As a kid, I can remember going to several types of festivals and community events with my family. Whether it was a local Oktoberfest, a Taste of Dayton, the Strawberry Festival or music festivals, they were always a good time. I don't remember many specifics, but I do remember seeing the Grass Roots at one event, have memories of dipping strawberries in chocolate, eating rib sandwiches, German food and can remember that spending time with my family was a great way to spend the day/night.
Over the next couple of weeks, there are two festivals (actually, they are both part of the greater Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival) coming to the Canton area.
The first starts this weekend - The Balloon Classic and the Jackson-Belden Food Fest.
I love hot air balloons. There is something so seemingly serene about hot air balloons. I love watching them as they gracefully float across the sky. I've always thought it would be cool to go on a hot air balloon, but with a spouse that is afraid of heights and doesn't like to fly, the experience wouldn't be the same romantic experience that I imagine. Frequently, during this festival, we have seen the balloons come near our house and there are some pretty neat looking balloons. On Friday evening, they have a Balloon Glow, where you can watch as the hot air balloons illuminate in rhythm with the music. This has to be a sight to see. Saturday night, they cap with Fireworks. If you are in the area, stop by to check out the balloons and the food from several food vendors. Unfortunately, this year, we have a weekend full of sports, so checking out the Balloon Glow is not an option.
Next weekend, there is a 2-mile/5-mile race and a community parade.
Then, in a week and a half, you can check out the Ribs Burnoff. Starting on Wednesday, August 1st and running through Friday, August 3rd, stop by for lunch or dinner (the festival runs from 11 am to 10:30 pm) and check out the food from 11 rib masters from across the country at the Stark County Fairgrounds. I am looking forward to checking out some of the ribs. My son has recently decided that he is a big fan of ribs. In addition to the barbeque, there will be several other food vendors (in case you aren't a fan of ribs).
There is fun for the whole family, with inflatable games, bounce houses, sand sculptors, balloon twisters and face painters. You even have a chance to see the float builders, located in Exhibition Hall, put the finishing touches on their floats for the Timken Grand Parade on Saturday.
Throughout the event, there will be musical entertainment, as well. During the day, there will be the day stage and then each night they have special show. My experience has been that you can see some really great shows at local festivals, fairs and events - and typically, they are a very reasonable price (sometimes as reasonable as free) compared to seeing acts at a larger venue. These types of shows can be a great way to introduce children to the 'art' of concerts. Music is something that brought my husband and I together, so it only seems right to share it with our children. My son has had the chance to see Weird Al in concert, but so far, the only act my daughter has seen in concert is the Imagination Movers.
Wednesday night, August 1st, it is the Gin Blossoms that take the stage. What amazes me is that the Gin Blossoms debut single, "Hey Jealousy" was released back in 1992 - that was 20 years ago! Realizations like that make me feel old. We are planning to take the kids to check out the Gin Blossoms - I am figuring this is very similar from a timing perspective to my parents taking me to see the Grass Roots, whose first songs would have been out about 20 years before I saw them. I know the kids have heard it in the car before, but just to be sure, I think we will have to listen to some of the music over the next couple of weeks.
Thursday night, it is country star Jason Michael Carroll. I'm not familiar with his music, but a quick sampling of music on Amazon, found some nice sounding songs.
On Friday, Saving Abel takes the stage. Saving Abel is a more recent group, with their debut single, Addicted, hitting the charts in 2008. Saving Abel is one of those groups who's music I know, but I don't know that it is them. I had to listen to Addicted to be sure I knew what song it was.
"All concerts will perform on the Emergency Medicine Physicians Stage at the Stark County Fairgrounds at approximately 8:30 p.m. Free standing room only will be permitted on the track but chairs or seating of any kind on the track is not permitted. Seats are available in the grandstands for affordable prices for you and your family! NEW in 2012: General Admission seating (bleachers) will be offered at $5 per ticket and Reserved Admission (seats with backs) will be offered at $9 per ticket! " You can get the full information on the shows and information on ordering your tickets on the Ribs Burnoff home page.
These and many other events lead to the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday, August 5th. I had the chance a few years ago to attend the Hall of Fame Game. I found it to be a great experience - there you are in a high school size stadium watching professional athletes play their sport. I went with my brother and we had a great time watching the Giants play in the game.
Local festivals and events are always a lot of fun. It is amazing to me how similar, and how different, the events can be even in different parts of the state. Do you go to local fairs and festivals?
No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. We received a family four pack of general admission tickets for the Gin Blossoms in exchange for sharing about the upcoming events.