‘It’s like the dawn is breaking’: West Chester Twp. planning more summer events

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

West Chester Twp. officials are thrilled this summer will be filled with normal summertime events including a “signature” July 4th celebration that will be staged at the Voice of America museum.

“It’s like a return to normalcy, it’s like the dawn is breaking,” Trustee Mark Welch said about the various upcoming events. “We’re going to get back to lifestyle things that we have here in West Chester, the things that we love to do and enjoy. This is the glimmer of hope.”

Last year summer events were cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic but this summer the township is welcoming back events like the Memorial Day parade, the three-day “Taps, Tastes and Tunes” Independence Day event, the ninth annual Union Centre Food Truck Rally in August and when the brakes were put on the St. Patty’s Day Shamrock Shuffle in March it was rescheduled for September.

The July 4th celebration is a ColdIron Production event that was previously staged at The Streets of West Chester but the company was looking for a new venue and the Voice of America board supported of hosting it and will open the museum during the event, according to Trustee Ann Becker.

“I am very excited about this event West Chester is going to celebrate the 4th of July and it’s going to be a great bash,” Becker said. “There’s no better venue than Voice of America park, they’ve proclaimed our freedom for years and it’s beautiful to celebrate our independence.”

Barb Wilson, director of public information and engagement, said it has been 20 years since the township had a 4th of July event at VOA. West Chester hosted FunFest and Freedom Fest, first at McGinnis Park and then at VOA for many years.

The township is footing the bill — an estimated $10,000 to $20,000 — for the fireworks show this year.

Kerry Schall, festival liaison for ColdIron, said they are still navigating the effects of the pandemic planning this event, their third. The new owner of the Streets of West Chester wasn’t ready to host an event like this yet and local food vendors who always participated previously, can’t this year.

“In the past we used a bunch of local restaurants and it was kind of a taste of Butler County type thing,” Schall said. “However due to COVID most of these restaurants don’t even have the staff to do a restaurant, let alone an outdoor event like that.”

He said they will have a “ton” of different types of food from around 10 vendors, they have booked eight live bands and there will be kids entertainment.

“I think it may turn into a signature event for West Chester,” Trustee Lee Wong said. “We got food, we got good music, good atmosphere and the occasion is right and the venue is beautiful, it’s a national treasure.”

Summer events returning to West Chester include:

Memorial Day Parade at 10 a.m. on May 31 in Olde West Chester

Taps, Tastes and Tunes, July 2-4 at VOA

Union Centre Food Truck Rally, Aug. 13 on The Square

Shamrock Shuffle, Sept. 11 on The Square

A Tribute to Historic Barns of Ohio, Sept. 29 at the Muhlhauser Barn

The Farmers Market begins May 22 on The Square – every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Takeover concerts begin June 24 on The Square – every Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m.

Keehner Park concerts begin June 26 – every Saturday 7-9 p.m.

About the Author