The 116th annual street fair begins Thursday.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
COLUMBIANA -- Close a quarter-mile stretch of Main Street. Add amusement rides, antique and classic cars, firetrucks, marching bands, barbecued chicken, onion-smothered hamburgers and thousands of visitors and you have the Columbiana Street Fair.
The 116th annual event, sponsored by Benjamin Firestone American Legion Post 290, opens at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and there will be a parade at 6:30 p.m. The parade will feature bands and other marching units, floats, firetrucks, antique and classic cars and street rods.
Dave Reash, Legion spokesman, said anyone is welcome to participate in the parade, but participants must register at least one hour before the start of the parade.
The Legion will operate its Legion Eats trailer on the midway, featuring the group's onion-smothered, street fair hamburgers.
Members of the Grace United Church of Christ at 140 S. Main will offer chicken dinners each day.
Sue Moore of the church said the church usually sells about 2,500 dinners during the three days. She said members began preparing the meals Saturday by peeling and coring 16 bushels of apples for the applesauce.
Other preparations include baking pies, building the barbecue pit in the church parking lot, preparing 2,000 potatoes for baking, 20 gallons of dressing and 10 bushels of cabbage for the cole slaw, she said.
Along the street will be amusement rides, a variety of food vendors and a 260-foot exhibit tent filled with displays and merchandise from various merchants, clubs and civic organizations.
Reash said the event is a homecoming of sorts with many former residents returning to town for the weekend.
The street fair has long been a place to renew old friendships and make new ones, he said.
On Friday morning the amusement ride operators will make adjustments to their rides and run them a bit slower than normal to accommodate some of the county's physically and mentally challenged residents.
The Legion provides lunch for the group and Reash said he expects the largest turnout ever this year.
"We've done this several years and it's been great, but this time we finally got in touch with the right people," he said. "Everyone's excited about it. One place I called, they immediately said they'd bring 30 residents and eight workers."
The Columbiana and Fairfield Township Historical Society will have the log cabin on the square open for tours.
The Columbiana Rose Society will have its 42nd annual rose show from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, with the sale of roses at 9 p.m.
The street fair will be open 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from noon to midnight Saturday.