The streets of Uptown Marys-ville soon will be alive with the sights and sounds of the annual Friday Nights Uptown series. Several new and exciting changes are planned for this year's events, changes that will not only make the events more exciting, but also more family friendly.

The streets of Uptown Marys-ville soon will be alive with the sights and sounds of the annual Friday Nights Uptown series. Several new and exciting changes are planned for this year's events, changes that will not only make the events more exciting, but also more family friendly.

The series gets under way on Friday, June 27, with the Uptown Luau and fourth annual Union County Rib Cook-off, a perfect way to welcome the beginning of summer. The first Friday Nights Uptown event of 2008 -- Uptown Luau-- will be held on Court Street the evening of June 27.

Court Street will be transformed into a luau, complete with live music as a tribute to Jimmy Buffet and featuring Tom Todd, delicious food from Uptown's finest eateries and activities for children. Spotlight Theatre and the Marysville Art League will sponsor parrothead hats and flip-flop decorating activities, with donations going to support community arts.

The Uptown Luau will also be the site of the rib event, a delicious, finger-licking competition pitting local restaurants and residents against one another. Entries will be judged in two categories: commercial/restaurant and amateur (resident). The winner of the resident category will receive a prize, while the winning restaurant receives the coveted "Best of the Best" award and the distinction of having the best BBQ Ribs in the county. Any restaurant or business wishing to participate must register by calling the Union County Chamber of Commerce (937-642-6279).

Honda HomeComing

On Friday, July 25, the Uptown Historic District hosts the annual Welcome Home Party in association with Honda HomeComing

A regional tradition, the Welcome Home Party welcomes Honda riders from across North America as they participate in the Covered Bridge Bike Tour, Poker Run, Light Parade and Contest and Lighthouse Festival and Ride. Thousands of riders and visitors will enjoy plenty of good food, live music from Agent 99 and other activities during Marys-ville's premier event of the year.

Visitors and residents can stroll through Uptown, visit Vendors Square, stock up on motorcycle apparel and goods and then visit the Welcome Home Party for BBQ chicken and ribs, fish, homemade ice cream and other delicious goodies.

Wheelie Wizard, always a crowd favorite, will return again this year for another performance. As always, there will be plenty of activities for children at the Kidz Corner. Children can visit Freddie the Robot, ride the Big Mac Trail or visit the climbing wall, reptile show, smoke house, two bounce houses and experience the thrill of sitting in an actual fire truck, courtesy of the Marysville Division of Fire.

Chalk The Block

Summer fun continues on Friday, Aug. 22, with the Chalk the Block event.

Sponsored by the Marysville Public Library and the Union County Humane Society, Chalk the Block provides opportunities for residents ages 5 and over to test their artistic abilities using nothing but imagination and a box of sidewalk chalk. Sidewalks surrounding Court Street will be covered with works of art as children work feverishly to complete their masterpieces. Meanwhile, adults have the opportunity to enjoy food, beverages, and live music from The Challengers.

Uptown Tailgate Party

On Friday, Sept. 26, thoughts turn to football season and the annual Tailgate Party.

Marysville's All-American Tailgate Party is an opportunity for football fans to show their support of the Marysville Monarchs, Ohio State Buckeyes, and their favorite NFL teams. The Courthouse lawn will be the place to enjoy food, beverages and live music from Eric Dove. Bring a football for a friendly game of touch football or test your skills during a corn hole tournament.

Scarysville

On Friday, Oct. 24, everyone is invited to enjoy Scarecrow Square, haunted houses, trick-or-treat, costume contests, pumpkin decorating, music, food, crafts and more. Friends and family are invited to dance in unison to Halloween classics like Thriller and Monster Mash, right on Main Street. New this year will be Haunted Marysville, a tour of Marysville's spookiest places, where you can listen to stories long hidden but never forgotten.

Uptown Christmas Walk

On Friday, Dec. 1, Marysville officially welcomes the Christmas season with the annual Uptown Christmas Walk. This year's event is anticipated to be the biggest and best yet.

During the evening, Fifth and Main Streets will be filled with food vendors, crafts, horse-drawn carriages, carolers, dance troupes and entertainers. Children will have the opportunity to speak with Santa Claus while shoppers enjoy extended hours throughout the Uptown District. The evening will be highlighted by the official lighting of Marysville's massive Christmas Tree. A live nativity scene, as well as a few other surprises, is also in store.

For more information about the Friday Nights Uptown series, please contact the Union County Chamber of Commerce by calling 937-642-6279 or by visiting www.up-townmarysville.org.

Jason Stanford is business development manager for the Union County Economic Development Partnership.

Jason

Stanford