Organizers of the Picktown Palooza recently received a shot in the arm toward the long-term operation of the festival when they received a $10,000 grant to purchase staging equipment.

The third annual Picktown Palooza, sponsored by IGS Energy, is less than a month away, with festivities set for July 11-13. It is organized by Panger Productions, a nonprofit group of volunteers. The Panger name comes from an amalgamation of the names of the mascots of Pickerington High School North -- the Panthers -- and Pickerington High School Central -- the Tigers.

In advance of this year's Palooza, the Fairfield County Foundation announced it would award a $10,000 grant to be used to purchase reusable supplies.

Picktown Palooza president Chris Stein said he was informed March 21 the event would receive a grant from the Wendel Family Found of the Fairfield County Foundation.

The money will be used, he said, to purchase everything from fans to folding tables and chairs, as well as rolling coolers and outdoor flooring.

"This is a big deal to us as the funds will be used to help obtain event supplies that will be used for years to come," Stein said.

The money also will support the purchase of enhanced, temporary fence used at the event to block off the perimeter of the grounds and special areas.

"It's super strong," Stein said. It slides onto posts about every 10 feet.

"This is about 2,500 feet of fencing we're going to be buying. This type of fence doesn't sag and you don't have to keep replacing it."

Stein said June 13 he planned to order the fence and several other supplies that day.

Palooza organizers already purchased four 3,500-watt portable inverter generators with the grant, and plan to purchase a fifth in the near future, Stein said.

He said they still would have to rent large generators that power the performance stage and the Palooza midway.

The smaller ones would power many other aspects of the event, such as providing air conditioning to the VIP area and lighting in restrooms, tents and the beer garden.

"Just about everything is run off generator power," Stein said. "We were able to get these for discounted prices and, over the years, they could save us quite a bit.

"It looks like we'll get about 10 years out of these generators. It definitely decreases our costs quite a bit."

The generators retail for about $1,100 each.

Fairfield County Foundation executive director Amy Eyman said the Wendel Family Fund was established in 2002 through a gift from Don Wendel, former owner of Wendel's Diamond Jewelers in Lancaster.

"The fund benefits projects in the community that benefit the residents of Fairfield County," Eyman said. "We use that fund to make grants to nonprofits in the community.

"It does focus some on the arts, which is why we chose it for this purpose," she said. "We saw the Palooza's a three-day event for families.

"It looked like a fun event for the community and something we wanted to support."

Picktown Palooza will take place at the corner of North Center Street and Town Square Drive.

This year's event includes:

* Musical entertainment -- Tyler Rich, July 11; POP 2000 Tour hosted by Lance Bass of NSYNC, with performances by O-Town, Aaron Carter, Ryan Cabrerra, and Tyler Hilton, July 12; Dokken with special guest Enuff Z'Nuff, July 13. Opening acts will perform each night before the headliners' shows.

* Kids' Corner -- Games and activities for children 12 years old and younger.

* Car & Bike Show -- July 13 at Epiphany Lutheran Church next to the Picktown Palooza grounds.

* Interactive games and inflatable amusements -- Activities for the young and young at heart throughout the midway.

* Beer garden -- Guests ages 21 and older can enjoy a variety of wine as well as domestic and imported beer.

* Food vendors -- A variety of mouth-watering treats for all ages.

Additional information about the festival and purchasing tickets can be found online at picktownpalooza.org.

nellis@thisweeknews.com

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