Westerville will finish its Fourth Friday season this week with School Daze, a showcase event featuring students, staff and faculty members from city schools.

Westerville will finish its Fourth Friday season this week with School Daze, a showcase event featuring students, staff and faculty members from city schools.

All 23 Westerville district schools will be represented at School Daze, which will include displays of technology, art, science, energy and energy conservation, as well as information about student community service projects, according to Glenda Mihaly, marketing coordinator for the Westerville Visitors and Convention Bureau.

The event will also include displays from the district's academic affairs, administrative services and community relations departments, as well as the Westerville Parent Council.

Mihaly said School Daze works to shine a spotlight on organizations that may not be recognized as often as sports programs.

"We are very happy to bring the great initiatives of Westerville students and teachers to the public's attention," Mihaly said. "Headlines traditionally gravitate toward athletic achievement in our schools. School Daze is all about showcasing the other talents and interests of Westerville schools."

VCB director Jeff Hartnell said the Fourth Friday celebrations in Westerville have been steadily growing in the last few years.

"A couple of years ago, we were averaging 1,400 or 1,500, and last year we averaged 4,000," Hartnell said. "This year, we averaged 5,000, and those are conservative numbers. The growth is there."

School Daze will also include displays from the Adopt-A-School partnerships, Handwriting Without Tears and the Elementary Student Leadership Summit.

The Arts Council of Westerville will present In Full Swing, a 16-piece big band, at the series' season finale. The band plays a wide range of upbeat music from the 1930s and '40s, plus modern swing, pop and rock and roll, according to Ralph Denick, Arts Council of Westerville member.

Hartnell said he has been very pleased with this year's festival season and is already thinking up new ideas for 2009.

"We learned two things from this year that really work: First, we tried to make sure that every street in the area had music, and those musical acts have really been a nice draw," Hartnell said. "We've also added a few more food vendors this year without disrupting our friends at Sertoma."

Hartnell said the visitors and convention bureau is considering the possibility of expanding Westerville's festival season in 2009 by a few months, both before and after the Fourth Friday series.

"We're pretty excited about 2009, and now we can get back to identifying and developing some new events that the community will love," he said.

lrice@thisweeknews.com