There will be a new parade, more parking with shuttle transportation from one parking location, different rides, and a few other subtle changes, but most things will remain the same when the 2019 Festival of the Bells is held for the second year at Southern State Community College in Hillsboro on July 4-6.
“We moved a few things around in the venue, and the rides will be a little more like what we had uptown, a little more on the kiddie side so the youngsters can enjoy themselves,” festival president Rick Williams said Wednesday. “Last year was the first time out at Southern State and knew we would change some things. Hopefully, it will make things a little better for everyone.”
As usual, concerts on all three nights will be the main attraction.
This year’s lineup includes contemporary Christian artist Ryan Stevenson with special guest Lindsay Huggins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 4; country artist Tyler Rich at 9 p.m. Friday, July 5; and country artist Devin Dawson at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 6. Local group Blue Steel will be the warmup act from 6-8 p.m. Friday. There will not be a warmup act Saturday, but there will be a festival auction on the stage starting at 8:30 p.m.
A parade, a staple of the festival in past years but dropped a year ago, will kick things off at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 4.
The theme for this year’s parade is “Faith, Family and Freedom.” The parade will line up at the Hobart parking lot at 3:30 p.m. and will march up Carl Smith Drive, through the roundabout and conclude at Lowe’s.
All organizations, churches, businesses, and interested individuals are invited and encouraged to participate. No preregistration is necessary. Information will be taken at the lineup. Judging will begin at 4:30 p.m. for floats. The parade will begin at 5:30 p.m.
Awards will be given in the following categories: Best Theme, Most Patriotic, Best Religious, and Most Humorous.
Williams said there will be more parking on the south side of the Southern State parking lot. When that lot is full parking should move to Hobart, where there will be shuttle vehicles taking visitors to and from the festival. After that lot is full parking should move on to Richard Shaffer Park. If all those lots are full, Williams said there are several other options along North High Street.
On Friday at 1 p.m. there will be bingo. “It’s going to be very simplified, but it’s going to be fun. It’s all free and there will be some little prizes,” publicity chairman Connie Williams said.
The Liberty Lions Club will host a car show on Saturday that Rick Williams said it will be bigger and better.
For more festival details, see the full schedule below:
THURSDAY, JULY 4
3:30 p.m. – Parade lineup
5 p.m. – Opening Ceremonies; Food and crafts booths open; Midway opens
5:30 p.m. – Parade
6:30 p.m. – Church group relay races; Preacher pie eating contest
7:30 p.m. – Lindsey Huggins
9 p.m. – Ryan Stevenson
FRIDAY, JULY 5
9 a.m. – 3-on-3 basketball tournament registration
9:30 a.m. – 3-on-3 three basketball tournament
10 a.m. – Craft booths open
Noon – Midway opens
1 p.m. – Bingo and other activities
3 p.m. – Kids coloring contest
3:30 p.m. – Children’s games
4:30 p.m. – Karate demonstration
6-8:00 p.m. – Blue Steel
9 p.m. – Tyler Rich
SATURDAY, JULY 6
7 a.m. – 5K run/walk registration
8 a.m. – 5K run/walk; Craft booths open
9 a.m. – Pet parade registration; Wiffle ball tournament registration; Cornhole tournament registration
10 a.m. – Cornhole tournament; Wiffle ball tournament; Pet parade; Food booths open
10 a.m. to noon – Car show registration
10:15 a.m. – Kids dash registration
10:30 a.m. – Kids dash; Baby parade registration
11 a.m. – Baby parade
Noon – Midway opens; Children’s games
12:30 p.m. – Festival Finds Scavenger Hunt registration
1 p.m. – Festival Finds Scavenger Hunt
2 p.m. – Children’s games; Kickball tournament registration
2:30 p.m. – Kickball tournament
3 p.m. – Car show awards
8 p.m. – Swearing-in ceremony for local armed forces
8:30 p.m. – Festival of the Bells Auction
9 p.m. – Devin Dawson
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.