Pickerington Violet Festival organizers said they are confident the upcoming festival will go off this year without a hitch and have a logistical plan in place to ensure success.

Pickerington Violet Festival organizers said they are confident the upcoming festival will go off this year without a hitch and have a logistical plan in place to ensure success.

The four-day festival, presented by Mount Carmel Health System, is expected to draw about 30,000 attendees and will open at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, and run through midnight Saturday, July 16. It will be located on the grounds of Toll Gate Middle School and Toll Gate Elementary School at the corner of Refugee and Toll Gate roads in Violet Township.

The event, which draws attendees from throughout central Ohio and beyond, will be on Pickerington Local School District grounds for the second straight year after it was forced to take a one-year hiatus in 2014 because of location issues. Before 2014 the Violet Festival was held for 16 years in Victory Park in Olde Pickerington Village.

Violet Festival President Chris Stein said the 2016 event has all the pieces in place to make it the best ever.

"The festival has invested heavily in shuttles this year by more than doubling the amount being provided," Stein said.

"On Friday we have nine and on Saturday we have 11 (shuttles).

"This will drastically cut down on wait times experienced last year after the Kansas show," Stein said.

He said the 2015 Violet Festival ran into transportation problems when not enough shuttles were on hand to quickly transport attendees back to the parking lots at Pickerington High School North and Lakeview Junior High School.

"Being it was our first year at the new location, we were not sure what to expect," Stein said.

"Now we are better prepared and this will be a more enjoyable experience for the patrons as they will get to and from the grounds a lot faster," he said.

Free festival parking will be located at the PHS North campus, 7800 Refugee Road, and the Lakeview Junior High School campus, 12445 Ault Road. Free shuttles will then cycle through and transport attendees to the festival site.

Stein said new this year will be the opportunity to park on festival grounds with limited on-site parking.

"We are now selling a very limited number of VIP parking passes. It allows people to park on the (Toll Gate) grounds all four days for $20," Stein said.

The passes can be purchased at Kemba Financial, 941 Hill Road North in Pickerington. Stein said entrance to the VIP parking lot will only be accessible from Toll Gate Road. Handicapped parking will also be allowed on-site for free.

Violet Township officials said Refugee Road will be closed from Pickerington Road to Saylor Road during the festival starting an hour prior to the grounds opening. Only area residents and buses will be permitted.

In addition, Toll Gate Road NW and Toll Gate Court will be closed from Refugee Road to Maime Drive starting an hour prior to the grounds opening. Access will be granted to buses and area residents.

Violet Township Trustee Darrin Monhollen said the road closures are needed to ensure safety.

"Public safety is our No. 1 priority," Monhollen said.

"Our staff did a great job last year and now we have a year under our belt. We're always looking to improve," he said.

The Pickerington Violet Festival will run from 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, July 13 and 14; 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, July 15; and from noon to midnight Saturday, July 16.

Daily admission is $5. A four-day admission pass for $10 can be purchased at Kemba Financial. All entertainment, with the exception of amusement rides, is free with admission.

The Ultimate Garth Brooks Tribute Band featuring Shawn Gerhard is the main musical act at 9 p.m. Friday, July 15.

Two headliner acts will take the stage Saturday, July 16. Classic rockers Head East perform at 7 p.m. and Australian-based pop-rock legends the Little River Band will perform at 9 p.m.

Stein said people can look forward to having a new amusement ride company on board this year.

"This year we were able to contract with a ride company that provides a lot more midway games and more of the thrill rides we have been wanting," Stein said.

"So the Midway, sponsored by Meijer, should be fantastic this year," he said.

For more information about the Pickerington Violet Festival, including the complete schedule of events and activities, go to violetfestival.org.

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