Tens of thousands turn out for 50th Americana Festival in Centerville

Tens of thousands of Americana Festival attendees spent time along Ohio 48 in Centerville Monday, the 50th anniversary of the event. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

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Tens of thousands of Americana Festival attendees spent time along Ohio 48 in Centerville Monday, the 50th anniversary of the event. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

CENTERVILLE — The golden anniversary of the Centerville-Washington Twp. Americana Festival was covered by a sun-drenched sky, and that was just fine with John Michael.

The 25-year Centerville resident and his wife, Lisha, were among tens of thousands enjoying 50th festival on Ohio 48 and Franklin Street on Monday because it “it celebrates Independence Day and our liberties.

“It’s just exciting and families are here,” he added. “We just enjoy being here and it’s a beautiful day – absolutely.”

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Scouts in the Americana Festival parade carried a large American flag Monday morning along the route, which this year included a turn south on Ohio 48. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Scouts in the Americana Festival parade carried a large American flag Monday morning along the route, which this year included a turn south on Ohio 48. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
Scouts in the Americana Festival parade carried a large American flag Monday morning along the route, which this year included a turn south on Ohio 48. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Eight-year-old Lillie Critchfield joined her parents and her brother, Jake, because she enjoys “hanging out with my family.”

Jake said the parade was among his favorite attractions.

This year’s version — headed by grand marshal Tom Henderson, who is retiring as Centerville schools superintendent on Aug. 1 — had a different route. While still starting at Centerville High School, it turned south on Ohio 48, or Main Street, instead of crossing it.

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The Americana Festival parade included dozens of entries Monday morning. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

The Americana Festival parade included dozens of entries Monday morning. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
The Americana Festival parade included dozens of entries Monday morning. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

More than 150 entries were part of the processional, the largest ever, said festival spokesman Dave Paprocki. It was also a record year for auto show and 5K entries, with run participants estimated in the 800-range, he said.

The parade route change allowed for more room for vendors along West Franklin, one of the key areas for restaurants in the city’s Uptown revitalization.

Longtime Centerville resident and festivalgoer Tom Karth was in search of a particular pork favorite.

“I like sausage sandwiches. But they’re difficult to come by,” he said. “They just don’t seem to have sausage sandwich booths anymore. But that’s what I like.”

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More live entertainment was available Monday, with multiple stages and venues.

Beer was also sold for the first time this year in certain spots, allowing Americana organizers and high school groups more fundraising efforts, Paprocki said.

The changes, based on early feedback, were a plus, he said.

“The parade route change and the expansion on Franklin was really a great move and allowed for people to get in and out of the parade a lot easier,” Paprocki added.

Comments about spreading the festival’s boundaries also were favorable.

“So, we couldn’t be happier,” he said. “And we’re truly thrilled with the turnout as well.”

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