FOB back uptown at new site


The full schedule of events for Hillsboro’s 2022 Festival of the Bells is complete as preparations for the three-day festival are still underway.

The celebration will include a parade, rides, food, crafts and three nights of headlining music acts. The marquee performers this year will be Caylee Hammack, Elvie Shane and Jordan Feliz. Hammack will kick off the main shows Thursday, July 7 at 9 p.m. with Shane performing Friday, July 8 at 9 p.m. and Feliz rounding out the headlining performances Saturday, July 9 at 9 p.m.

“Elvie Shane just had a number one hit with ‘My Boy’ in November, and he’s got the ‘Country Roads’ song that came out, and I’ve seen the video of it that’s really good, and it’s moving up the charts now,” said Festival of the Bells Committee President Rick Williams.

Williams said he is also looking forward to the performances by Hammack and Feliz. “Caylee Hammack has been out with Reba (McEntire) and Brad Paisley — Brad was here in 2000, of course — and she’s out with them right now,” he said. “I don’t know as much about Jordan Feliz, the Christian artist, but I think he’s going to be good.”

Williams noted that concert lineup has changed a bit this year. The country music entertainers will perform Thursday and Friday with the Christian music act on Saturday.

After being cancelled the past two years because of COVID-19 and being held at Southern State Community College the two years before that, the festival is returning to uptown Hillsboro this year at the city’s new green space off of West Main Street.

“It’s special to be able to come back and have it in the uptown area, and that’s something that mayor Justin Harsha wanted, and I think this location, once they get everything finished down there, is going to be a great site for a lot of things” said Williams. “That’s where it needs to be is uptown as a sort of homecoming for the people that maybe moved away and come back to see friends and family in Hillsboro, and we’re only just a block from where we were for so many years.”

Williams said he is hopeful that mud won’t become a problem at the concert site. “I think the grass has grown so much here in the past week that it will be OK, and if we get rainy weather we’ll just work through it,” he said.

The festival will begin Thursday, July, 7 with a parade themed “Red, White & Boom – We’re Back!” at 4 p.m. “They’re going to meet at the old high school site and then come up West Main to the corner of town and then go on South High to Walnut and then go on West Walnut back to the high school,” said Williams. “It’s a little different parade route this year due to the fact that we’re going to have North Elm Street closed.”

People attending the festival will be able to park just north of the green space by the old Union Stockyards and walk across Beech Street to the festival. Amusement rides will be lined up along from West Main Street and Elm Street to Tissot’s Home Center for the duration of the festival.

This will be the final year Williams will serve on the Festival of the Bells Committee. He has been involved with the festival for 34 years, serving as either president or co-president of the committee for 28 years. But he said he will still be around to volunteer and help out where needed.

The full schedule of events for this year’s festival can be found at

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

A small portion of the crowd is pictured at a past Festival of the Bells concert in the center of Hillsboro. This year’s concert will be held in a new city green space off West Main Street. small portion of the crowd is pictured at a past Festival of the Bells concert in the center of Hillsboro. This year’s concert will be held in a new city green space off West Main Street. Times-Gazette file photo
Williams says location will be ‘great site for a lot things’

By John Hackley

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