Festival of Bells ‘went well’


Festival of the Bells Committee President Tom Zile said the 38th annual event in Hillsboro, which ran July 4-6, was a success.

“It went really well,” he said. “We had a lot of activities where they were bigger than they’ve ever been before.”

He said the car show set a record for entries with 133 cars that were registered and an additional 30 cars that showed up for the event. “That’s by far the largest we’ve ever had,” said Zile.

He said the festival’s 5K run also had a record number of participants with almost 150 adult runners and more than 40 children in the kid’s run.

“The basketball and pickle ball tournaments went extremely well,” he said. “This year was the first time for pickle ball, but the courts were full all day.”

Zile said the weather was outstanding for this year’s festival, and he called the entertainment, “excellent.”

He said that although the crowds for the entertainment on Friday and Saturday were average, there were larger crowds during the day than last year.

“The queen contest was new, and the participants in that did extremely well,” said Zile. “Kensley Mathias was the queen, and she did an excellent job, and people seemed to really enjoy that.”

He said moving the parade to Saturday, the addition of the queen contest, the addition of a new ride company and bringing back a three-on-three basketball tournament were things that worked well at the festival this year.

“If we have the funds we would like to get even better entertainment than what we’ve had, but that’s going to take more sponsors of course,” said Zile. “Other than that, we’re always looking for various types of food vendors so that we have a good choice for people so they can get whatever type of food they want.”

Zile said the festival may be forced to relocate next year because a new stage may be under construction at Crossroads Park during the festival. “There are going to be some new things that we are going to have to deal with next year, but we don’t know until we get with the city and find out just exactly what is going on.”

The city of Hillsboro recently received a $5.2 million grant to upgrade Crossroads Park, where the festival is held.

He said the committee will take about a month off and begin working on next year’s festival in mid August.

He said the festival wouldn’t be possible without its sponsors. “We try to provide a great free three nights of music which is one of the rare things that happens in Ohio or anywhere, and that takes sponsorship,” he said. “The other thing is if there are any corporate sponsors or any individuals that would like to be sponsors, they just need to contact us because the more sponsors we have the bigger the names and the bigger the entertainment.”

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

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