The annual Cold Creek Festival started at 4 p.m. today with track and field races at Margaretta High School.
The event should set the pace for about 40 other activities over the three-day campaign, including parades, beauty contests and a softball tournament.
Check back to sanduskyregister.com and funcoast.com for photos from this weekend's festival
“We have a great small town festival to bring everyone together,” festival president Paul Schoenegge said. “We’re offering a lot of local flavor this year.” Organizers will stuff the majority of the offerings — 11 food stands and a stage — into about three blocks.
“It’s a small town, so we’ve had to be careful with our space,” Schoenegge said. High hopes and the full schedule were welcome this year, given the festival’s cancellation in 2011 because of financial issues. It was the first time Castalia hadn’t hosted the tradition in more than 20 years.
Schoenegge said the closing that year was necessary to avoid massive debt. “We were losing money in previous years, which led to us canceling the festival two years ago,” he said. Careful financial planning and an increase in sponsors allowed for a successful festival last year, with similar hopes for this weekend’s events. “We didn’t go into the red last year,” Schoenegge said. “We’re trying to be smart with our money.”
It was important this year’s organizers were financially savvy, as it takes about $20,000 to fund the entire weekend, festival treasurer Cindy Crawford said. Part of that price tag will be shouldered by more than 50 sponsors, in addition to festival profits. The additional support brought bigger and better events, including a Back to the Wild presentation, a Flags of Honor ceremony, a 5K run, and live music from Rumours, Dave James Alien Blues Project, and The Sewing Circle.
There are also several staple events, such as Helmets For Kids, which sells child bicycle helmets for $2. The event also includes a presentation on helmet safety.
The festival typically targets younger audiences with educational events, although organizers don’t shy away from plenty of entertainment, such as the ever-popular Bed Race. The race requires a person to sit on a wheeled mattress while a team of four pushes the bed through an obstacle course, overcoming various challenges: putting on silly clothes, finding hidden items and such. The race has been a mainstay at the festival for decades, and it’s usually a crowd favorite, Schoenegge said. “It’s definitely a highlight for the weekend,” he said. “It helps bring people together, which is the main point of our festival.”
One of the final events of the weekend will be the Grand Parade through Castalia, ending downtown. The parade is well-known, but those who watch from their front lawns are missing out on the full experience. “I used to watch it from my yard every year,” Schoenegge said. “Recently, I went downtown to see it and it was a different point of view. It was fantastic.” The parade erupts into a firestorm of music and entertainment for its finale in the heart of the festival. This, along with dozens of other events, has given visitors a chance to embrace the area, Schoenegge said.
“When you visit, you’ll see people everywhere doing everything,” Schoenegge said. “There’s something here for every age group.”
Want to go?
WHAT: Cold Creek Festival
WHERE: Downtown Castalia, corner of Ohio 101 and North Washington Street
WHEN: Friday through Sunday