Summer kicks into high gear with the First Town Days Festival

Summer kicks into high gear with the First Town Days Festival

Visitors can start their day early on Family Day on July 4 as selected midway food vendors will open at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast and coffee. Family Day events will start at 8 a.m. and continue throughout the day.


First Town Days will start a little earlier this year.

The Dominic Greco Band will kick off the festival with a concert on Wednesday, July 3 at 7 p.m. at the Tuscora Park Amphitheater. The concert is a win-win for festival organizers and the band members who have always wanted to play during the festival. A kickoff performance is the only option as many of the people who staff the amphitheater concerts also work the festival.

Visitors can start their day early on Family Day on July 4 as selected midway food vendors will open at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast and coffee. Family Day events will start at 8 a.m. and continue throughout the day.

Another highlight will be the focus on area emergency responders. The four parade grand marshals are Tuscarawas County Sheriff Orvis Campbell; Bob Smith of Smith Ambulance Service, who also is a big First Town Days Festival supporter; New Philadelphia Police Chief Michael Goodwin; and New Philadelphia Fire Chief Jim Parrish. The four men will be featured on the 2019 First Town Days plate, and all area first responders serving the New Philadelphia area are listed in the festival program.

Joe Croft, who is serving in his first year as president of the First Town Days Festival committee, and his wife, Mindy, called the honors for emergency responders “well-deserved and long overdue.” The emergency responders will be recognized at 6 p.m. at opening ceremonies on July 4 at the Al Maloney Stage.

“We would like to have a lot of people here for that,” Joe Croft said.

This year’s entertainment lineup includes a country music artist, Adam Calvert, on Friday from 8-10 p.m. Calvert is an avid singer-songwriter who plays the guitar, piano and violin. He plays high-energy new country, classic rock and country songs, and his own original material. Other entertainment scheduled during the festival is Ed Kilpatrick, Pitchforks and Halos, Mike Wikoff, LaFlavour, and Jerome James.

The festival committee will look at new events and small changes, but their goal is to keep the festival a family event. “First Town Days is truly a small town, home town Fourth of July festival. We have traditions, and we want to keep them,” Croft said.

There are several noticeable changes at this year’s festival. The pie-eating contest has been replaced with two doughnut-eating contests. The competition for the public will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, followed by a safety forces competition and a leg contest from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Marc Davis of New Philadelphia will serve as host for the talent show on Sunday, July 7, stepping in for longtime talent show coordinator Scott Miller, who left the committee after last year’s festival. Davis also hosts the Tusky Days Festival talent show. The show has a new time and will begin at 1 p.m. with rehearsals from noon to 12:45 p.m. To participate, applications must be turned into the park office by Saturday, July 6 at noon.

A kiddie tractor pull will be added to the festival for the first time on Saturday, beginning at noon. Registration for the event will begin at 11 a.m.

Sam Hitchcock, former festival president, will organize the grand parade on Friday but will retire from all official festival duties after this year.

“The goal is to get new people involved in the committee and continue to enlist the support of the community,” Croft said. “We’re all volunteers; nobody gets paid. We do it because we love the community, and we love this park.”

Anyone interested in joining the festival committee should call Croft at 330-432-1545. A new festival website was produced and can be found at for more information.

On Friday, June 28 at 7 p.m., the Queen’s Scholarship Pageant will be held at the Welty Middle School auditorium. Contestants for the 2019 title are Chloe Martin of Tuscarawas, Phylicia Christmas and Alexandra Alberts of New Philadelphia, Madalynn Butler of Dennison, Samantha Greer and Aleesia Monteleone of Dover, and Justine Hershberger of Sugarcreek. The winner will be crowned by 2018 festival queen Caitlin Cole. The first attendant for last year’s festival was Jaide Cox.

The events for the festival are as follows:

Wednesday, July 3: Dominic Greco Band at the amphitheater from 7-9 p.m.

Thursday, July 4, Family Day: Select vendors open for breakfast and coffee at 7:30 a.m.; OSU Buckeye Experience Exhibit from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (practice field); fishing derby at 8 a.m. with 7:30 a.m. registration; frog jumping at 9:30 a.m. with 9 a.m. registration; turtle races at 10:30 a.m. with 10 a.m. registration; parent/child sack races at 11:30 a.m. with 11 a.m. registration; midway and craft vendors open at noon; big wheel races at 1:30 p.m. with 1 p.m. registration at the Al Maloney Midway Stage; parent/child hoop shoot at 3 p.m. with 2:30 p.m. registration; Safety Forces Touch-A-Truck from 4-6 p.m.; Eddie Kilpatrick – Ed’s Acoustic Thingy from 5-6 p.m.; opening ceremonies, first responders recognition and Al Maloney Scholarship Awards at 6 p.m.; Souvenir Plate Auction at 6:30 p.m.; and Pitchforks and Halos from 7-9 p.m.

Friday, July 5, Senior Day: Mike Wikoff Wacky Country on the Al Maloney Midway Stage from 2-3:30 p.m., senior displays and craft activities from 2-5 p.m., Queen’s Luncheon at 2 p.m. with 1 p.m. registration, senior’s bingo from 3-5 p.m., midway and craft vendors open at 4 p.m., FTD queen’s and visiting royalty speeches at amphitheater at 4:30 p.m., Mike Wikoff Wacky Country from 4:30-6 p.m., bocce tournament from 6-10 p.m. with registration from 4-6 p.m., the grand parade at 6:30 p.m., and Adam Calvert from 8-10 p.m.

Saturday, July 6: City vs. County and New Philadelphia vs. Dover games at 9 a.m., 5k run at 9 a.m., junior superstars competitions at 10 a.m., baby contest at 10:30 a.m. at amphitheater, midway and craft vendors open at 11 a.m., kiddie tractor pull registration at 11 a.m., peddle tractor pull from noon to 2:30 p.m., junior superstars awards ceremony at 2 p.m. at amphitheater, men’s leg contest at 3 p.m., doughnut-eating contest at 4 p.m., safety forces competition and doughnuts and legs contest from 4:30-6:30 p.m., LaFlavour from 8-11 p.m., and fireworks at 10 p.m.

Sunday, July 7: First Christian church service at 10 a.m. at amphitheater, midway and craft vendors open at noon, wiffleball tournament from noon to 3 p.m., talent show practice from noon to 12:45 p.m., amateur talent show at 1 p.m. (preregistration at park office by noon Saturday, July 6 required), classic car show from 3-5:30 p.m., Jerome James gospel concert from 6-8 p.m., and midway and festival closes at 8 p.m.

Loading next article...

End of content

No more pages to load