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Perrysburg's Harrison Rally Day festivities bring diverse group to Louisana Avenue

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The Blade/ Matt Thompson
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Harrison Rally Day came in full force today with a parade gliding down Louisiana Avenue between a diverse group of different local and national artists, businesses, churches, and political candidates as Perrysburg residents came out to support their community. 

Parade highlights included a dog obediently seated on a car's hood to promote a dog-training business, and a race between a candidate's mini-bike rider and an insurance company's go-cart.

The highlights for Perrysburg resident Mirian Huff is always seeing her children in the parade.

"I usually have someone in the family in the parade," she said. "I have a freshman twirler in the parade this year. I have four kids so they've walked for Cub Scouts, band, twirling, and orchestra. I always look forward to it. [My children] think it's fun and I think it supports the community."

But the parade wasn't the only event attracting crowds. About 70 people lined up at Way Public Library's door for the 8:45 a.m. start of its used-book sale.

And over on Elm Street, the First Presbyterian Church of Perrysburg held its annual barbecue, an event that started 35 years ago on Harrison Rally Day, said Jack Simmons, the church's clerk of sessions.

"At the time, we had to drive to Bucyrus to buy our brats and bring them here," he said. "The different kind of brats is our claim to fame. It is a fun event that a lot of people come to, and we have a good location in the shade."

The church restarted its barbecue about five years ago after a 10-year hiatus, Mr. Simmons said. Its featured sausage is the Bahama Mama that it gets from the German Village in Columbus. All proceeds go to church missions.

Candidates for Perrsyburg City Council and mayor, Wood County commissioner, school board, judge, and township trustee all turned out for the event. 

"It is a huge day for candidates and a good opportunity to meet people," said Tom Mackin, who is running for Perrysburg Municipal Court judge. "Everyone can see what's good in Perrysburg. We had a lot of fun."

City council incumbent Sara Weisenburger said Harrison Rally Day unofficially starts the local campaign season.

While the 95 artists' booths included artisans from as far away as Alabama, it was a home game for Perrysburg's Molly Strader, who takes her hand-made jewelry all over the Midwest and East Coast to shows. 

"This is always fun. I see my elementary teachers that I haven't seen in a long time," she said. "It is the biggest crowd Perrysburg gets for an art event. Plus I get a great spot to watch the parade."

From 7 p.m. until midnight tonight, after Harrison Rally Day concludes, Rock the Docks will be held on the downtown riverfront, with Velvet Jones as the featured live performer. The event next to the Perrysburg Boat Club and the Maumee River docks is staged by Downtown Perrysburg, Inc. Admission is $5 and drink tickets cost $1 each.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.
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