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Published: Wednesday, 9/12/2007

City readies for Harrison Rally Day

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Perrysburg is gearing up for Harrison Rally Day, its big annual community festival, which will be held Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. downtown.

The festival, co-hosted by the Perrysburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the Perrysburg Area Arts Council, is a much-awaited event in northern Wood County, attracting thousands of visitors who throng Louisiana Avenue, which is closed to vehicles for the day from Front Street to Indiana Avenue.

Organizers tout Harrison Rally Day as a chance for local merchants and artists to show off their wares, all the while offering lots of family fun.

The event takes its name from William Henry Harrison, who held a political rally in Perrysburg during his campaign for president in 1840. That rally, held at Fort Meigs, is said to have attracted a crowd of 40,000.

One hundred and sixty-seven years later, the community festival also attracts big crowds, although perhaps not as big as the gathering for William Henry Harrison. Attendance this year is expected to be 10,000 to 15,000.

Sandy Latchem, executive director of the chamber of commerce, reports that her group has sold out its allotment of 110 booth spaces for vendors and merchants.

The booth-holders include restaurants and banks as well as service organizations such as the League of Women Voters and animal-welfare groups like Team Greyhound.

"It's a feel-good day for the community," Ms. Latchem said.

Added Robin Ballmer, who heads the arts council: "People are going to hear good music, they're going to be able to see fine art, and they'll eat good food."

Bands include the Wrecking Crew, which plays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Kentucky Chrome, onstage from 1 to 2:30 p.m., and Experiment 582, which performs from 3 to 4:30 p.m. They will all perform on the main stage, at

Louisiana and Second Street.

On the Commodore Stage, set up in the yard of the Commodore Building, Ben and the Barefoot Bells will perform from 11 a.m. to noon, CSS from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., Trumpets and Sirens from 1:30 to 2 p.m., Infinity from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m., and Cast Irony, the headliner, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Harrison Rally Day kicks off with a 10 a.m. parade that begins on Louisiana at Second Street, travels north and turns east on Front, then turns south on Elm.

Artists and artisans' work will include jewelry, glass, photography, sculpture, paintings, and ceramics.

The lawn of the Commodore Building will again feature a Heritage Village, with a miniature log cabin and pioneer re-enactors demonstrating how people lived in the area's early days.

A Rockin' at RiverPlace Parking Lot Party will run from

7 p.m. to midnight Saturday in the Shoppes at RiverPlace shopping center on State Rt. 25 at Eckel Junction Road. Admission is $5. A valid ID will be required.

Louisiana will be closed to traffic at 4 a.m. Saturday.

East and West Second streets also will be closed in the blocks closest to Louisiana.

The municipal parking lot at West Second and Burlingwood Drive will be reserved for people needing handicapped-accessible parking.

All other downtown city parking lots will be available.



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