City Notes: As weather warms, Whitehall's 'fun' events are returning

Kim Maggard
Guest columnist

As new COVID-19 cases decrease, vaccination rates rise and health-safety orders are lifted, it feels like a weight is being lifted from our lives.

After all that we’ve been through in the past 14 months, we have more than one reason to celebrate our community, and I for one can’t wait to get back to the fun in 2021.

Kim Maggard is mayor of Whitehall.

With this newfound optimism, planning has kicked into high gear for our major summertime festivities, including the Independence Day parade and fireworks display, the Whitehall Food Truck & Fun Fest and National Night Out – three of my favorite annual events.

Mixed with the Whitehall Parks and Recreation Department's lineup of programming and activities, summer camp at the Whitehall Community Park YMCA and the reopening of the Splash Pad at John Bishop Park, this summer is sure to be one to remember.

I invite you to mark your calendars for some of this summer’s highlights and to note a few of our ongoing COVID-19 adaptations to help keep everyone safe as we get back to the fun.

On Tuesdays from 4 to 6:30 p.m., Whitehall’s first-ever farmers market, Market on the Green, will be at Kelley Green at Norton Crossing from June through August. Take your pick of fresh produce and artisan goods while enjoying adult beverages, live music and special guests. Produce Perks and SNAP benefits will be accepted by some vendors. Learn more at whitehall-oh.us/market.

This summer, we can’t wait to get back to celebrating the Fourth of July as a community. Because of COVID-19, the Viewing Picnic – taking place from 8 to 10 p.m. July 2 at Whitehall-Yearling High School – will look a little different this year. Although we won’t see our normal lineup of games and rides, you can still expect a fantastic fireworks display and food-truck vendors. Get your free tickets from your Opportunity Guide or pick up extras from the service department in City Hall.

The next morning, the Whitehall Community Celebration Association invites you to its Independence Day Parade, starting at 10 a.m. July 3. The route will be announced soon. Contact the WCCA directly at wcca13@gmail.com for more details or to enter the parade.

At the end of July, join us for the Food Truck & Fun Fest, returning to South Yearling Road from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 31. You’ll notice some changes this year to help prevent crowding and encourage more sitting – with kids zone activities not returning until 2022 – but with more than 30 food trucks, a dozen marketplace vendors, adult beverages and a full lineup of awesome bands, we’re sure 2021 will be our best Fest yet. Learn more at whitehallfoodtruckfest.com.

Finally, rounding out the summer special events schedule, your friends in the police and fire divisions hope to see you from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 3 at John Bishop Park for National Night Out. From K-9 demonstrations, to a bike rodeo, to food vendors, to live music and more, this is a great way to get to know your local law-enforcement and emergency-service providers.

Of course, however you choose to celebrate, the city encourages you to do so safely.

If you are not yet vaccinated, please continue wearing your face covering and social distancing around those outside your immediate household. Practice hand washing and good hygiene, and if you feel ill, please stay home.

I can’t wait to see you out in Whitehall this summer.

Kim Maggard is mayor of Whitehall.