Star-Spangled Centerville

Star-Spangled Centerville

American Festival offers crafts, food and entertainment

By Megan Garrison

There’s no denying that for the proud citizens of the US, the Fourth of July is our greatest celebration. People have large parties, family cookouts, pool parties, lots of drinking, laughing and talking. The night is topped off with firecrackers, sparklers and huge fireworks. Families celebrate, towns celebrate, the nation is in celebration. This year, and for the last 71 years, Centerville will be putting on its Americana Festival. Like most Fourth of July festivals, the Americana Festival will attract hundreds of people, however this year the projected attendance is in the thousands, which is sure to be a great celebration for the festival’s 72nd year.

The Americana Festival started in 1972 as a small sidewalk sale by downtown merchants, and the festival has blossomed into a formidable event. With 100 volunteers working behind the scenes, this festival is the place to be on the 4th.  The effort and growth of this festival makes it no surprise that just last year it took the Best of Dayton Award for Fourth of July. So pack up your kids and get moving to this event.

The most notable events are the 5K Run, the parade (who doesn’t love parades?), the street fair (which is now much bigger than its humble sidewalk beginnings) and the traditional fireworks that are uniquely placed with synchronized music.

The 5K Run is hosted by the Centerville Noon Optimist Club and starts for those early birds at 7:30 a.m. You need to pre-register before June 30th to be a part of it.

The parade is the crowning jewel of the event.  With over 120 units being showcased all through out town, the festival is sure to always start off with a bang. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Old Glory,” which can only mean that the parade floats and participants will be over-the-top with patriotism, and on the Fourth of July that can only be a good thing.

The Street Fair kicks off at 9:30 a.m. and features an astounding 300 craft and food booths, artists, musical entertainment and a children’s game and activity area. If all that still isn’t enough to get you out to Centerville then the fact that there will be stage and strolling performances just might do it. Personally, I have never witnessed a “strolling” performer but I sure am not missing this chance to see one!

Among the vendors you will find all sorts of unique crafts and trades from handmade jewelry to clothing and folk art. Stained glass, woodcrafts and handmade furniture will also be featured. However, the fair doesn’t just specialize in its crafts. There is also its food, which, as Americans during a celebration, we all love. You can find everything here! Chinese, Cajun, Greek, BBQ (a time honored tradition for the Fourth of July), root beer floats and even chocolate-covered bananas. The gym can wait. Trust me.

Still there are more events. There is a talent show, a flag ceremony, the Americana Concert, a baseball tournament, an auto show and town hall activities, and if you have any energy left after that 5K Run, you can always do the 100-yard dash!

Still unsure? Uncomfortable with the drive, the crowds, the sense of being a stranger to this beloved town? Well, don’t be. People travel from other states to go to this festival. The crowd will be welcoming, inviting and enticing all day long. Also, we still haven’t even discussed the best part.

One word: Fireworks.

There is no greater thing on the Fourth of July then snuggling up to your family in the grass while looking up at the sky as it explodes with color after color of fire. Seriously, do you need any other reason to get out to the festival now? The unique thing about the Americana Festival fireworks is that they go above and beyond by synchronizing the fireworks display to timed music. So now you have colorful fire exploding to perfectly timed music. Yeah, count me in.

Apparently they fireworks display is present by the Famous Rozzi Family. I don’t know who they are but they’re famous so I think it’s a good bet to trust their taste in fireworks.

For more information about the Americana Festival in Centerville for to http://americanafestival.org/.

Reach DCP intern and freelance writer Megan Garrison at MeganGarrison@daytoncitypaper.com

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Megan Garrison grew up in the small town of Lampasas, Texas, spending her time immersed in Ernest Hemingway novels and dreaming of being a journalist one day. Now she attends the University of Dayton and is hard at work studying to be a war-time correspondent. Though she is very goal oriented and works hard to achieve her dreams she also loves to have a little fun. She DJs her own radio show on Flyer Radio and makes it a point to attend great movies and local concerts. But her greatest love will always be books.

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