GALION — Next week is the Final Third Friday in Galion event for 2019. On Aug. 16, the Public Square area of Historic Uptowne will be stuffed from 5-8 p.m. with food, music and other good times.
This is also the night the 2019 Stuff the Bus campaign comes to a conclusion.
Miranda Jones, member engagement director of the Galion-Crestline Chamber of Commerce, is excited for the August Third Friday gathering and is happy to report the family-oriented event has grown again this year, with more vendors and better attendance.
“It’s been awesome,” she said. “They’ve been well-received and attendance has been up. The support from the community and businesses has been great.”
The Third Fridays run from May through August.
“We kind of book-mark the school year,” Jones said. “May is the end of the school-year celebration and August is always a back to school, Stuff the Bus event.
“We now have about 25 Galion businesses that have boxes they are using to collect school for supplies. We’ll have the school bus up at the square and the businesses can bring their supplies up and we’ll have some students on hand to accept the school supplies,” Jones said. “We’ve done this all three years, and it’s really popular. I think it’s important that we support our teachers.”
The school supplies will go to Galion City Schools as well as Galion St. Joseph’s, Jones said, and she emphasized that residents can donate at the participating businesses through next Friday.
Besides stuffing the bus, there will be lots of free entertainment.
At 5 p.m., the Princesses will be back for a sing along and dance party at the gazebo. Jones explained the Princesses are a group of local girls who dress up as Disney princesses. They will get up in the gazebo and invite the little kids up to sing and dance with them.
“It’s fun, last month we probably had 15 little kids up there with the Princesses dancing,” Jones said. “And then they go to the Donley Tent and take pictures.”
At 5:30 p.m., Jones said local artist Greg Bell will be on hand for an acoustic set, singing for about an hour, and then at 7 p.m. The Galion Area Band will perform.
“They’ve done all the Third Fridays for us so far,” Jones noted. “It’s kind of like your marching band. It’s your local high school and alumni band. And anyone who still wants to participate can, they just do the songs everyone knows.”
“Third Friday is kind of like a block party,” Jones said. “It’s really fun. We block off North Market Street and it’s blocked to the alley that cuts behind the gazebo.” She also noted there will be many vendors on hand, as well as some food choices.
Rus-Men Farms will be back with their big grill and make hamburgers and bratwursts.
“You have farm raised beef from right here in Crawford County. You can’t get anymore farm to table than that,” she said.
Bistro 217 also will be at Third Friday, and Mark’s Homemade Ice Cream will again be selling its cool treats. Huntington Bank will also have a frozen treat truck at the event.
Jones said the Crawford Park District will return with its popular Animal Extravaganza.
“They have snakes and spiders and reptiles … stuff that a lot of people don’t have access to. So it’s nice to have it and they can come to square and see stuff like that. It’s been one of the most popular things we’ve had with Third Fridays.”
She is proud that Third Fridays continue to grow in participation and popularity.
“When we first started three years ago, we maybe had 10 vendors,” Jones said. “And this year in June we sold out of vendor spots. We had 35 vendors that month. This month we’re right at 30.
“We’ve grown the food court this year and with the entertainment, we’ve had people calling and asking us to perform. We’ve grown our sponsorships. We’re finding our niche, and finding what works. The business community is really coming together with it. We’re figuring out the sales are great and people are moving around the community a lot more.”