- 1 of 12 Photos | View More Photos
Downtown Defiance will be hopping this summer.
From chocolate to ribs, there’s plenty for everyone. Musical entertainment will also be held throughout the summer with classical, jazz and popular music represented.
Those wanting to indulge themselves in April can head to the Chocolate Walk from 4-7 p.m. April 11 in the downtown area. Tickets for the event are $5 and individuals can visit participating merchants and sample “decadent” chocolates. There will also be restaurant specials that night.
“We have 20 different businesses that will be participating,” said Cindy Mack, executive director for the Downtown Development and Visitors Bureau (DDVB). The DDVB organizes many of the events in downtown Defiance. “You have to have a ticket to participate in the walk. We want it to be a night where adults can get out and enjoy themselves.”
Music will also be in the April air.
The Northwesternaries 68th annual Barbershop Show will be held at 2 and 7:30 p.m. April 6 at the Defiance Community Auditorium. Then the Defiance College Community Band will have its spring concert at 7:30 p.m. April 23. Meanwhile, the DC Black Swamp Strings’ spring concert will be at 7 p.m. April 27 at the Stroede Center for the Arts on Wayne Street.
For children, there is a free puppetry performance by Kevin Kanneraad at the Stroede Center for the Arts at 7 p.m. April 26. The performance is part of the General Motors Young Audience Series at the Stroede Center.
April is just the beginning of the events downtown.
On May 5 at 3 p.m. the Defiance City Schools annual Sousa concert takes place at Defiance Community Auditorium.
The week after the concert, on May 11, one of the biggest events in the spring —the annual Lilac Festival — will be held.
This celebration of the city’s official flower includes one of the communities’ largest arts and craft fairs.
“We’re going to attempt to enhance the farmers’ market area at the Lilac Festival,” Mack said. “We will bring them downtown for other events throughout the year as well.”
Free lilacs will be given out to the first 500 attendees. There will also be a variety of events including a 5K race, live music, children’s activities and Power of Purple parade. The event is sponsored by the State Bank and Trust Co.
Musicians Garcia and Scott will perform in the morning, while Andrew Varner will perform in the evening.
Defiance County will also honor its many veterans and the sacrifices they made on Memorial Day. The Memorial Day Parade will be held from 9-10:30 a.m. on May 27.
In June, music takes center stage
On June 7 at 7 p.m. the Defiance College Community Band will perform at Veterans Memorial Park (Latty’s Grove) at part of the Music in the Parks Series. The band will perform popular, classical and light classical selections.
Jazzing things up is a new festival on June 15.
The Take Us to the Rivers jazz festival will be held June 15 at Kingsbury Park. The festival is a collaboration between the Defiance College Community Band and DDVB. The festival is a tribute to cornet player “Wild” Bill Davison and jazz pianist Milt Buckner. Both musicians spent a great deal of time in Defiance. Davison lived in the city, while Buckner’s uncle lived in town. The festival is named after a song Davison performed. Gates will open at 4 p.m. and music will go on from 5-9 p.m.
Another Music in the Parks event will be held at 7 p.m. June 27. The Dirty Dixieland Band will perform at Riverside Park.
June’s not all music either.
On June 20, the DDVB will have the first of its third Thursday events. Third Thursdays will be street fairs held the third Thursdays of the summer months from 4-7 p.m. in the downtown area.
These social gatherings will be held also on July 18 and Aug. 15. There will be different types of entertainment at each Third Thursday. Fire breathers, scavenger hunts, musicians, artists and contests have been part of past events. Downtown businesses will have specials while entertainers will promote arts and culture in the community.
“There will be a cultural or art aspect to them each time,” Mack said.
Another big event, the Art in the Park sponsored by the Friends of the Defiance Public Library will be held from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. June 30 at the fort grounds. The event, held rain or shine, will include arts, crafts, activities and food.
The annual Independence Day celebration will kick off events in July.
Lighting up the night on July 3 will be the annual fireworks display at the confluence of the Maumee and Auglaize rivers. The fireworks will begin at dusk. A carnival is set up for individuals to enjoy themselves at Kingsbury Park prior to the fireworks show.
Also in July will be the third Thursday event and a Music in the Parks event on July 18. The Muleskinner Bank will perform at either Pontiac or Canal Park.
On Aug. 1 the last Music in the Parks will be held at the UAW park on Baltimore Road. The Bud Widmers Rube Band will perform at 6 p.m. The last Third Thursday of the summer will also be held from 4-7 p.m. Aug. 15.
Bringing the summer to a close is a giant barbecue downtown as those who want to enjoy some mouth-watering ribs just need to head to the Rib Fest. The festival will be Sept. 28 from 2-11 p.m. The annual event draws thousands of people to the downtown area. There will be several street vendors offering ribs, desserts and other food. There will also be entertainment by local musicians in the afternoon, followed by headlining entertainment Nashville Crush in the evenings. Kicking off the rib fest, as in past years, will be the Ribs and Ringers horseshoe tournament.