Organizers hope new festival sizzles
Ten tons of sand will be delivered to the Franklin County Fairgrounds this weekend in preparation for Hilliard's inaugural Solebrate! Food and Music Festival, slated June 21-23 at the fairgrounds, 4100 Columbia St.
The city of Hilliard and Destination Hilliard, the city's promotional and marketing organization, founded the festival.
Its name refers to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year and the official start of summer on or about June 21. Organizers say they will stage future festivals the third weekend of June.
"We are striving to make this different than any other kind of summer festival you will find (in Ohio)," said Christy Clark, executive director of Destination Hilliard.
Solebrate! will feature activities associated with summer and will be an interactive experience, Clark said.
For example, sand sculptors will use the 10 tons of sand to transform part of the fairgrounds into a scene reminiscent of the boardwalk at Ocean City, Md., complete with larger-than-life sand edifices.
"These are taller and bigger than people," Clark said.
Children will be able to build their own sand castles and sculptures in a large sandbox.
The professional sand sculptors will stage a competition Saturday, June 22, and patrons will also have the opportunity to showcase their skills in a family sand-carving competition at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, June 23.
Solebrate! will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 21, with a Taste reception featuring wines, craft beers and food trucks.
Tickets are $75 and must be purchased in advance at solebrate.com.
Patrons must be at least 21 years old. The event includes samples from 16 winemakers, 12 craft beer breweries and food from 15 central Ohio restaurants.
Live entertainment will be provided from 9 to 11 p.m. by Hotel California, an Eagles tribute band from Ontario.
The festival opens at 11 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. It will close at 11:30 p.m. Friday, 11 p.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday.
Featured events include Dueling Paint Brushes and a Chihuly art project.
Muralists will paint in a competition at 2:45 and 4:45 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Demonstrations will be offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.
Patrons can paint and carve recycled water bottles that will be used to make a piece of original artwork resembling the colorful blown glass artwork of Dale Chihuly.
The project will be assembled from noon to 2 p.m. and from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Professional fruit and vegetable carvers also will compete for a cash prize during the festival, and four stages of live entertainment will be set up throughout the fairgrounds and neighboring Weaver Park.
Bands include the Saxman with Mary Rose and Jimmy, the Wayfarers, Swing's the Thing, A-Symmetry, the Professors and Tommy B.
Other entertainers include ventriloquist Mike Hemmelgarn, juggler Matt Jergens, Aussie Fit Silver Sneakers and the Regan Rankin Academy of Irish Dance.
Games 2 U will provide laser tag, balloon launchers, video games and other entertainment.
Some entertainment at Solebrate! is provided at an additional cost.
For a complete list of entertainment, visit solebrate.com.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students, military personnel and senior citizens Saturday and Sunday. Children 12 and under are admitted free.
Volunteers will accept donations for parking.