The 94th annual Canal Winchester Labor Day Festival promises some new events along with all of the old favorites this year.
Taking place Saturday, Aug. 30, through Monday, Sept. 1, the Labor Day Festival is the city's largest and longest-running event to date, attracting well over 30,000 visitors each year, according to organizers.
"The Canal Winchester Labor Day Festival has always been one of my favorite events growing up here," Mayor Michael Ebert said. "I would say if you have never been to the festival, come down, even if it's just for the car show, the entertainment, food, rides, crafts or hospitality. I know you won't go away disappointed. After all, there's a lot of free things to see and do."
Kicking off the festival at 8 a.m. Saturday is a 5K Fun Run-Walk, starting from the Canal Winchester Education Center, 100 Washington St., in memory of Dr. John Bender to support the Canal Winchester Alumni Scholarship Association scholarship fund.
The Peggy Wood Scholarship Pageant will start at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Canal Winchester Education Center auditorium with the Tiny Miss Canal Winchester competition, followed by the Little Miss Canal Winchester contest at noon and the Junior Miss Canal Winchester and Miss Canal Winchester pageants at 2 p.m.
Bob Wood, the sole sponsor of the pageant and a longtime festival supporter, will be the grand marshal of the 2014 Labor Day parade, which steps off at 1 p.m. Monday from Canal Winchester High School, 300 Washington St.
The festival is free and open to the public all weekend, with only a few paid activities.
Midway rides require either an all-day wristband or tickets for individual rides. From noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jeff Wyler Chevrolet will sponsor free rides for all of the children's midway rides. A special ticket, available from the ticket booth during those hours, is required.
Wyler also will sponsor the annual Labor Day cruise-in on Sunday, with registration starting at 9 a.m. and awards being presented at 4 p.m.
"As usual, the parade and the entertainment are what I'm looking forward to," Ebert said. "But we have added a couple of new things to the lineup, including pony rides in the green space behind the Stradley Stage.
"Another new event we've added that we think will be a lot of fun is the Canal boat races."
Each team will have four members -- two to push the canal boat and two to ride in it. Teams will compete against the clock, one team at a time, on a 50-yard course. Each team will be required to complete three challenges while on the course and each team member will carry a pitcher of water during the entire challenge.
The event is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday. There are five divisions: ages 14-18; family; ages 19-49; age 40 and older; nonprofit group, neighborhood or business teams.
Free live entertainment on the Diley Ridge Medical Center Stage will include: 3 Cat Day, Street Players and Scott Thompson on Saturday; Wolf Pack, Braden Stover and Chris Higbee on Sunday. A quilt show will open at 10 a.m. all three days of the festival at the Frances Steube Community Center, 22 S. Trine St.
The Kingy's Hospitality Tent will open at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and at noon Monday to adults age 21 and older.