Although Grandview Heights is an urban community, it still feels like Mayberry to many.
"Grandview is unique," said Todd Horning. "We're completely surrounded by larger municipalities, yet we're able to maintain a small-town vibe."
Horning is serving as "head ox" of this year's Ox Roast, the annual festival presented by the Grandview Heights Bobcat Boosters.
"I think what makes the Ox Roast so special is its local, small-town character," he said. "Everybody is able to walk down to the festival. That's what we used to do when we were kids. You walked down to the Ox Roast with your friends and had a great time. That's just what you do in Grandview."
The festival will take place Thursday, Sept. 5, through Saturday, Sept. 7, at Pierce Field, at the corner of Northwest Boulevard and West First Avenue. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Sept. 5, 5 to 11 p.m. Sept. 6 and noon to 11 p.m. Sept. 7.
The boosters again will cook and sell 1,600 pounds of beef on the festival's last day.
Booster members will stay overnight Sept. 6 to tend the fire following the traditional pit-lighting ceremony after the Grandview Heights High School football team returns from its game at Africentric Early College.
The marching band and cheerleaders will lead a procession from the high school to Pierce Field, where the football team captains light the pit.
"The pit lighting will probably start a little later than usual -- about 11 p.m., because it's an away game," Horning said. "The pit lighting is always a special part of the Ox Roast weekend."
Visitors to the Ox Roast will be able to buy sandwiches throughout the day Sept. 7, and any leftover beef will be sold in bulk after the festival.
No one should count on any leftovers, though, Horning said.
The final day of the 2018 Ox Roast was "pretty much a washout," he said. "We had to cancel a lot of the entertainment and couldn't run the rides."
But all the beef sold anyway, thanks to a drive-through sale along Hilo Lane, which runs adjacent to Pierce Field, Horning said.
The menu Sept. 6 will feature a fish fry; other traditional fair food, including burgers, brats, funnel cakes and ice cream, will be offered each night, he said. Pies, cakes and cookies donated by Grandview-area parents and community members will be sold as well.
For the fourth year, the Ox Roast will include beer sales after 5 p.m. the final two nights, Horning said.
Throughout the festival, games and carnival rides will be offered for youngsters, including more "high-octane" rides for older students, he said.
Children can buy a wristband to ride the kiddie rides for $15 each, Horning said.
A game tent will offer games of skill and chance operated by each high school class and several Grandview athletic teams, he said.
The high school classes will keep the proceeds from their games, and the money from the other games all will go to the boosters to help the group fulfill its mission of supporting activities that benefit students in Grandview Heights and Marble Cliff, Horning said.
"The Boosters are about a lot more than just supporting our sports teams," he said. "We provided money to help with the purchase of new band uniforms and we support the FIRST robotics team and the spring musical at the high school each year.
"Whatever benefits the kids in our community, we want to support."