Painesville’s annual Party in the Park kicks off on July 14, bringing three days of live music and festivities to the city’s square.
Described by organizers from the Painesville Community Improvement Corporation as “Ohio’s largest free music festival,” the event will also include vendors, food and family activities. Additions to this year’s festival include tours of a nearby student housing renovation project and new food options at the VIP tent.
“PCIC is expecting a pre-COVID crowd over three exciting days in our historic Lake County seat of Painesville,” said event co-chair and PCIC President Pam Morse.
The festival’s live music will include “up-and-coming local acts, award-winning Cleveland musicians and national touring acts,” as noted on the event webpage. Performers will play music from “genres including rock, reggae, jazz, funk, folk, Rock-a-Billy, country, classic rock, jam bands, Latin, soul, bluegrass and more.”
Morse highlighted performances from Nashville musician Nick Walker, who grew up in the area, as well as Cleveland-based Latin band Grupo Fuego and Cuban-born musician Justo Saborit.
According to the event schedule, Nick Walker will perform “beach country” music at 4:45 p.m. on July 14. Grupo Fuego will start at 10 p.m. that night, while Justo Saborit and Latin Soul will take the stage with “Latin jazz” at 2:30 p.m. on July 15.
Performances begin at noon each day, with the final performance starting at 10 p.m. all three nights. A full music schedule can be found on the “Party in the Park” tab at painesvilleimprovement.com.
Morse said that visitors can also check out the “more than 30 food vendors, games, tent vendors and artisan shopping booths.”
She added that children and their families can visit the park’s community stage, which will include “family acts of magic tricks, balloon art and humor for all.” The stage’s schedule can be found on the PCIC website.
Other children’s activities will include crafts and a Family Fun Zone that is open until 8 p.m. each day, Morse said.
According to the PCIC website, the party’s VIP tent will operate from 4 to 10 p.m. each day and include a private bar, private restrooms, “three premium beverage tickets” and a view of the party’s large screen. International specials will be offered at 6 p.m. each night and will include Latino food on July 14, Italian food on July 15 and Mediterranean food on July 16.
VIP passes cost $50 per person, with a $135 three-day pass and a $350 pass for a group of eight also available.
She noted that visitors will also have an opportunity to tour “The Tower,” an urban renewal project at 30 S. Park Pl. which will begin housing Lake Erie College students in August. Developer Renew Partners will offer the tours at the former bank building from 4 to 6 p.m. each day.
The festival’s final day will begin with “Son Rise” services from Painesville United Methodist Church and Grand River Baptist Church. Morse noted that Painesville UMC will hold the first service at 8:30 a.m. on July 16, while a Facebook post from Grand River stated that its service will begin at 10 a.m.
She noted that PCIC uses the funds from Party in the Park to support the YMCA’s Safety Around Water program, which provides a week of safety training for second grade students in the Painesville City and Fairport Harbor school districts. PCIC wants to add students from Riverside Schools in 2024.
The festival will also support efforts to build a new skate park at the city’s Kiwanis Recreation Park, Morse said.
A July 12 Painesville news release noted that free parking will be available at the Jobs and Family Services building at 177 Main St., as well as parking lots on Sterling Avenue, St. Clair Street and the former Lake East Hospital site on East Washington Street.
Painesville Square will be closed to traffic from noon on July 13 to the morning of July 17.
“If the weather smiles upon us, bring your chairs and come to the Painesville Veterans Square to sing, dance, laugh and have a wonderful time,” Morse said.