This will be the fourth year New Albany's SpringFest will be held at New Albany High School's Eagle Stadium, and New Albany Community Events Board president Hans Schell credits the location with boosting the event's popularity.

"It absolutely took off," Schell said.

This year's SpringFest is scheduled 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 7, at the stadium on the high school campus, 7600 Fodor Road. Admission is free.

When it started a decade ago, SpringFest was held at Swickard Woods near the Plain Township Aquatic Center before its move to the stadium, Schell said.

The first year the event was held in the stadium was 2014, he said, and no event was organized in 2016 because Easter and the New Albany-Plain Local School District's spring break overlapped.

Although the stadium helped the event increase in size -- the annual helicopter egg drop also was a hit -- Schell credits the marketing efforts of the New Albany Community Events Board.

Board members ramped up the event's publicity, he said, by passing out fliers to local businesses and posting about the egg hunt on social-media sites.

In addition to SpringFest, the events board organizes the annual Fourth of July festivities, Schell said.

The board also organized a fall festival in 2016, and members are considering talking to New Albany City Council to propose another fall festival this year or a holiday lights show, Schell said.

Events like the ones the board plans provide residents family-friendly activities in a safe environment, Schell said. The events always are free -- residents usually just have to pay for food or refreshments, he said.

New Albany City Council usually allocates as much as $45,000 annually to the events board for planning, said Mayor Sloan Spalding.

Several years ago, former mayor Nancy Ferguson recommended that the events board operate as its own entity, apart from the city, in the hopes that the board would be able to independently fund a portion of its events costs, he said.

Although the small size of the organization has made that difficult, Spalding said, the city hopes the events board can revisit that goal.

He said he views the organization as an extension of the city, although the 10 board members are unpaid volunteers, devoting time every year to planning local events.

Meanwhile, attendance at SpringFest, buoyed by perfect weather in recent years, seems to increase annually, Spalding said.

"It gets bigger every year," he said. "The city is very grateful to New Albany-Plain Local Schools for allowing us to use their campus and the football stadium to host the SpringFest.

"The stadium allows us to provide a safe and secure environment for families and also increases our capacity for the event. The event simply wouldn't be possible without our partners."

SpringFest typically brings 3,000 to 5,000 patrons, most of whom come from New Albany, Gahanna and Westerville, Schell said.

The event includes separate egg hunts -- with a total of 60,000 plastic eggs -- for children ages 8 and under, he said.

A helicopter will drop eggs onto the field at 11 a.m.

Other attractions will include food trucks, activities provided by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, face painting and games, Schell said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah