PAULDING — It’s time to have a blast.
The Paulding Summer Blast will be held July 19 in downtown Paulding. The event, formerly known as John Paulding Days, will feature a parade, fireworks, food, inflatables and more.
Mikayla Pieper, executive director of the Paulding Chamber of Commerce, said the festival committee changed the event’s name to be more inclusive to the whole community.
“We are the county seat and other agencies like the Vision Board are doing county-wide activities,” she said. “(The committee) wants to open the event to the whole county.”
As a result, the committee has been working to get other organizations in the county, which haven’t been involved in the past, to take part in the festival. The involvement includes having more nonprofit organizations as new food vendors.
Food vendors will open at 4 p.m. July 19. Among the vendors are Antwerp Conservation Club with curly fries, First Presbyterian Church’s homemade ice cream, Branch Christian Church’s grilled cheese, Paulding County Senior Center fried bologna and Paulding Church of the Nazarene’s pork nachos. There also will be food trucks at the event.
At 5 p.m., Paulding Ace Hardware will be sponsoring a cornhole tournament. Signup will be at the business, with the tournament held on the square. Organizers are hoping to get 32 teams. Entry fee is $30 a team. The tournament will be single elimination. The first place team will receive $350; second, $200; and third, $100.
The annual parade will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Grand marshals will be Vietnam veterans from the county.
“If you are or know a veteran, please call us (at 419-399-5215 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org),” Pieper said. She said they will ask about the veteran’s rank, branch, years he/she served and any honors. “We will be dropping veterans off at the Presbyterian Church afterward as they have a meal prepared for them.”
The parade will follow its normal route from the fairgrounds to the courthouse square. Pieper noted there will be one change to the parade as the announcing stand will be put at the corner of Perry and Williams streets to allow for better acoustics for parade viewers.
“We anticipate the parade being an hour and a half,” Pieper said. “Last year, we had 70 (entrants) so we expect to be as long as last year, though I’ve already received five new entrants.”
Entry into the parade is free. Those wanting to take part are asked to register before July 17 at http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07egdvh09ujwkri2ah/a01yijxke3wyt/questions.
Following the parade will be the Kiwanis Kids Zone, touch a truck and other activities on Main Street.
“For the touch-a-truck, we will have an EMS (squad), fire truck and hopefully some farm equipment,” Pieper said.
In the kids zone, there will be several inflatables.
“There are not just bounce houses, but interactive inflatables,” Pieper said. “Kiwanis members will be monitoring the inflatables (to make sure everything runs smoothly.)”
In addition, Indiana Wild will be holding animal shows on the courthouse square following the parade. The nonprofit organization from Woodburn provides live-animal programs. They have animals such as owls, bearded dragons, an alligator and ferrets.
“They will do an hour animal show and then they will be letting kids pet the animals and take pictures,” Pieper said.
Rounding out the night will be the Paulding County Area Foundation’s fireworks display at 10 p.m. Individuals can bring chairs and blankets to sit on and watch the fireworks from the courthouse square.
Organizers hope everyone comes down and has a great time at the event. For more information on any of the activities or to volunteer to help, contact Pieper at the chamber of commerce.