For the next four days, Portage County has the opportunity to sample the very best that Streetsboro has to offer.
Family Days (at City Park at the corner of Kirby Lane and Annalane Drive, today through Sunday) has become a tradition in the city since its inception in 2002, and it's one worth maintaining for many years to come.
The Ohio State Fair kicked off Wednesday in Columbus, and that's a terrific event -- but its overlap with the Streetsboro festival just serves to underscore how unnecessary it is to travel 150 miles for a terrific celebration of family fun.
There's a reason -- in fact there are many reasons -- why nearly 10,000 people turned out for Family Days last year. From the moment the opening ceremony (entitled "A Tribute to American Patriotism and First Responders") kicks off at 4 p.m. today, the fun is non-stop.
Family Days is a time to enjoy good food, good music, good times and good people. We're lucky to have such an event, practically right in our back yard.
The Car & Bike Show (sponsored by The Classic Auto Group, Action Auto Body and Gateway Towing) is a must for car enthusiasts. Don't miss it -- it's held on Sunday, the final day of Family Days. More than 100 cars were featured in the 2013 show.
The Paw 'Pet'tacular dog show, sponsored by Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro, is also on Sunday, as well as Kids Day (where the first 200 children under 10 to arrive get on all the terrific rides at the festival for free).
One of the most important events at Family Days is Saturday morning's 5K Memorial Run/Walk, sponsored by University Hospitals in honor of Dave Giambrone.
Mr. Giambrone, who passed away last year, was the definition of a community leader. The owner of Giambrone Construction, he was a dedicated volunteer with Streetsboro Family Days for years. Among his many contributions to various school and city projects, he was instrumental in building City Park. The event raises funds for UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.
And did we mention the music? There's no better argument to come to Family Days than the huge variety of tunes performed by several acclaimed musicians and bands.
Want country? Check out five-time Grammy winner Marty Stuart on Saturday night. In the mood for some "hair metal?" Don't miss Adam X on Friday in the late afternoon. Blues guitar? Listen to the 16-year-old guitarist Michael Weber, also on Friday, in the evening.
And if the 6:30 p.m. performance tonight by local resident and cancer survivor Amanda Joy Hall (also singing the national anthem at the opening ceremony) doesn't inspire and thrill you, you're standing too far from the stage. That's just a sampling of the music at Family Days, and save the $3 parking cost, the concerts are free.
We commend the Family Days Board members. These folks spend a year planning the event -- and they do it as volunteers. The Board members and trustees are John Kocisko, Richard Taiclet, Dave Kocisko, Renee´ Shaffer, Pat Giambrone, Jim Damicone, Bill Byers and Dave Shimmel. You may very well know them, and their contributions to this event, already -- but if you see them over the next few days make a point to shake their hand. The same goes for the many other volunteers at Family Days.
Streetsboro Family Days is a tradition worth keeping. And we have no doubt that given the quality and tenacity of the many people who make it happen, Portage County will be able to enjoy this event for years to come.
(And did we mention the music? It's worth mentioning again.)
Visit www.streetsborofamilydays.org for more information on the festival.