After torrential rains and heavy flooding dampened but failed to deter the inaugural Picktown Palooza in 2017, organizers announced the event will return this July.
Nearly every first-time endeavor experiences hiccups, but the flooding July 13 that hit the Pickerington area on the first day of the Picktown Palooza was overwhelming..
The National Weather Service in Wilmington said more than 3 inches fell that day, just three days after more than 2 inches soaked the area.
It forced the inaugural Palooza in Victory Park to be shut down, but organizers and local government and public safety officials scrambled to relocate the event to higher ground and salvage its last scheduled two days.
The rains apparently yielded a proverbial rainbow, and Panger Productions President Chris Stein said the Picktown Palooza is coming back July 11-14.
It also will return to the site that gave respite from last year's rains: the corner of North Center Street and Town Square Drive.
"We're good to go," Stein said. "This will be Year Two, and we're looking at this from an annual perspective."
The 2017 Palooza rose from the ashes of the community's longtime summer tradition, the Violet Festival, which dissolved after its organizational board disbanded in February of that year.
After pulling together an event featuring carnival rides, midway games and national music acts -- as well as surviving what Stein called the "Great Flood of 2017" -- organizers are ready to take the Palooza to new heights.
"We struck a one-year deal last year, but I think everyone at the city and township and in the community wanted to keep this going," he said.
Pickerington Mayor Lee Gray said he's "happy the Picktown Palooza is coming back for another year. Even with last year's adversity -- flooding and missing some days -- they were able to make it a success.
"It is great to have an event to provide fun and entertainment right in downtown Pickerington."
In addition to returning to the site that helped save the Palooza last summer, the event again will feature rides, games and a beer garden, and Stein said it will receive significant sponsorship support from IGS Energy, the city of Pickerington, Violet Township, OrthoNeuro and G&J Pepsi, among others.
"We've got a lot of great sponsors and we've got quite a few new sponsors coming in," Stein said. "New companies have been signing up and we still have some sponsorship opportunities available."
It will remain a four-day event, but this year it will be held from Wednesday through Saturday. There will be free parking, tickets will be $5 per day for those ages 13 and older. Children 12 years old and younger will be admitted at no charge. There also will be a children's area provided by Nationwide Children's Hospital, a car and bike show presented by AAA Ohio Auto Club and live bands.
"We'll have live bands all four days, including national artists," Stein said.
"We'll be ready for that announcement very soon, and we're working on a national artist for Saturday night, too."
Stein predicted this year's Palooza would be an enhanced version because the volunteer board for Panger Productions -- a name that combines the mascots of the Pickerington High School North Panthers and the Pickerington High School Central Tigers -- has had a full year to plan.
"We put this whole thing together in three months last year," Stein said. "Not having an event (after the rain) was not an option. We got everybody relocated and re-inspected, and it showed our commitment and helped forge relationships.
"Barring a 'Great Flood of 2018,' we're looking at upwards of 20,000 people coming in over the course of four days."
Information about the Picktown Palooza as well as updates, will be provided at picktownpalooza.org.
Additionally, Stein said, those interested in remaining sponsorship opportunities can call 614-379-2099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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