Organizers behind the Picktown Palooza have announced classic rockers Night Ranger will headline the Friday night entertainment for the four-day festival.

With hits such as "Sister Christian," "(You Can Still) Rock in America" and "Don't Tell Me You Love Me" that have attracted fans since the 1980s and still garner wide radio play, the volunteers at Panger Productions believe they've booked a popular headliner with crossover appeal.

Event organizers announced Night Ranger will receive top billing Friday, July 13. The band is scheduled to perform from 9:30 to 11 p.m.

"They are well known, they have a lot of hits and they are on their 35th anniversary tour, as well as promoting the release of a new album," said Chris Stein, president of Panger Productions, which is organizing the second Picktown Palooza.

The event will be held July 11-14 at North Center Street and Town Square Drive in Pickerington.

Stein said he sought a band that has "cross-generational appeal" to be the Friday headliner because he expects people of all ages to attend the show.

"Parents that are Night Ranger fans certainly have played their songs while the kids were in the car and therefore the kids have become accustomed to their music," he said. "Their music is also family friendly."

Last summer, heavy rains washed out the first two nights of the inaugural Palooza, causing the scheduled Friday night headliner, The Kate Hastings Band, to be added to a Saturday night lineup that included Cracker and Soul Asylum.

This year, Stein is hoping for better weather so that all 14 of the bands slated to play over the course of the four-day festival can perform as scheduled.

The Saturday night headliner has not yet been announced, but the rest of the slate is listed under the "Entertainment" section of the Palooza's website, picktownpalooza.org.

Those listed include Christian rockers, SlawDog, who will headline July 11, and a Pink Floyd tribute band, Eugene's Ax, that will headline July 12.

"We are looking at a national artist for Saturday and once secured we will announce (it)," Stein said. "Just ... keep checking the website for any new details."

In addition to music, the Palooza will feature carnival rides, midway games, a beer garden and Kids' Corner.

There also will be a Car & Bike Show from noon to 4:30 p.m. July 14 at neighboring Epiphany Lutheran Church, 268 Hill Road North.

In addition to being organized by the nonprofit Panger Productions, the Palooza receives support from IGS Energy, the city of Pickerington, Violet Township, OrthoNeuro and G&J Pepsi, among others.

"I am excited to have the opportunity to support a community event that will bring neighbors together for a few days," said Violet Township trustee Melissa Wilde.

"The health of any community extends beyond freshly paved roads and safe drinking water.

"Community leaders should always be seeking opportunities to partner with those who are doing great things for our residents.

"I am thrilled that so many people are willing to volunteer their time to create a memorable experience for the families in Pickerington."

Event and ticket information is available at picktownpalooza.org.

Admission is $5 per day for those 13 and older. Kids 12 and under get in free.

Four-day passes are available for $10, and there will be no charge for parking.

"We have various parking lots where people can park and those are listed on the site," Stein said.

"It is a great community event, we will not have to worry about any flooding and we have tons of activities and entertainment to please the young and young at heart."

Stein said additional volunteer and sponsorship opportunities remain available, and those interested can call him at 614-379-2099.

Scott White, president and chief executive officer of IGS Energy, said he's ready for the festivities to begin.

"We're excited to be the presenting sponsor of the Picktown Palooza," White said.

"As a family-owned company with almost 30 years of experience serving central Ohio, we're proud to support the areas where we live and work.

"We are looking forward to this great event again this year."

nellis@thisweeknews.com

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