The 66th annual Lions Club Fall Festival, in some ways, has been two years in the making.

One year after a complete rain out, organizers of the Zionsville Lions Clubs’ annual Fall Festival decided to reprise the 2018 festival theme, and bring back all the old festival favorites, along with some new activities for the 2019 event.

The Fall Festival, with a theme of “Be a Superhero 2: Return of the Lions” runs Friday through Sunday, Sept. 6-8. Highlights will include the VIP Carnival, the Fall Festival Parade, carnival rides, games, entertainment and food throughout the weekend.

Admission to the festival is free, with the exception of the Lions Lounge. Parking at Lion Park will be $8 per vehicle. Parking for the parade will be available at the park as well as the former Citgo lot on the corner of S. Main and E. Sycamore streets.

While about two dozen Lions Club members serve on the Fall Festival Committee, many more turn out to help cover about 300 shifts of 3 to 4 hours each as festival volunteers.

Lions Club Fall Festival Chairman Tim Reinhart, who has been on the festival committee for 10 years and served as president for 7, said the Lions also have to give credit to the Town Of Zionsville and Lions Park sponsors, who provide financial and other assistance to the festival, and to the town’s police and fire departments who are on hand throughout the weekend-long event.

VIP Carnival

While anyone can go to enjoy the carnival at Lions park Friday, a VIP event will be held simultaneously for Very Important People and their guests and families, and they will receive red carpet treatment for the evening.

Reinhart said the carnival is the first event of the year for those who participate in Best Buddies, and noted that families come from all over the state for the event each year, with more than 1,500 RSVPs already made.

VIPs will have opportunities to ride carnival rides free of charge, receive carnival cash, and dine on hot dogs provided by Lions Club members.

“It’s catered to them, and there are always great stories that come out it,” Reinhart said.

The private event runs from 5 to 8 p.m.

Fall Festival Parade

Reinhart said planners decided to stick close to the 2018 superhero parade theme again this year, so that business and other groups who created parade entries last year would be able to make use of their hard work in the 2019 event.

“A lot of people decorated floats or purchased costumes, and they will still be able to use them,” Reinhart said. “I think it’s fun to see what the community comes up with.”

After 21 years as the parade organizer, Lion George Tikijian has stepped aside, and Jill Reinhart and Michelle Shepherd have stepped into the role.

The parade will include about 90 commercial and non-profit entries.

Dr. Jim Haines will serve as the parade’s grand marshal. With vision being one of the Lions Club’s top efforts, honoring a local doctor of optometry seemed fitting, Reinhart said.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday. The route runs from Zionsville Community High School on Mulberry Street, down Ash Street to Main Street, ending at Pine Street.

Opening Ceremonies

The festival will celebrate official opening ceremonies at 12:25 p.m., Saturday, with the singing of The National Anthem by 2019 Miss Fall Festival Outstanding Teen Olivia Broadwater on the balcony of the Lions Club Clubhouse. Presentation of the colors will be by the Zionsville American Legion.

Silent Auction

A silent auction will be set up in the Lions Park shelter house from to to 6 p.m. Saturday. Visit Qtego.net/qlink/zlc or Text LIONS to 792-30 to register in advance.

American Dream Car Show

The American Dream Car Show will be set up around the gazebo from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The show will feature nearly 100 classic cars, with awards given beginning at 2:30 p.m.

Carnival and Bounce Houses

Poor Jack’s Carnival will be open from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Poor Jack’s wristband day will be Sunday, with all-day wrist bands selling for $15.

Bounce houses and other inflatables will be set up in the Kids’ Corner area from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Individual tickets are $2 each, with all-day wristbands available for $10 each day.

Festival Fare

Food vendors will provide a wide range of festival food including elephant ears, kettle corn, breaded tenderloin, pizza, BBQ pork, gyros and many sweet treats.

“There’s basically something for everyone,” Reinhart said.

Most vendors will accept cash only; an ATM will be located near the Zionsville Little League concession stand all weekend for festival-goers’ convenience.

Entertainment

Entertainment has been lined up for Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday’s entertainment in the entertainment tent will begin at 1 p.m. with the Zionsville Community High School Royalaires and Choralaires, followed by the Zionsville West Middle School orchestra at 1:45 p.m., the Zionsville Middle School orchestra at 2:30 p.m., and the Zionsville Community High School philharmonic orchestra at 3:15 p.m.

Later Saturday, a corn hole tournament at the Lions Lounge for those 21 or older will begin at 5 p.m., followed by live entertainment by the Impalas from 7 to 11 p.m.

On Sunday, a student/faculty concert featuring piano, guitar, drums and other instruments will be presented during a program entitied Make a Joyful Noise. The program will begin at 1 p.m.

Other events

Events set for Saturday in the Exposition Tent include:

Public Safety Zone Touch-a-Truck, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.;

Zionsville Fire Department Equipment Demonstration, 1 to 1:45 p.m.;

K-9 Demonstration, 2 to 2:45 p.m.;

Special Response Team Demonstration, 3 to 3:45 p.m., and

K-9 Obstacle Course Competition, 4 to 4:45 p.m.

Also Saturday, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. therer will be an Interactive Gym Performance south of the gazebo.

Events Sunday include Silly Safari live animal demonstrations showcasing a variety of reptiles, mammals, birds and bugs from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. and again from 3 to 3:45 p.m.

New This Year

Hershey’s will be onsite providing free s’mores samples all weekend, as part of its “Heartwarming the World Tour.” Also new at the festival will be a healthy-heart interactive display, sponsored by Ascension Health, in the commercial area on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s corn hole tournament is also new in 2019. Another new feature is the availability of a lactation station, which provides a private space for nursing mothers. The lactation station is located near the handicapped parking entrance entering the park from Elm Street.

Lions Club Membership Tent

While the Zionsville Lions Club is the largest in the state, Reinhart said the club is always hoping to welcome new members to bring in new ideas. Anyone interested in the club is encouraged to visit the tent to learn more.

Miss Fall Festival Outstanding Teen Pageant

The Miss Fall Festival Outstanding Teen Pageant, to select the 2020 outstanding teen, will be Saturday, Sept. 14, at Zionsville United Methodist Church, at 3 p.m.

Proceeds from the Fall Festival go toward the upkeep of Lions Park.

“With a 22-acre park, there’s always something in need of repair,” Reinhart said. “But we’re just excited and proud to have a park like we have.”

More information is available online at www.zionsvillelions.com or by liking the Zionsville Lions Facebook page.

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