The city of Whitehall hopes an expanded offering of entertainment and food -- and a little cooperation from Mother Nature -- will increase attendance at the city's second Food Truck & Fun Festival, set July 26 on South Yearling Road between Etna Road and Langley Avenue.
"We're excited to build upon last year's success," said Gail Martineau, the city's community affairs coordinator.
An estimated 7,500 people visited the inaugural Food Truck & Fun Festival last July, Martineau said.
"This year, our goal is to get 10,000 to 15,000 people here," she said.
Last year, 17 food trucks sold their cuisine during the event. This year, 25 food trucks are expected, including My Place or Yours, Sticky Finger Foods, Mr. Wiggly's, Yumii Kettle Corn, Paddy Wagon, Tortilla Street Food, the Funnel Cake Station, Boston Bert's Seafood, Lily's Mini Delights, Loops Good Food, Aromaku, Red Snapper, D's Dogs, I Cee Rainbows, Mojo Tago, Red Plate Blue Plate, Yabo's, Grub Gallery, Mikey's Late Night Slice, Schmidt's, Los Sartenes, A Cut Above and Massey's Pizza.
The stages -- two this year instead of one -- will be located at each end of the closures of South Yearling Road.
Performers on the community stage will include the Whitehall-Yearling High School marching band and a group named Locker 15, composed of musicians who are employees at Priority Designs, a company in the process of moving to Whitehall from neighboring Gahanna.
The main stage will feature bands performing throughout the day.
Among those acts are Shucking Bubba Deluxe, Lieutenant Dan's New Legs, the Fabulous Johnson Brothers and These Guys Live.
Several members of These Guys Live, who have performed at the National Night Out festival in Whitehall, are graduates of Whitehall-Yearling High School.
"We booked bands who we know have quite a following," Martineau said.
Non-musical entertainment at the festival also has expanded.
New this year is a U.S. Army Reserve climbing wall and a COSI exhibit.
Returning favorites include balloon-sculpting, face-painting, miniature golf and a petting zoo.
All entertainment is free except for two events: laser tag and human "hamster balls" that let people climb inside spheres and roll them from inside.
Entry points are limited to four locations and security guards will be on duty at the festival.
The Marine Corps Family Support Community is this year's charitable partner. The organization provides care packages to deployed troops and units for all branches of the military.
Premier-level sponsors of this year's Food Truck & Fun Festival are Alpha Dental, Dick Masheter Ford, FedEx Ground and Huntington National Bank. Main Stage sponsors are Alliance Data, OhioHealth, Wallick Communities and Walmart. Community stage sponsors are Massey's Pizza, Priority Designs and Wingler Construction and Remodeling.
The festival will be open from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 26. The section of South Yearling Road will be closed to motor vehicle traffic during the fest.