The Violet Festival, considered by many to be the premier annual event in the Pickerington area, will once again take place on the grounds of the Tollgate Elementary School and Tollgate Middle School campus, on the corner of Tollgate Road and Refugee Road in Violet Township, this summer.

The Violet Festival, considered by many to be the premier annual event in the Pickerington area, will once again take place on the grounds of the Tollgate Elementary School and Tollgate Middle School campus, on the corner of Tollgate Road and Refugee Road in Violet Township, this summer.

Organizers have moved the schedule up this year so that the four-day festival does not conflict with other major events in central Ohio. The 2016 Violet Festival will be held July 13-16 at 12089 Tollgate Road NW.

Starting things off this year July 4 will be a Violet Festival 5K Dash and Kids' Fun Run, sponsored by the Diley Ridge Medical Center.

Violet Festival President Chris Stein said the goal was to make the 5K the official "kick-off" to the festival.

"Not only is the date changing to July 4 now, but the location is also changing."

"The event will wind its way through the Pickerington High School North cross country course; there is very little elevation change on the course and over 1,200 meters of the course is run through wooded terrain," Stein said.

He said the Kids' Fun run will start at 8 a.m. and the 5K will start at 8:20 a.m.

The first official night of the Violet Festival, July 13, will be Youth Night. Stein said various youth groups from area churches are invited to enjoy Christian-based musical acts and all rides will be $1 per ride.

He said a new addition this year is Kids' Corner, sponsored by Nationwide Children's Hospital, which will add popular children's characters to visit the grounds at times to be determined on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of the festival.

The July 15 headliner for the 2016 Violet Festival is Shawn Gerhard, tabbed by organizer's as the "World's No. 1 Garth Brooks Tribute Artist." Stein said attendees will come away impressed.

"For those that were not lucky enough to get tickets to see Garth Brooks this year in Columbus, this literally is the next best thing," he said.

"For the first time," said Stein, two national recording acts will play July 16. Australia-based The Little River Band, considered by music critics as one of the 1970s great vocal bands with a slew of radio-friendly hits to its credit, will headline from 9:30 to 11 p.m.

American-based rockers Head East, also a popular band in the 1970s, will open the show and take the stage from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Stein said all the musical acts are free with the purchase of a general admission ticket.

Also July 16 will be a charity motorcycle run that will end at the Violet Festival at 5 p.m. with bikers parking on-site.

"A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit Paws for Veterans and Run Down the Demons that benefit with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," Stein said.

The 2016 Violet Festival will mark the second year the event is held on the Tollgate campus site. The event was canceled in 2014 because of venue issues. Prior to that, the Violet Festival was located in Victory Park and adjacent Pickerington Local School District grounds in downtown Pickerington.

Stein said the new and improved 2016 Violet Festival has doubled the number of free shuttles that will be providing to transport guests to and from the event.

"This will drastically cut down on wait times," he said.

While last year there was no general parking at the event, the 2016 version will allow a small amount of vehicular parking.

"We are also offering this year a very limited amount of four-day parking passes for pre-sale purchase which provides on-site parking," Stein said.

He said those details will be updated on the Violet Festival website and will be available for purchase at Kemba Financial in Pickerington.

For more information about the 2016 Violet Festival, go to violetfestival.org.