Judy Wells/Paulding County Progress
Judy Wells/Paulding County Progress

Progress Editor

PAULDING – The grand parade, fireworks and a variety of new events and returning favorites will make up John Paulding Days this Friday and Saturday, July 13-14.

As in previous years, downtown Paulding will host the annual festival on the north and east sides of the courthouse square. Paulding Chamber of Commerce and Friends of the Paulding Chamber are sponsors.

What’s new this year

Several new events appear on the schedule, including Shop the Square on Friday afternoon and evening and all day Saturday; a beer tent, where the main stage will be located; tours of the historic 1876 jail building; and games including bingo, a scavenger hunt and family games.

Returning events include a 5K and fun run/walk, food vendors, duck race and cruise-in and, of course, the parade and fireworks.

Friday schedule

Friday starts with the Paulding County Senior Center providing lunch in their tent on the courthouse lawn, starting at 11 a.m.

Starting at noon Friday, Shop the Square will feature three vacant buildings around the square filled with about 15 local vendors selling a wide variety of products and services. Browse unique jewelry, bags and totes, pottery, handmade baby items, local authors, crocheted accessories and tie-dye items, gifts, vintage clothing and more.

Coupon books and information can be found at the chamber tent and distributed at the parade.

“Junk food alley” will be serving from 4-10 p.m. There will be wings, deep fried everything, an ice cream truck, brats and more.

Downtown Paulding will host this annual festival on July 13-14 with the popular parade kicking things off on Friday night starting at 7 p.m. Line-up starts on Fairground Drive.

Local Korean War veterans will be honored as this year’s grand marshals. About seven to 10 veterans are scheduled to participate. During the parade, the veterans’ parade cars will stop while a biography is read for each individual.

Thousands of area residents will line the streets to enjoy more than 100 parade units, including floats, bands, marching units and vintage cars and tractors.

The parade route will start on South Williams Street, east on Wayne Street, north on Main Street, then around the south and west sides of the courthouse square, ending on West Jackson Street.

Shop the Square will close briefly for the parade, then reopen after. These vendors will reopen on Saturday.

After the parade, the rock and hip hop/dance cover band Brother Believe Me will be on the main stage, starting at 8 p.m.

Saturday Schedule

Saturday’s festivities will start with registration for the Revolutionary Color Run starting at 7:30 a.m. The 5K, fun run and walk start at 8:15 a.m. in the county parking lot on Perry and Main streets in Paulding.

Visit the chamber website to pre-register for the event.

This is the third annual Revolutionary Run, but the first time for a Color Run. A color power release will be held after the run. Prizes also will be awarded after the race.

The Paulding firefighters will host a pancake breakfast starting at 8 a.m. in the beer tent. They will be serving until around 11 a.m.

Need to walk off those pancakes? There’s two opportunities to do a little walking. Shop the Square starts at 10 a.m. and will continue throughout the day until 9 p.m.

Also at 10 a.m., tours of the old county jails will be available until 2 p.m. For a small admission fee, you can take a rare opportunity to see all the rooms and cellblock of the brick-and-stone building erected over 140 years ago. Admission goes toward preserving this landmark structure, which is rumored to be haunted.

“Junk food alley” and the beer tent both open at noon. Some food vendors will begin serving at 2 p.m. Food will be available until 11 p.m.

The beer tent features 4KD Crick beer brewed in Defiance.

There’s fun all afternoon, starting with bingo in the Dance2Fit building at the corner of Williams and Perry streets on the square. Enjoy bingo in air conditioned comfort from 1-3 p.m. with cash awards.

At 2 p.m., gather a group of up to five people and take part in the free Master Gardeners’ Scavenger Hunt starting on the courthouse lawn. Clues are within walking distance of the square. Be sure to bring a camera or cell phone to take photos. There’s prizes and refreshments afterward.

Family and kids’ games will be 2-7 p.m. on the courthouse lawn, sponsored by Paulding County Park District and Friends of the Paulding Park District. Have fun playing corn hole, Yard Yahtzee, disc golf and more games and challenges.

Kids will enjoy Touch-a-Truck, where they can explore big equipment such as a fire truck and tractor. The event starts at 4 p.m. on the east side of the square.

The Flat Rock Creek Duck Race begins at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, sponsored by Paulding VFW and Paulding Eagles as a fundraiser for Cub Scout Pack 317. The award for the first duck to cross the finish line will be a $500 prize.

Get your ducks now at either the Paulding Eagles or the Paulding VFW.

The cruise-in will be 6-8 p.m. in the county parking lot on the south side of the square, sponsored by Solid Ground. No registration is necessary. Exhibitors will receive a free magnet.

Starting at 6 p.m. the northwest Ohio country rock band Liberty Rose will perform on the main stage.

For the third year in a row, fireworks will end the festival. The fireworks will begin at 9:45 p.m. and will be shot off behind the library annex.

The fireworks “are completely funded by the community, through Paulding County Area Foundation and other sponsors,” said chamber director Mikayla Pieper. This spectacular display brings a lot of people to Paulding.

“People calling the chamber with inquiries refer to it as ‘your fireworks event’ instead of calling it ‘John Paulding Days,’” Pieper added. “Families don’t have to drive far to have nice fireworks. It brings people downtown and together.”

A full schedule of events and details about activities can be found in a special four-page section in today’s Progress.