Pickerington's annual Labor Day celebration, hosted by the city's Lions Club, is approaching its 65th year of bringing area residents together to both observe and enjoy the national holiday.
In addition to live music, inflatable amusements for kids and perhaps the city's biggest parade, the Pickerington Lions Club will be cooking and selling hundreds of pounds of fried fish in Victory Park Monday, Sept. 2.
The festivities commence with the traditional Labor Day Parade, which starts at 10 a.m. at Pickerington Central High School, 300 Opportunity Way.
"It's the same route through downtown," said Pickerington Lions Club President Brian Fox.
"Because it's the last parade of the year, it's also one of the biggest," Fox said. "We just have a ton of entrants every year."
Fox said the theme of the parade this year, "Celebrating Our Military Heroes," will pay tribute to all active military personnel who hail from the Pickerington area and beyond.
"It's just good to always keep our thoughts on those that are out there protecting America and protecting our way of life," Fox said.
The 2013 Labor Day Parade grand marshal is Dustin Kramer, a 2009 Pickerington High School Central graduate who recently returned from a nearly nine-month deployment in Afghanistan.
Kramer is a specialist E-4 serving with the Stryker Brigade in the U.S. Army. He is on leave for about a month before returning to Fort Lewis in Washington state, where he is stationed.
"It is a real honor to be chosen as grand Marshal," Kramer said. "It's pretty cool," he said.
Fox said Kramer represents "all the folks that are in the service now and are currently in harms way."
"We thought he would be a good representative for the entire community," Fox said.
Line-up for the parade starts at 8 a.m. at Pickerington Central High School.
Lions officials are encouraging parade participants to call Cherie Koch at 614-837-8810 to register in advance.
Cash awards of $100, $50 and $25 will be given to the "best looking entries, based upon overall appearance and attention to theme," Fox said.
The Pickerington Lions will start their fish fry at 11 a.m. in Victory Park. Fox said an estimated 520 pounds of fish will be fried, sold and consumed.
"We fry it up right then and there," he said. "We have kind of what we call a 'secret batter' that we put on the fish before it goes in the fryer."
He said the recipe was perfected by the late John Washington, a former member of the Pickerington Lions.
"He was always the keeper of the secret recipe," Fox said.
"It's still a secret, I don't even know what it is," he said.
The fish is perch, Fox said.
After the parade, there will be a combined band concert from the Pickerington High School Central and Pickerington High School North marching bands about 11:30 a.m. in Victory Park.
"We'll have a raising of the flags, opening remarks and then the combined bands, who are tremendous," said Fox.
Local disc jockey Chuck Steel will also perform at the fish fry.
"He's been down there for years, he's very entertaining and is pretty well-known around central Ohio," Fox said.
Victory Park will be the site of the children's amusements and the Lions Club's annual 50/50 raffle as well.
"We'll be selling tickets all day long, right up to the end of the fish fry," Fox said. "When the fish runs out we'll draw the raffles."
All proceeds from the sales of food and raffles will go to support Lions Club charitable programs.
For additional information about the Pickerington Lions Club's Labor Day activities, visit the website PickeringtonOH. Lionwap.org and click on the Labor Day tab.