XENIA — The downtown Xenia area will be Festival Central Friday, July 7, as the city celebrates Independence Day with a pair of popular events.
First Fridays takes place 5-9 p.m., in the middle of town featuring food, vendors, and entertainment, while the third Kevin Sonnycalb Memorial Fireworks Festival runs 4-11 p.m. a few blocks away at Shawnee Park.
Live music from The Hathaways on the courthouse lawn will highlight the entertainment, along with the classic car cruise-in, Chase and Marshall from Paw Patrol, juggler Evan Smith, and two performances by the Egyptian Breeze belly dances 7 and 8 p.m. New this year is an aviary enclosure with hundreds of parakeets, and free pony rides, courtesy of Jungle Island Zoo. In addition, the Farm Animal Petting Zoo will be on West Second Street.
Several food options will be available at the Food & Entertainment Court, along with other downtown restaurants.
The fireworks festival, named in honor of long-time Rotarian, businessman and civic leader Kevin Sonnycalb, kicks off with the chalk art contest and fishing derby 4-7 p.m. The bounce zone is open 4-8:30 p.m., while free face painting will be offered 4-8 p.m. The popular bike parade begins 6 p.m. and will be followed by the Mike Hemmelgarn puppet and magic show 6:45 p.m. Blue Moon Soup entertains 8-10 p.m., with fireworks set to begin 10 p.m.
The winner of the Space Invaders-themed bike parade will receive $100 of the $1,125 being offered. Two will receive $75, four will receive $50, 15 will receive $20, and 75 will receive $5.
The fishing derby has $1,000 in prizes split up by age groups. Adult age groups are 18-25, 25-40, and 40 and up. First place receives $75, while second place receives $50. The kids age groups are 6 and under, 7-12, and 13-17. First place in 6 and under receives $40, second receives $30, and third through 10th receives $10. First place in the 7-12 age group receives $50, followed by $40 for second, and $20 for third through sixth. The winner of the 13-17 age group receives $60, second receives $45, and third through sixth $35.
Chalk art entrants can also win prizes. Age groups are 7 and under, 8-15, 16-22, and 23 and over. The winners of the 7 and under and 8-15 will receive $25, followed by two second-place awards of $10 and four honorable mentions of $5 each. The winner of the 16-22 age group receives $50, three runners-up receive $30 and three honorable mentions receive $10. Three placers receive money in the 23 and over group, $50 for first, $30 for second, and $20 for third.
Major sponsors are the Sonnycalb Family, Greene Memorial Hospital, and Xenia Rotary. Sponsors of the activities to be held at Shawnee Park include the John E. and Betty Jo Meyers Family Foundation, Stephan Family, HB Electric and Construction, Dodds Monuments, Reichley Insurance, Greene County Board of Developmental Disabilities/Four Oaks, Montgomery Insurance and Investments, Kennedy Development Group, Edward Jones, Anderson-Williamson Insurance, MacIlvaine Realtors, WBZI, and the Xenia YMCA.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.