Canal Winchester's population will increase by thousands next weekend as the village hosts its annual Labor Day Festival, the largest event of the year.

Canal Winchester's population will increase by thousands next weekend as the village hosts its annual Labor Day Festival, the largest event of the year.

Live music, carnival games, food, a beer garden, a cruise-in, parade and children's activities are planned.

In addition to being the largest, the festival is also Canal Winchester's longest-running event. It started in the 1920s as the Fall Festival, said Bobbie Merson, a village council member and a member of the Labor Day Festival committee.

Activities will run from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4; from noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5; and from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6, in historic downtown Canal Winchester.

As a member of the festival committee, Mershon was responsible for organizing the children's activities. She said one highlight is the ice cream eating contest, sponsored by Cool Cravings, from 1:30 to 2 p.m. Sunday on the Stradley Place stage.

"That is always good," Mershon said. "They scoop 150 scoops of ice cream and we have a little ice cream eating contest to see who can get done the quickest."

A pet dress-up contest takes place from 4:30 to 5 p.m., also on Sept. 5.

"I encourage everyone in the village to put an outfit on your dog, cat (or) hamster and bring them down for prizes," Mershon said. "We have a number of pets who show up every year. Just let your imagination be your friend. Some of them are really cute."

New this year is a tissue contest from 4 to 4:30 p.m. behind Stradley Place stage. The goal is to see how many tissues participants can get out of the box in a certain amount of time. Prizes will be given to the contestant who gets the most tissues and the contestant who picks up the most tissues that get spilled, Mershon said.

Other children's activities include a flying monkey contest 4:30 to 5 p.m., limbo 3 to 3:30 p.m., hula hoop contest 2:30 to 3 p.m. and musical chairs from 2 to 2:30 p.m.

Mershon said numerous graduating classes hold their high school reunions during the weekend.

Parade committee chairwoman Marie Gibbons said this year's Labor Day parade kicks off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6, from Canal Winchester High School and ends at the community pool.

"There are marching bands, commercial floats and politicians," she said.

Jeff Irwin, who heads the cruise-in committee, said the event will be held on Saturday, Sept. 5. Registration begins at 10 a.m. Prizes are given for queen's choice, mayor's choice, judge's choice, and best of show, among others, he said.

"We are kind of known for our unique awards," Irwin said. "We are one of the few shows in the area where you get a T-shirt with the show."

Irwin expects 200 to 250 vehicles to participate in this year's cruise-in. Awards will be presented from 4 to 5 p.m. on the main stage. The cost to participate is $15; registrants will receive a dash plaque and T-shirt.

Other activities throughout the weekend include Kingy's Beer Garden; a 5K run hosted by the Canal Winchester Alumni Scholarship Association, starting at 8 a.m. on Sept. 5; an alumni gathering from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 5; a quilting show by the Quilters on the Canal from noon to 6 p.m. daily and the Queen's Luncheon.

More information is available online at www.cwlaborday.org. Parking is available in public lots and downtown streets surrounding the festival area.