Summer fun is on the agenda of the Defiance Development and Visitors Bureau (DDVB).
Kirstie Mack, executive director of the DDVB, is excited for the upcoming events that offer something for everyone. A downtown farmer’s market, the Riverfest and the Defiance Rib Fest are on the DDVB calendar along with the Jazz Fest, Maumee Valley Car Club Car Show and Family Fun Nights.
Two years ago, the city of Defiance approved a 96-acre Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) in the downtown area. The DORA is a designated public area where alcoholic beverages can be purchased in a designated cup from permitted establishments and carried within the district. DORA cups are one time use only.
The downtown farmer’s market will be open 4:30-7:30 p.m. every Thursday from June 3 through Aug. 26. Vendors will set up on East Third Street between Clinton Street and the State Bank alley. A ProMedica sponsorship has taken the market to another level with live music, wellness information and demonstrations such as yoga and karate. There is no application fee for vendors.
Family Fun Fridays will be held June 4, July 2, and Aug. 6, sponsored by Keller Logistics Group. There will be scavenger hunts for all ages related to different historical aspects of downtown businesses. It will be learning by participation, Mack explained. Family Fun Fridays are being held in conjunction with the Maumee Valley Car Club’s First Friday Cruise-Ins from 6-8 p.m., weather permitting. There will be music, food, door prizes and a 50/50 drawing.
Celebration of Independence Day will be held July 2 and is moving back to Kingsbury Park (from Diehl Park) at the confluence of the Maumee and Auglaize rivers. The celebration begins at 2 p.m. with carnival rides, musical entertainment, and food to be enjoyed before the big event- the fireworks at dusk.
The Second Street bridge will be closed for the first time to provide additional seating for the fireworks. Mack hopes this will deter any downtown parking issues as well as providing a great view of the activities. Traffic will be re-routed to Hopkins Street as a quick alternate route.
Mack said planning for the fireworks celebration began in March and has included some 18 agencies and groups. She has been working with city, county, and state agencies to work out each detail. While the DDVB is a financial sponsor, it takes community support to have a successful event.
The DDVB is also a presenting sponsor of the Music in Your Parks series. Concerts are set for June 10, June 24, July 22, and Aug. 12 at Triangle Park. Another DCCC event is the Defiance Jazz Fest to be held at Kingsbury Park July 10.
Riverfest is a celebration of the rivers to bring awareness to conservation, wildlife, recreation, and family fun. This year’s Riverfest is a free community event to be held July 17 with a focus on accessibility to water and access points for boats, kayaks, and canoes. The day will begin at Pontiac Park with a clean-up at the confluence of the Maumee and Auglaize rivers. For those who would like to experience a kayak ride, JT Adventures will offer free kayaking opportunities. Live music and a food truck will also be part of the day’s fun.
The Defiance Rib Fest is set for Sept. 25. Mack anticipates a large attendance based on the largest turnout ever at the May Lilac Festival. Farmers and Merchants and Stykemain GMC are the big sponsors of Rib Fest. Sam Switzer Realty is the band sponsor, and City Beverage is a presenting sponsor.
Mack noted, “we have generous supporters. The year after COVID-19, we have many in the community actively involved to help offset costs.”
Ten vendors will be cooking up tasty ribs for judging. Other vendors will offer French fries and ice cream. DORA is suspended during Rib Fest because of the beer garden. Pop and water will also be available.
Crowds attending Rib Fest enjoy dancing in the streets as much as they enjoy the food offerings. The opening musical act will be the local group Venyx. Headlining the Rib Fest is Menus, a Cincinnati group with ties to Northwest Ohio.
The United Way of Defiance County Balloon Fest will be held Aug. 7 at the Defiance County Airport. Flights are scheduled for Saturday morning and a glow event will be held in the evening. Live music, kids’ fun zone, food and a marketplace are planned.