Heritage Festival, as usual, offers new events, music and old faves

Some new events and many old favorites are coming to Oil City’s Oil Heritage Festival next week.

New to the festival this year is the Touch the Truck event on from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, July 25, on the Central Avenue Plaza. The event is hosted by the Oil City Library and the Main Street program.

Big-time trucks from the city’s public works department, fire department and police department, as well as vehicles from Community Ambulance Service, Cranberry Bus Co., Gahr Excavating and King’s Landscaping, will be on display. Kids of all ages are welcome to come and explore the trucks.

Also on July 25, the Oil City Library will hold an attic sale from 4 to 6 p.m. in a second-floor theater in the library that has been closed to the public and used for storage since the 1950s.

The library will sell a variety of items that have been found in the attic and that sale organizers believe will be of interest to the public.

Concerts feature new, old

Meanwhile, two new bands have been lined up for festival entertainment, and two returning favorites will also perform.

The Sweet Judys, a Pittsburgh-based band that pays tribute to the music of Crosby, Stills and Nash, will play from 5 to 7 p.m. in Justus park on Friday, July 26.

Chuck Justice and The Junkyard Lawyers, a local band that plays 1970s to 90s hard rock and heavy metal, will follow the Sweet Judys from 7:30 to 10 p.m. in Justus Park on July 26.

Echo Valley will return this year to play a concert from 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday, July 25, in the Central Avenue Plaza.

And festival mainstays Lawyers, Guns and Money will entertain from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 27, in Justus Park. That performance will be followed by a big fireworks display.

There is a $1 gate fee for the concerts in Justus Park.

New this year is a beer garden in a designated area of Justus Park during the concerts. Adults will be able to purchase micro-brew beer from Trails to Ales Brewery of Franklin.

Craft show days changed

One change to the festival this year is that the Artisan and Fine Craft show will be held Saturday, July 27, on Seneca Street and in Town Square, and on Sunday, July 28, in Town Square. The show won’t be held on Friday this year.

“We have more craft vendors than we have had in several years,” Susan Williams, executive director of the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce, said.

Williams also noted there will be changes in traffic patterns on and around Seneca Street during the arts and crafts show and that the new parking lot where the old parking garage used to be will be available for parking.

The Oil City Firefighters 5K Run/Walk will be held Saturday, July 27, beginning at 9 a.m. Pre-registration is $20 and registration the day of the event is $25.

Proceeds from the race go to the Oil City firefighters.

Williams said registration is still open for the raft race that will take place this Sunday, July 21, at Henrys Bend. She said anyone interested in participating needs to register soon.

Williams also said registration is still open for the annual parade on Saturday, July 27. She stressed that registration for the parade needs to be done quickly as well.

The parade is a rain or shine event.

Registration for either of these events can be done by calling the Chamber.

Many old favorites back

More favorites on tap include the Friends of the Library book sale and St. Stephen Church festival throughout the festival; the YWCA spaghetti dinner, children’s fun fair, children’s parade, FLEX ice cream social and queen crowning on Thursday, July 25; the children’s pool party and Boy Scouts pork chop dinner on Friday, July 26; the Oil City Ikes fishing derby and Venango Youth for Christ pancake breakfast on Saturday, July 27; and the car and motorcycle cruise-in on Sunday, July 28.

In addition to the raft race, other pre-festival events coming up before the official festival opening on July 25 include the FLEX bike ‘n brew, the River Valley Disc Society disc golf tournament and the bike rodeo, all on Saturday; a free community picnic sponsored by Oil City churches on Sunday; and a children’s dinosaur camp Monday and Tuesday.

The reception and grand opening for the annual art show is Wednesday, July 24, and the Tiny Tot contest and festival basket raffle will be ongoing during the week.

Christ Episcopal Church will hold a prayer service at noon and a gospel blues concert Sunday, July 28.