By Mark Ambrogi
The Zionsville Fall Festival has been on the upswing for the past three years.
Tim Reinhart, the Fall Festival chairman, said the Zionsville Lions Club-sponsored weekend is as strong in the last three years as any period in the past decade.
“We estimate between 20,000 to 25,000 attend the parade or come into the park at some point over the weekend,” Reinhart said. “Because we don’t charge, we don’t have an exact count. The one way we do chart it is through the revenue from food sales and the carnival. The carnival has grown the last three years. We’ve broken records at the carnival each of the last three years, whether it was a single-day record or a record for the entire weekend.”
This year’s theme is the Wild, Wild West and will be reflected in the parade floats and costumes. The three-day Fall Festival will be held Sept. 11, 12 and 13 at Lions Park. This is 62nd year the Lions Club has hosted the festival.
It begins Sept. 11 with the VIP carnival for those with special needs and their families from 5 to 8 p.m. The carnival is open to all from 6 to 11 p.m. that day.
Reinhart said they have made improvements in center areas.
“One of the popular areas has been the Pet Pavilion area the last several years,” Reinhart said. “We’ve created a new exposition that will have pet vendors, pet acts like Silly Safari and Animalia will come and bring some of their animals over the weekend.”
There will be a Safety Zone with representatives from Zionsville Fire Department, Zionsville Police Department and Boone County Sheriff’s Department. Guests can learn about CPR, car seat safety and police dogs.
“Those are all going to be located north of the gazebo so it’s in a high-profile part in the middle of the park,” Reinhart said. “It was very popular last year, so we’re adjusting space to accommodate those crowds.”
Reinhart said one change is that the Miss Fall Festival Outstanding Teen contest, normally a Fall Festival tradition, has been moved to 3 p.m. Sept. 20 in the community room at Town Hall.
“We did that to give more Lions a chance to see the event,” Reinhart said. “We moved it inside last year because trying to do a beauty pageant outdoors when it’s hot is not easy to do. The accommodations are much better.”
The parade begins at 10:15 a.m. on Sept. 12 with more than 100 parade entries.
Another attraction is the Lions Lounge for those 21 and older which opens at 5 p.m. on Sept. 12 with a cover charge of $5. The Impalas will perform from 7 to 11 p.m.
“A few years ago we thought how could we get adults involved while their kids are messing around in the carnival area,” Reinhart said of starting the lounge.
The Lions Club, which is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, has 140 members. The biggest money maker is the silent auction from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sept. 12. The auction has already begun online at qtego.net/qlink/zlc.php.
“The money we generate from that will go to upgrading our park-wide P.A. system, which is very badly needed,” Reinhart said. “Whatever else will go towards continued improvements, whether it’s to light the pathway or other maintenance. It’s almost $100,000 a year for us and the Little League to operate and maintain that park. So there is a lot of fundraising that needs to be done.”
Read more about the Zionsville Fall Festival here.