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Skid Row, Candlebox headline Stranahan festival

Festival season kicks off with music, carnival rides and more

  • Weekender0518

    The Ohio SpringFest runs to­day through Sun­day on the grounds of the Strana­han Theater, 4645 Heat­h­er­downs Blvd.

  • Skidrow

    The band Skid Row will perform at SpringFest.

    Gene Ambo

  • 13220705-599719073527688-2753396571336728066-o-jpg

When Ohio SpringFest de­buted last year on the grounds of the Strana­han Theater, fes­ti­val-go­ers were greeted with cold weather, high winds, and sleet. Not ex­actly ideal con­di­tions for what or­ga­niz­ers en­vi­sioned as the kick­off to the sum­mer fes­ti­val sea­son.

“There lit­er­ally was a wind chill,” Steve Hy­man, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Strana­han, ac­knowl­edged.

But the blus­tery con­di­tions didn’t stop more than 12,000 at­tend­ees from en­joy­ing a fam­ily friendly lineup of mu­sic, car­ni­val rides, and more — a point Hy­man con­sid­ers “grat­i­fy­ing” in light of the weather. That turn­out, as well as the pos­i­tive re­views that made their way back to or­ga­niz­ers, are part of what pushed SpringFest into its sec­ond year.


What: Ohio SpringFest

When: 4-10 p.m. today, 4-11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. Sunday

Where: Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heather downs Blvd.

Admission: Free today; $3 before 6 p.m. or $5 after 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; $3 on Sunday. Children 5 years and younger free each day. Additional cost for car nival rides and some individual attractions. Free on site parking.

Information: ohio-spring-fest

The fes­ti­val runs to­day through Sun­day on the grounds of the Strana­han Theater, 4645 Heat­h­er­downs Blvd.

Or­ga­nized by the Strana­han in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Fun­fest Events, Ohio SpringFest is the first of nu­mer­ous sum­mer fes­ti­vals, fairs, fund-rais­ers, and one-day gath­er­ings sched­uled to take place in north­west Ohio in the months ahead. Hy­man said or­ga­niz­ers al­ways en­vi­sioned it as an an­nual event that would kick off the sum­mer en­ter­tain­ment sea­son.

“That’s the rea­son we’re do­ing it this early, which peo­ple think is sui­cidal,” he said. “People are anx­ious to get out­doors and do some­thing.”

With an amped up ros­ter of lo­cal and na­tional mu­sic acts, a set of dates just a few days later in the month, and or­ga­niz­ers who have been mon­i­tor­ing weather re­ports re­li­giously, Hy­man said he’s hop­ing to see this year’s SpringFest turn out an even big­ger crowd. He’s hop­ing to “dou­ble, if not tri­ple,” last year’s at­ten­dance.

The fes­ti­val is re­pris­ing sev­eral pop­u­lar fea­tures this year. Fes­ti­val-go­ers can again en­joy more than 30 car­ni­val rides pro­vided by Wade Shows, meet four-legged friends at a pet­ting zoo, take a ride on a mon­ster truck, and check out sev­eral BMX shows. New this year are pig races, he­li­cop­ter rides by Para­tus Air, and two dem­o­li­tion demon­stra­tions that will pit a mon­ster truck against a lowly se­dan.

SpringFest is also bring­ing in two head­lin­ing acts: New Jer­sey heavy metal band Skid Row will play on Fri­day. Can­dle­box, a Se­at­tle rock band, will head­line on Satur­day.

“We re­ally stepped up in terms of tal­ent for the con­cert,” Hy­man said.

(Last year SpringFest fea­tured War Ma­chine, a Detroit-based KISS trib­ute band, and Sponge, an al­ter­na­tive rock band also from Detroit.)

Lo­cal bands are set to play orig­i­nal and cover songs lead­ing up to the eve­ning per­for­mances. Sarah Beavers, sales man­ager for the Strana­han, said north­west Ohio bands are im­por­tant to main­tain a “lo­cal feel.”

Among those lo­cal bands are Flat­line Re­vival, Rat­nip, and Ar­tic Clam op­e­n­ing for Skid Row on Fri­day, and Chris Salyer & the Shoot­ers, a Bowl­ing Green-based coun­try band, Flat Tire Amu­lance, an al­ter­na­tive rock band out of De­fi­ance, and Fu5ion open­ing for Can­dle­box on Satur­day.

“We are su­per-ex­cited for this year,” said Chris Salyer, who said he en­joyed bring­ing his fam­ily to the fes­ti­val last year.

Salyer, as well as Skip Skeens, front­man for Flat Tire Am­bu­lance, said open­ing for Can­dle­box is a par­tic­u­lar treat. Both men said they are long-time fans.

“As soon as I found we were play­ing [with Can­dle­box], I was happy as a lit­tle school­girl,” said Skeens, who counts the band among his fa­vor­ites. “I was so ex­cited.”

SpringFest also comes as an op­por­tu­nity for the Strana­han to take ad­van­tage of its more-than-20-acre grounds — some­thing Hy­man said the the­ater hadn’t done since the ’90s. SpringFest stretches over roughly four acres of park­ing lot. In line with the fes­ti­val’s suc­cess so far, Hy­man said the the­ater is look­ing into other ways to le­ver­age its grounds as an out­door venue for fes­ti­vals or con­certs.

“To me, it’s just ob­vi­ous when you re­al­ize we have 20-acres and most of it is park­ing and grass area,” Hy­man said.

To­day, SpringFest guests can en­joy a dis­counted all-day ride pass for $11. All-day passes are $22 the rest of the week­end. Chil­dren 17 or younger must be ac­com­pa­nied by an adult.

Contact Nicki Gorny at: or 419-724-6133.

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