The 2013 Ox Roast will offer both a first and a last for the event's sponsors, the Grandview Heights Bobcat Boosters.
The Ox Roast will be held Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 5-7, at Pierce Field, located on West First Avenue at Oxley Road.
The Boosters will use a new fire pit to prepare 2,000 pounds of beef for the final day of the festival.
They will sell the beef for the last time out of the field's aging kitchen building, set to be razed after the festival to make way for a new multipurpose building as part of the city's park improvement project.
"We're excited about having a new pit. We'll be holding a test burn (ahead of the Ox Roast) to see how the pit responds to the wind and make sure there's no surprises when we're preparing the beef," said Craig Berlin, Boosters vice president and this year's "head ox."
The festival will run from 5 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday, start at 4:30 p.m. Friday, and run noon to midnight Saturday.
Friday night will climax with the traditional lighting of the pit ceremony, held after the football team returns from its game in Minford. The team captains will light the pit.
"The lighting ceremony will take place a little later than usual because of how far the team will be traveling to get back to Grandview," Berlin said. "We should still have plenty of time to get the beef prepared in time for the opening of the festival on Saturday."
Boosters will tend to the beef throughout the night Friday.
There will be plenty of other food available throughout the festival, Berlin said.
Friday night will feature the annual fish fry and sales of other festival-food favorites, such as burgers, bratwurst, hot dogs, fries, pie, cake and funnel cakes, he said.
A full lineup of local entertainment will be offered each day, Berlin said.
The ongoing Pierce Field project will mean a bit less available space for the festival this year, but that should have only a small impact, he said.
"We've walked every inch of the park to plan where we will be able to put everything," Berlin said.
The Boosters expect to have the same number of rides as usual and room for about three or four games, he said.
For adults, a poker tent will feature both Texas Hold 'Em and stud poker. A Texas Hold 'Em tournament will be held Saturday.
The Ox Roast serves as the Boosters' main fundraiser, Berlin said.
"We use the proceeds to help support athletics and extracurricular activities, scholarships and other local activities" that benefit youth, he said.