Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Festival Notes: The Downtown streets will be closing at 6:00 on Tuesday (today). Most of East Center Street, and the cross streets, will close at 5:00 
Marion Festivalp.m. on Thursday for the parade. If you are coming Downtown after that time and don't wish to get caught in parade street closings & traffic, I suggest you come into the Downtown from the north or west. I've attached a Festival schedule of events (the only thing not on it is the Cornhole Tournament which takes place on Saturday ... if you have any further questions or need additional information, please go to
Marion MidwayThe Marion Popcorn Festival will be popping into Downtown Marion this week for the 32nd time. I’d like to invite everyone to come and enjoy the festivities. While you’re Downtown for the Marion Popcorn Festival, I challenge each and every one of you to stop into a business you’ve never been in before. There is a wide variety of things to choose from … lots of OSU items, stained glass, jewelry, coffee & tea, musical instruments, clothing, books, Christian items, art, kid’s clothes, dolls, bicycles, pocket knives, depression glass, antiques, and great restaurants (see below). Be sure to visit the Wyandot Popcorn Museum located in Heritage Hall, or stop into the Palace Theater’s box office to check out their upcoming season.

Local Restaurants open during Festival: While there will be plenty of great fried food at the Festival, these wonderful Downtown Restaurants will be open for your eating pleasure:
Baires = Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, 8:15 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Candy Shack & Cafe' = Wednesday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Thursday - Saturday, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. Infinity = Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, 11 - 2 & 5 - 9; Saturday, 5 - 10 p.m. Maury's on Main = Wednesday - Saturday, 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. The Warehouse = Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, 11 - 3 & 5 - 9; Saturday, 5 - 10 p.m.

Brief Festival History. If you are old enough to remember 1981, Marion was in the midst of a major economic downtown. Factories were closing, jobs were leaving, and you could hear people ‘joking,’ “The last one out of town, please turn off the lights.” The original Festival committee was made up of local businessmen, community leaders and the mayor. Their goal was to throw a festival that would be a positive for the Marion area, something that would boost the morale of the entire community. Then they took it one step further and decided to do something that every year would put the name of our community on the map by providing big name entertainment on a stage in Downtown Marion free of charge.

Wow! Think about that. They put the original Festival together in few short months – a process that now takes nearly a year – and set in motion a legacy that still benefits our community today. Now the second largest festival in the state and the largest popcorn festival in the world, I believe the original goals have been met in spades. Every year the entire city looks forward to seeing who’s coming to the main stage, who won the queen’s contest, what’s on the Showcase Stage or what food to eat. We often meet friends – and sometimes extended family – that we haven’t seen since the last Marion Popcorn Festival. And the Festival has definitely put Downtown Marion on the map. It’s been featured on three national networks and on radio stations, newspapers and magazines across the nation. We’ve had visitors from Scotland who came to Marion to not only see their favorite act, but to experience life in a typical American city. College roommates strewn across the country – with no ties to Marion – have met here during the Festival … and many of the entertainers themselves have walked the streets of our Downtown blogging positive words thereafter.
Remember ... where you eat, shop, and play matters ... please do it locally!

Karen Herr
Manager, Downtown Marion, Inc.
205 West Center Street, Suite 130
Marion, OH 43302

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