Beavercreek’s Popcorn Festival returns for its 34th year

The city of Beavercreek welcomed thousands of festival-goers this weekend for the return of the 34th annual Popcorn Festival.

This year’s festival hosted more than 250 vendors and attendance is expected to top out at nearly 40,000, according to event volunteer Nancy Hadley.

The Popcorn Festival began in the 1980s and the idea stemmed from an event held at the Bellfair Country Store, Hadley said.

“(The owner) had this big watering trough and every year around this time, he would fill it with popcorn and would have bands come into the store and play,” she said. “It was his way of thanking his customers.”

Hadley said the festival continued to grow each year, prompting a change of venue to its current location on Dayton-Xenia Road.

The wife of former Beavercreek Mayor Scott Hadley, who passed away this year and was previously Head Kernel of the festival, Nancy Hadley said the organization of the festival is thanks to the close-knit group of volunteers who work tirelessly to keep the tradition alive.

“This festival has become a family affair for so many of us,” she said. “No matter who gets involved, it seems to end up that multiple family members join in.”

Along with popcorn vendors of all sorts, the festival attracts a variety of merchants offering an array of foods, drinks, clothing, art, and more.

Toni Webb, of Huber Heights, previously owned a screen printing and embroidery business before it closed as a result of COVID-19. Now, Webb said she sets up shop at festivals throughout the region to sell her handmade items, and also has a booth at Antiques Village in Dayton.

Webb said this year was her first time selling at the Popcorn Festival, though she has visited the fest previously. “It’s a big fest with a lot of people; it’s huge,” she said. “There’s such a big variety of things and lots of good food. If you can’t find something that you’re looking for, you’re not looking hard enough because there’s just so much.”

Webb is the wife of Huber Heights Councilman Don Webb. Together, the couple produces repurposed, or “up-cycled,” home goods for vending.

“The popcorn festival is a shining example of doing something right for the community,” Don said. “There are a lot of vendors and people out here having a great time. It’s a good family event, and we enjoy coming out and getting to talk to people all day.”

About the Author