Organizers of the Picktown Palooza have tweaked the third installment of the annual event so that it will feature three nights of festivities and entertainment from nationally known artists.
Rather than staging an event that runs Wednesday through Saturday, the volunteers who organize and manage Picktown Palooza have opted this year to condense it.
It will return to North Center Street and Town Square Drive in Olde Pickerington Village and be held July 11-13.
In shortening the festival, however, organizers have expanded the number of nights prominent music acts will perform.
"We are now a three-day celebration rather than a four-day celebration," said Chris Stein, president of the nonprofit Panger Productions, which puts on Picktown Palooza.
"We evaluated after last year's event and were looking for ways to bring more brand exposure to our sponsors.
"Everybody agreed a three-day event would be more feasible and manageable. Additionally, we're anticipating that on those three days we'll be bringing in more attendance because we're bringing in national artists all three days."
The full lineup of concert performers and planned activities is available at picktownpalooza.org.
The July 11 headline act will be Tyler Rich, who, Stein said, is a rising country music star who has gained popularity for the song, "The Difference."
"Thursday is essentially Country Night," Stein said. "The grounds open at 5 p.m. and the first band goes on at 5:30.
"Tyler Rich hits the stage at 9:30."
On both July 12 and 13, the Palooza's entertainment will take trips back in time, with July 12 featuring the Pop 2000 Tour.
It will be hosted by Lance Bass of NSYNC and performances by O-Town, Aaron Carter and Ryan Cabrera, as well as Tyler Hilton from the TV show, "One Tree Hill."
"We wanted to do different genres all three days," Stein said. "Really, on Friday, we've got five national artists coming in.
"When we made the announcement, our Facebook page blew up. We've had over 16,000 people talking about post."
On July 12, Palooza gates will open at 4 p.m. Spencer Saylor will play from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and the Pop 2000 Tour will follow.
On July 13, the Palooza will take it even further back. After an online poll found 68 percent of respondents favored an '80s night over one for the '90s, organizers recruited throwback rockers Dokken to headline.
"The grounds will open at noon on Saturday and Dokken hits the stage at 9:30 p.m.
"Each night, all the shows will end at 11 p.m. On Thursday, the grounds close at 11, but on Friday and Saturday they'll stay open until midnight."
Again this year, the daily cost to attend the Palooza is $5 for people 13 years old and older. Children ages 12 and younger get in free and have access to games and activities in the festival's Kids' Corner.
Tickets can be purchased in advance through the Picktown Palooza website, and organizers are offering a discounted three-day pass for $10.
Stein noted on-site parking won't be available, but there will be several free parking options around the festival grounds. Information is available on the event website.
In addition to the music and Kids' activities, the Palooza again will feature a car and bike show, to be held from noon to 3 p.m. July 13 at Epiphany Lutheran Church, 268 Hill Road North.
There also will be a beer garden and a Business Showcase, which will feature information and services from at least 10 business.
Another change coming to this year's Palooza will be the elimination of carnival rides. In their place, Stein said, will be a number of "challenge" activities, such as obstacle courses and other games designed for young and older attendees.
"The entire event is put on by sponsorships and volunteers," Stein said. "There's always a need for more volunteers, and everyone who does gets a free T-shirt and they can stay on the grounds after their shifts.
"None of us gets paid," he said. "Panger Productions, in partnership with the city of Pickerington and Violet Township, work together to put on a great, safe event for the community."
Violet Township Director of Operations John Eisel said Violet Township contributed $10,000 to the Palooza in 2018. The township trustees have not yet held a vote on this year's commitment level, he said.
Likewise, Pickerington City Council President Mike Sabatino said, council has yet to cast a vote as to the amount of financial and safety resources it will provide to the Palooza. But, he added, it's something the city traditionally has supported.
"Typically, we've found a way to work with Chris Stein and his group," Sabatino said. "It's a good event for the community. It has a good following, the people who put it on seem to be pretty responsible and they've exhibited a good attitude when working with the city and city staff.
"Historically, we have worked cooperatively with them Picktown Palooza, and I wouldn't see any reason why we wouldn't continue to do so."