Parade of the Hills kicks off Aug. 16

The schedule is jam-packed with events for children and adults alike.
A ferris wheel at sunset.
Photo provided by Parade of the Hills committee.

NELSONVILLE, Ohio — The Parade of the Hills will return to the Nelsonville Public Square for its 73rd year next week. The schedule is jam-packed Wednesday, Aug. 16, to Saturday, Aug. 19, with events for children and adults alike.

“It’s a really big thing for our community, because we’re just a little tiny small town, and we’re one of the only festivals that I can really think of that has so much free entertainment and free things for kids,” said longtime festival volunteer and trustee Taylor Lanham.

This year’s nightly musical acts will include an REO Speedwagon tribute on Wednesday, Logan-based country rock musician Julia Neville on Thursday, a Beatles tribute band Friday performing at Parade of the Hills for the first time, and on Saturday, Perry County-based Moxie Pitz, performing one of its last shows. The festival will feature additional musical acts at the Nelsonville Public Library stage.


Many daytime events will be familiar to festival attendees, such as the annual pie contest and auction on Thursday, the Ohio State Fiddlers Contest on Friday, the 5k Run for the Hills on Saturday, the Miss and Little Miss Parade of the Hills contests, and of course, the parades.

Lanham said her child is particularly excited to see the character costumes at four events throughout the week featuring the entertainment group Special Appearances By.

Visitors can enjoy all the usual food offerings, too. For 24 years, Lanham’s family has operated the festival’s main food tent, which this year will be very near the main stage. They serve the same 33 Sloppy Joes once offered by the old drive-in theater in Logan, Lanham said, with some festival attendees returning each year to enjoy the nostalgia of the secret recipe.

Other aspects of this year’s festival will be new for attendees. This year will feature the first baby and kids contest as well as a puppet show at the library. Following the show and throughout the week, kids will be able to build their own puppets at the library for a puppet parade on Saturday.

The festival will, as always, support the fire department’s food distribution program, said Parade of the Hills chair Linda Bullock.

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Bullock has been involved in organizing the festival since the ’90s and has attended the festival since childhood. She has seen much about the festival change over time. However, Bullock said the central emphasis on family and community remains the same.

“To me, it’s all about family,” Bullock said. “We try to make it as family-oriented as we can and do as much as we can with the kids.”

The festival also serves as an opportunity for families to reconnect, Bullock said, with class reunions taking place the same weekend and people coming into town from far and wide.

Attending the festival is free, though some events involve a paid registration. More information about this year’s festival is available on the Parade of the Hills website.

The festival is run by volunteers, and Bullock said the festival could use more helpers next year. The committee meets at 6 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Nelsonville Homes Community Room at 900 E. Canal St. 

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