The village of Galena held its first Galena Summerfest to celebrate the village’s 2009 bicentennial. The festival was so successful that the village wanted to do a repeat, but it couldn’t hold an event that large in 2010 because the Old 3-C Bridge was closed during the summer for repairs.
A 2010 Galena Summerfest was planned for 2011, the date was set, and then it was discovered that the same date had been set for the 2011 Sunbury Sizzle & Sounds Festival, right down the road. Former Mudflat’s Bar & Grill owner and Summerfest chair Jane White and Sizzle & Sounds event coordinator Theresa Dronsfield put their heads together and turned what could have been a disaster into a happy accident.
Having two nearby festivals on the same day worked so well that it made sense to do it again – Galena Summerfest and Sunbury Sizzle & Sounds joined together by a free shuttle connecting the two venues.
That was five years ago and the two festivals have become a late summer event, drawing thousands of visitors to both communities; and both festivals are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. this Saturday.
Galena Summerfest opening ceremonies at 11 a.m. will feature local youth Corey Conkel on the banjo, followed by the Leap of Faith Dancers at 11:45. At noon, Conkel performs again in the Ruffner Park KidZone. Weather permitting. the Columbus Police Department helicopter will land in Ruffner Park.
The popular Village History and Parks Wagon Tours will be offered again this year at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Mayor Tom Hopper and Galena Village Council member Dave Simmons will alternate leading tours around the village’s scenic parks and trails system and offering the history of buildings and sites throughout the village.
During Summerfest, the entire Galena Square will be reserved for pedestrians. The Galena Summerfest Outdoor Beer Garden will be open from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.; and the secure ID’s beer garden has been expanded, with live bands on stage playing into the evening.
This year’s Galena Summerfest Main Stage music offerings are Matt Monta and the Haymakers, Fox Valley Harvest, Pett Crow, and Sean Carney.
Plenty of food vendors will be on hand, and additional food offerings will be available at the Galena Diner and Mudflat’s Bar & Grill.
Festival-goers may park at Galena United Methodist Church on Sunbury Road and ride a free shuttle into the village; and a 55-passenger air-conditioned coach will provide free shuttle service between Galena Summerfest and Sunbury Sizzle & Sounds, making it easy to park once and party twice.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093