [and] all our proceeds go back into the community.”
The veterans memorial in Library Park, the local children’s center and the city police dog? All maintained by Spring Fling funds. Money spent at Spring Fling stays in Miamisburg, in order to make it a more perfect community and do it again next year.
“It feels really good to me to do something I know is going to make a difference in people’s lives when we support their children, our different administrations and keeping the history of the city,” Murphy said. “That’s why I do it.”
Dempsey echoed, “I have been involved with the Spring Fling for a good 30 years, [and] all of them have been satisfying and helping the festival meet its goal of contributing to make our community better.”
Miamisburg Spring Fling runs Friday, May 16 through Sunday, May 18. For more information including application forms for the parade or to set up a booth, please visit miamisburg-springflingfestival.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Emma Jarman at EmmaJarman@DaytonCityPaper.com.