The 16th annual Mount Carmel Pickerington Violet Festival is under way in Victory Park and will run through Saturday, July 27.
Violet Festival officials said there are new features in addition to perennial favorites.
* Granpa Cratchet's Puppet Show -- 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 -- The band Survivor will perform Saturday, July 27, and country singer Jo Dee Messina will perform Friday, July 26. Both bands will perform on the RG Barry stage in the midway.
* 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 -- Sponsored by PNC Bank, the Cool Zone 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., Friday, 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., Saturday, July 27.
Throughout the four-day festival, local and regional entertainers will perform on the main stage and in the Beer Garden.
Businesses will display their wares in the Business Showcase throughout the Festival.
Admission to the Festival is $3 per person Thursday, and $5 per person Friday and Saturday when purchased at the gate.
Children 11 years old and younger will be admitted free.
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.