By JAYME DETWEILER Wednesday September 15, 2010 5:43 PM Download a PDF version of this article.
Not a little rain or even an Ohio State football game could keep people from attending the Old Hilliardfest Street Fair, which celebrated 25 years last weekend.
With a goal of having the highest attendance so far, Main Street was packed Saturday with Hilliard residents and other central Ohio visitors who came to town to check out the many old and new events the fest offered.
Live music Friday night and Saturday on three stages, a juried art fair, a street fair, a five mile run, dance groups, car show and food attracted the possible record numbers over the weekend.
Special for the 25th anniversary was The Sunflower Festival. This year there was a contest and at 12:30 p.m. the garden club awarded winners in various categories and age groups.
Christy Clark, the executive director of Destination Hilliard, said, "The sunflower has kind of taken hold here in Hilliard, so it was appropriate to add some color to the festival." The flowers were on display throughout the day on Saturday. "We couldn't believe how many people entered the contest, especially since it was our first year."
Another event special to this year was a headline band playing on Friday night. Usually a local band would play, but this year McGuffey Lane, a country rock group from Columbus, preformed.
At noon, Main Street was more packed than ever for the dedication of First Responders Park. The event attracted many who stayed well after the ceremony and enjoyed activities, food and socializing with their neighbors.
The committee which planned the fest hoped that the dedication would bring outsiders into the city.
"This year we are really reaching out and making it more of a regional draw, with the dedication we have people coming from all over," Clark said.
The festival has changed drastically since its inception. Twenty-five years ago when the fest started, attendees were primarily from Hilliard. Otie Blankenship decided that Hilliard needed a festival to draw residents to Old Hilliard to frequent the restaurants and businesses. The name he created was Old Hilliard Day and over the years, the name has changed several times along with the location, but the small-town feel has always been strong.
Hilliard resident Britni Boyer has been to the festival several years and loves the small-town experience: "I like seeing all of the familiar faces; it's nice to see all of the crowds coming in an out."
This year, forty artists selling their sculptures, decorations, pottery, jewelry and paintings lined Main Street until 6 p.m.
Even at OSU game time, there was a plan for fans to go to the fest and still watch the game. "We had some restaurants that set up big-screen TVs to broadcast the game," said Clark. "The rain didn't hit us until around 4:45 p.m.; we were happy it was later in the day. I couldn't believe how many people were there. The attendance was very good - we were all pleased."
Winners named in Sunflower festival
Event organizers said the first Old Hillardfest Sunflower Show was a big success.
There were 48 entries - 18 children 12 and under and 30 adults. The judges were Donna Timmons and Sandy Anderson, members of the Hilliard Area Garden Club. HAGC members Lori Wright and Steve Statler assisted with registration and performed the preliminary measuring of the sunflowers.
Brandon Taylor was the first to arrive at the registration table with a Mammoth Grey Stripe sunflower grown with seeds distributed to Hilliard elementary students last spring. The seeds were donated by Darby Creek Nursery & Landscaping.
The 2010 Sunflower class results 12 and under:
Tallest: 1. Veronica Sims 10 feet, 4 inches; 2. Brandon Taylor 9 feet, 5 inches; 3. Claire Buchholz 8 feet, 6 inchesSmallest (including head and stem): 1. Michelle Wright; 2. Veronica Sims; 3. Veronica SimsPrettiest: 1. Veronica Sims; 2. (tie) Michelle Wright and Veronica SimsMost unusual: 1. Veronica SimsBest arrangement: 1. Veronica SimsLargest head: 1. Veronica Sims 13 inches; 2. Claire Buchholz 12 inches; 3. (tie) Brandon Taylor and Veronica Sims.
Tallest : 1. Beth Buchholz 9 feet, 11 inchesSmallest (including head and stem): 1. Ed Cox; 2. John Maurer; 3. Cindy Gerhan; 4. Paul Burkitt; 5. Beverly Burkitt; 6. John MaurerPrettiest : 1. Cindy Gerhan; 2. John Maurer; 3. Addison Senter; 4. John Maurer; 5. Cindy Gerhan; 6. Jean McCartyMost unusual: 1. Jean McCarty; 2. John Maurer; 3. Cindy Gerhan; 4. (tie) Jean McCarty and Cindy GerhanBest arrangement: 1. Cindy Gerhan; 2. Jean McCartyLargest head: 1. Beth Buchholz 2. Paul Burkitt