Let the Fun Begin
Middletown Family Fun Festival & Craft Show is Back
As Kentucky residents continue to celebrate the reopening of the Commonwealth, Middletown residents are happy for a very special reason. On Friday, September 10, the city welcomes back its annual Family Fun Festival & Craft Show, an event that was truly missed last year by the community and surrounding neighborhoods.
This is also a very significant weekend, as it will be the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The festival will pay tribute throughout the two days to those who lost their lives, and to the first responders who worked so diligently to save as many individuals as possible.
Like many other large gatherings and events, the festival was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, city leaders weren’t quite sure what their plans would be for 2021, wondering if they’d even be able to hold the festival this year. The green light was given in the spring to start planning the event, which meant it was time to get the ball rolling.
Diana Polsgrove, owner of Event Logic, has coordinated the festival for 13 years. She’s pleased that the event will be returning, even bigger and better than ever.
“A lot of the traditional components will be returning to the festival,” Polsgrove says. “We’ll have commercial vendors, arts and crafts booths, business and information booths, and lots of food and a lot of great music.”
The fun kicks off on Friday night at 6 p.m. with vendor booths, a Kidz Fun Zone, and opening ceremonies. On Saturday the festival begins at 10 a.m. and continues until 9 p.m., culminating with the much-anticipated fireworks.
On Saturday there will be tail-wagging events such as the popular dog show in the morning, featuring categories like best costume, cutest dogs, and dogs that look the most like their owners. Local radio celebrities will judge the contest.
One of the highlights of the second day is the festival’s parade, which steps off at 11:15 a.m. The parade typically attracts between 1,500 and 2,000 spectators.
“We usually have anywhere from 40 to 60 entries in the parade,” Polsgrove says. “We will have the Eastern High School band and many of the school’s sports teams participating. There will also be dance teams, the Boy Scouts, the VFW, and politicians. The parade is always led by our city commissioners and our grand marshal.”
Other fun events during the festival include a petting zoo with pigs, chickens, goats, calves and other cute farmyard animals, artisans and crafters selling unique items like jewelry, soaps and home goods, and of course there will be plenty to eat. Mobile food vendors will be on hand, along with mouth-watering, carnival-style treats.
Entertainment has always been a key factor during this event, including many well-known musical acts. Wax Factory and the popular Wulfe Bros. will be performing on the main stage located in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church. There will also be solo acts playing in the gazebo located in Middletown’s Wetherby Park.
Longtime festival participants will recall that the city’s First Baptist Church offered an entertaining program called “Broadway on Main” for many years, presented in their main sanctuary.
“It was a 45-minute, fully costumed, fully set-designed, full orchestra production involving 60 to 70 church folks,” says Dr. Jim Cobban, head pastor at First Baptist. “They did a marvelous job.”
Members would normally begin working on the show several months ahead of the festival, but this year they weren’t quite sure what COVID restrictions would be in place.
Alternate ideas began to form in Cobban’s mind as to what the church members could do for a performance. When one member approached him and mentioned that the festival was going to be held on the anniversary of 9/11, Cobban came up with a new plan. Instead of holding the usual performance, Middletown church choirs would band together to form a mass chorus.
Cobban, along with First Baptist Music Minister Leslie Halfacre, Pastor Gary Gibson of United Methodist Church, Kristen Furches, United Methodist’s director of music and worship, and Roberta Vincent, First Baptist member, worked to make this a possibility.
Numbers will include “America the Beautiful” with an arrangement of the Lord’s Prayer, “Heal Our Land” and “How Can I keep from Singing?”
The festival will continue on Saturday night with a beautiful fireworks display at Wetherby Park starting at 9:20 p.m. The show lasts for approximately 20 minutes.
“The only fireworks display that’s larger than ours is Thunder Over Louisville, and our show will be fired to live patriotic music by the Wulfe Bros.,” Polsgrove explains.
The fireworks show is produced by local pyrotechnician Bill Loeffler of W. A. Loeffler Enterprises.
“We do close-proximity fireworks, which means the crowd will be within 200’ to 300’ of the fireworks,” Polsgrove says. “They not only get to see them in the air, but they also get to see them being fired.”
The Wulfe Bros. are thrilled to be returning to this event.
“We always enjoy performing for the Middletown Festival,” says Paul Cunningham, band member. “It’s wonderful to have the opportunity for people to come together again. Our show includes patriotic songs popular from the Revolutionary War to present day.”
Area business owners are looking forward to the return of the festival.
“I’ve been a part of the community for five years, and one of the things I value and take great pride in is community involvement,” says Holly Coy of State Farm in Middletown. “Bringing back the Middletown Family Fun Festival is very exciting for me and my family, and my business. Throughout the years our children have really enjoyed the parade and all of the fun the festival brings. We look forward to seeing the community come together and can’t wait to see all of the smiles on people’s faces.”
For more info, go to middletownsfamilyfun.com.