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An annual patriotic and family festival will kick off this weekend at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds.
The 61st annual St. Joe Fourth of July Festival will be held Sunday, July 3 and Monday, July 4, and will feature many festival favorites, along with some new attractions.
Chairmen of the St. Joe Festival say that this event is for the community, and one main purpose is to celebrate patriotism.
â€śOur mission of the festival is family and patriotism,â€ť co-Chair Mike Wurst said. â€śItâ€™s a family-oriented event.â€ť
This event will offer affordable fun for the whole family. There is free admission, free parking and free attendance drawings.
Wurst said there is fun for the whole family during this two-day event.
â€śIt ranges from bingo to the kidâ€™s games,â€ť Wurst said. â€śWe cover it all.â€ť
A new feature to this yearâ€™s event is the Freedom Train from New Knoxville. The train will arrive on July 4, and it has three designated stops around the fairgrounds to transport people around the festival during the day.
The three stops include one near the parking lot off of Dearbaugh Avenue, one near the Junior Fair Building and one near the Beer Garden, on the west end of the fairgrounds. The train also has wheel chair capability.
Another new attraction to this yearâ€™s event will be music by Musik According to the Akkordians, who will play at the lunch stand dining area. They will play German-style music beginning at 6 p.m. on July 3 and starting at 1 p.m. on July 4.
A festival favorite is the Grand Sizzler drawings, which will begin at 1 p.m. on July 4. There are $50,000 worth of prizes, including an iPod Touch, Amish Patio Furniture, a television, 4-wheeler, an HP TouchSmart Desktop Computer, gift cards and the grand prize of $10,000 in cash. Tickets are still available by calling the St. Joseph Parish Office. Also, a list of ticket sellers is available at stjoewapak.org.
Drawings will be held every 10 minutes beginning at 1 p.m. on July 4 with the large cash prize being drawn at 9 p.m.
Also new the festival will be a Christian concert on July 3 featuring The Lee Roessler Band, who will be taking the stage at 7:30 p.m.
Other features at the festival are an angel raffle, a waffle stand, a cake wheel, live entertainment in the Beer Garden each day and bingo.
A Poker Run, which is hosted by Auglaize County Fire Chiefs, will begin at 1 p.m. with registration on July 4. Participants in the Poker Run will be sent off from the fairgrounds, and will make a stop at five fire stations in the county to get a card, and at the end, the motorcyclist with the best poker hand will be the winner.
Another attraction to the event is the tractor and truck pull at the Grandstand on July 3 beginning at 5 p.m., and the kiddy tractor pull on July 4 beginning at 4 p.m.
â€śThere are different age divisions,â€ť Wurst said, of the kiddie tractor pull. â€śWe get about 100 kids each year.â€ť
A new addition to kick off the festival will be the St. Joe Firecracker 5K run/walk, which will be held prior to the festival on Saturday, July 2. Registration begins at 7:45 a.m. and the 5K will start at 9 a.m. at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds.
On July 3, the festival will open at 1 p.m. with the food stands, and an all you can ride special for $15 per person until 4 p.m.
Beginning at 4 p.m., attendance drawings start, and at 5 p.m. bingo, games and the Beer Garden opens. At 8 p.m., DJ Bill Brading will play music in the Beer Garden, and concluding the evening will be the last attendance drawing of the day.
On July 4, the festival opens at 11 a.m. with the lunch stands opening and the Freedom Train beginning its route. Attendance drawings begin at noon, along with an all you can ride special for $15 per person until 4 p.m. At 5 p.m. the Spazmasters will perform in the Beer Garden and at 6 p.m. the games of chance will begin. The final attraction ending the festival will the Community Fireworks, which are to begin at 10:30 p.m.
For a full schedule of events for the St. Joe Fourth of July Festival, visit stjoewapak.org.
For additional information, contact the St. Joseph Parish Office at 419-738-2115.