Plans are almost complete for the 16th annual Mount Carmel Pickerington Violet Festival, which will take place July 24 through 27 in Victory Park.
Dan Heitmeyer, president of the Violet Festival board said there have been new features added this year to the perennial favorites
* Granpa Cratchet's Puppet Show -- A fast-pacedpuppet show, starring Granpa Cratchet. Granpa and his barnyard of puppets deliver the message of The Golden Rule in their slapstick comedy. The puppet shows will take place throughout the four days of the festival in the new Children's Activities area, which is sponsored by Nationwide Children's Hospital.
* Diley Ridge Downtown Dash -- The annual 5k run, called the Downtown Dash and sponsored by the Diley Ridge Medical Center, has been moved to Saturday morning, July 27, and will feature a new course route through Sycamore Park.
In addition to the traditional 5k run, there will be a free Kids' Fun Run this year on a course that is about a mile long. Runners can register in advance for $25 per person. Day-of-event fees are $30 per person.
* National Entertainers -- Continuing the Violet Festival's tradition of bringing in national entertainers, this year will feature the band Survivor July 27, and country singer Jo Dee Messina July 26. Both bands will perform on the RG Barry stage in the midway.
* Wounded Warrior Project -- The Festival is partnering with the Wounded Warrior Project on Thursday night in the Beer Garden. A portion of the proceeds from the beer sales will be donated to this organization that helps thousands of Wounded Warriors and their families as they return home from current conflicts.
* PATCH Balloon Launch -- Friday evening's Community Ceremonies will include a special tribute and balloon launch by the local nonprofit group PATCH, in memory of local teens who have lost their lives because of drug abuse.
* Cool Zone -- Knowing the end of July can bring some scorching temperatures, a new Cool Zone, sponsored by PNC Bank, will be available so Festival guests can relax under a tent with cooling fans and enjoy food from the Schmidt's Sausage Truck.
In addition to the carnival rides, food, local musicians and bands at the festival, there will be floats, bands, fire engines and more in the community parade, sponsored by WOW cable system starting at 6:30 p.m., July 26.
The Car & Bike Show, sponsored by AAA Ohio Auto Club, will feature more than 100 vintage and collector vehicles on Columbus Street in Olde Pickerington Village from noon to 3:30 p.m. July 27.
Throughout the four-day festival, local and regional entertainers will perform on the main stage and in the Beer Garden, which will be open to those 21 years old and older.
Businesses will display their wares in the Business Showcase throughout the Festival, and sponsors and their guests will be able to relax and watch the entertainment in the VIP Tent, sponsored by Bob-Boyd Auto Family.
Admission to the Festival is $3 per person Wednesday and Thursday, and $5 per person Friday and Saturday when purchased at the gate.
Children 11 years old and younger will be admitted free.
Discounted admission passes are on sale now at Roosters and Key Bank in Pickerington. A four-day pass is $10.
The Pickerington Violet Festival is an all-volunteer 501(c) 3 organization that plans and presents the four-day celebration now in its 16th year.
A portion of the event's proceeds are donated to local charities in Pickerington.
The title sponsor of the 2013 event is Mount Carmel Health Systems.
Other sponsors include R. G. Barry Brands, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Diley Ridge Medical Center, Fairfield County Commissioners, and the city of Pickerington.
Additional information about the events and activities planned for the 2013 festival is available at www.VioletFestval.org.