Van Wert readies for 2014 Peony Festival & ArtRageous on Main
Saturday, May 31, 2014 12:02 AM
This 2013 photo shows the float carrying Queen Jubilee XXXVIII and her court during the Peony Parade. This year’s Peony Festival, featuring Queen Jubilee XXXIX Chelsea Hancock, will be held June 6-8. The 2014 Peony Parade will begin at 5 p.m. on June 7. (dhi MEDIA File Photo)
VAN WERT — Next weekend, Van Wert will come alive with the festivities and excitement of the 2014 Peony Festival. The annual June celebration that dates back to 1932 makes its return beginning Friday, June 6 at 10 a.m. as the Peony Festival Information Booth opens at the corner of Jefferson and Main streets. Also at 10:00, the Optimist Youth Art Show will be open to the public in Fountain Park. One hour later, the Peony Craft Show will begin and Lunch with the Peony Festival Queen, Chelsea Hancock, will be served at DeShia Country Gift Shop on U.S. 127 South. Downtown will heat up more at noon as the food vendors on S. Jefferson Street open for business and the artist exhibits that are a part of ArtRageous on Main begin at Fountain Park.
Other highlight events on Friday include the Peony Festival Car Show on W. Main Street and the first Friday Night Concert of the season, featuring the feel-good music of Papa Doo Run Run in Fountain Park.
Saturday’s schedule is jam-packed with the Kids’ Free Fishing Derby between 9-11 a.m., the YMCA Peony one-mile fun run for kids at 9:30 a.m. and the YMCA Peony Pace 5K Run and Walk beginning at 10 a.m. All these events are being held at Camp Clay.
Downtown will be plenty busy as well with Chalk the Walk, kid’s games and inflatables, ArtRageous on Main, the Architectural Tours, the Youth Art Show, Peony Pet Show, the Garden Tours, and the food vendors beginning the festival day at 10 a.m. downtown.
At 11:00, the Peony Festival Craft Show restarts in Fountain Park, then at 11:30, a group of medieval re-enactors will give a presentation at the park.
A dance performance by Stars by Erin will begin at the band shell at Fountain Park. Saturday afternoon from 1-5:00, the 53rd Annual Jubilee Flower Show will be held at the Wassenberg Art Center. The show will also be held Sunday from 1-5 p.m. The Wassenberg Art Center’s Artisan Birdhouse Silent Auction begins at 1 p.m. and runs through 5 p.m. This fundraising event will conclude Sunday from 1-5 p.m. The Peony Festival Garden Tours will also be held on Sunday from 12-3 p.m.
Queen Jubilee XXXIX Chelsea Hancock and her court, as well as the Flowers in Full Bloom, will be honored at the Peony Festival Queen’s Reception at Willow Bend Country Club beginning at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
The anticipated step-off of the traditional Peony Festival Grand Parade down Washington Street will occur at 5 p.m. After the parade, it’s time for a little 1950s-style honky tonk and rockabilly featuring Blair Carmen who will be playing at Fountain Park from 7-9 p.m. This concert is sponsored by the Peony Festival Committee.
Probably only a few residents still remember the fields of peonies grown in the area, perhaps a handful of people recall when the festival was simply Peony Day, and crowds of people ventured to Van Wert to view the flowers, but many, many people remember the traditions and fun of the Peony Festival and plan to be a part of the 2014 edition on June 6, 7, and 8.