Downtown Canton knows how to put on a good event…
One of my favorite things to do is find new things to do and places to go in my hometown of Canton, but there is a set of summer traditions that always make my to-do list, and that is the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival. In case you didn’t know, Canton is home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and one of the largest festival schedules in Ohio.
Twenty-three events surround the induction of the Class of 2014 Enshrinees in total. While the football theme runs rampant through each event, there are eight of my favorite events that are perfect for football fans, and non-fans alike.
Balloon Classic and Jackson-Belden Food Fest
Hot air balloons, music, food vendors, beer garden and fireworks draw a crowd to Kent State Stark’s fields from Friday evening until Sunday morning. You can actually see the balloons throughout Belden Village, but I highly recommend walking through the food fest to grab delicious local grub and a cold beverage before watching one of the various attractions. Over the weekend, four balloon launches occur and nine bands perform – plus, fireworks on Saturday evening. There is a lot of hustle and bustle that goes on, and quite a bit of walking, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for an evening “alone”, this may not be your spot. However, if you have kids, a group of friends, or just want to take advantage of free entertainment, this is a perfect event to attend.
Concert and Fireworks in Downtown
Downtown Canton knows how to put on a good event, and coming fresh out of the 4th of July First Friday, I am SO excited for the concert and fireworks coming up later this month. The Arts District in downtown between Tuscarawas St. and Walnut Ave. will be alive with music performances, vendors and family-friendly activities. All to be concluded with an enormous fireworks show (back to the 4th – they were some of the best fireworks I’ve ever watched). The event is free, but bring some cash for some of the local vendors that set up shop along the allies and the great restaurants and bars we have nestled in the downtown area. If you are looking to keep the night going, head over to George’s Lounge or Buzzbin for live music and a craft beer after the fireworks end.
Fashion Show Luncheon
Take an extra long lunch for this event, especially if you’re a fashionista or need some time away with the girls. Lunch is catered in, Jeff Timmons (yep ladies, from 98 degrees) is performing, but the highlight of fashion show is, you guessed it, fashion. From casual to gala attire, not only are the threads appealing, so are their origins. Both women’s and men’s fashion will be showcased throughout the afternoon, all from local stores and boutiques – read: these are items you can purchase within miles of your home. For the three-hour lunch, music performance and fashion show, you’re looking at $58-$70 per ticket at the downtown Canton Memorial Civic Center and Cultural Center.
Timken Steel Grand Parade
Annually watching this parade is ingrained in the minds of Stark County residents (and beyond) regardless of age. I’ve attended this parade nearly every year of my life and it’s an experience, not just a parade. Some folks set up the evening before, but it’s tradition for many of us to grab a box of donuts, an enormous coffee, blankets and chairs – and get there at 4 a.m. for a good seat along the downtown Canton route. You’ll see ages ranging from infant to elderly, all enjoying the helium balloons, Hall of Fame court, marching bands, floats and enshrinees. It’s a free event (some bleacher seating is available if staking out in the early morning isn’t your thing) so it’s great for couples, large families, little ones and friends – basically, all.
SEE ALSO: 5 Reasons To Visit Canton
Pro Football Hall of Fame Game – Buffalo Bills vs. New York Giants
Kick off the NFL preseason with the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game game at Fawcett Stadium. Tickets are between $54 – $74 and I’ll assure you that the stadium is extremely intimate, so you’ll be close to the action. You’ll get to see both of the New York teams, in addition to the inducted class of enshrinees. Attending the event is part of a tradition, which is worth the nostalgia and excitement. It’s a fabulous event for businesses to bring clients, football fanatics, small families and buddies. Make sure to grab your tickets in advance.
Drum Corps International Competition
I attended the Drum Corps International Competition as a newbie two years back and was pleasantly surprised that it was an extremely engaging event. These kids aren’t your average high school marching band; they’re in full costume, use theatrical sets and are ranked as some of the best performers in the country. It’s like the movie drumline, but more hardcore. Tickets range from $20, $30 and $40, but you can watch the bands practice around the grounds for free prior to the event. This competition is actually outside of Canton, about 15 minutes to the west at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon. This is for you if you have a passion for music or you’re looking for a unique date night (there’s also a handful of delicious restaurants nearby).
Player stats aren’t the only consideration for an enshrinee; the perseverance, nobility and genuine character come into play, and I think our city of Canton mirrors those attributes and this festival time allows us to show that off, so set a date and join us for one of these awesome events.
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