MACEDONIA City officials say tens of thousands of people attended Macedonia Funfest this year.
Though it's been called a myriad of titles over the years, Spirit of Macedonia, Home Days, Spirit of Macedonia Funfest or just Funfest, the festival has been serving as the official summer kickoff party for the city since its return in 2014 after an eight year hiatus due to budget cuts. The festival almost suffered that fate again this year, but due to the passage of Issue 3 in May the city moved forward with the tradition.
The four-day festival was a hit this summer after having faced rain all four days last year. Recreation Director Angela Manley said the Cleveland CAVs game and quick rain shower may have kept some festival-goers home Friday night, but added a big crowd turned up for the Saturday night fireworks display with clear skies and warm temperatures to kick off summertime in the city.
"Saturday by far, was the busiest day of the event especially in the evening when fireworks were approaching," she said.
Manley said moving the car show to a Thursday evening "Cruise In" was received very well, with a higher turnout as well as moving the 5k to Friday evening. She said while some things went smoother this year she is already planning some slight changes for next year's festival.
"We will tweak the course slightly for next year, as to not inconvenience moving traffic in the park," Manley said. "We are also planning to have an additional ticket booth on site, and have a window dedicated to those who purchased pre-sale tickets."
She added more space is needed for next year's festival. Relocation of the event to the old "Home Days" field in the park is a likely possibility for next year. The committee also plans to continue to add additional attractions each year.
Karrie Foor, who just moved into Macedonia with her family, was attending the festival for the first time.
She said she was happy with the event given the variety of activities.
"We love it, there is a lot of stuff for families to do," Foor said adding she felt safe at the event. "I especially like the police presence and everyone is super friendly."
Mike Carol,l of Toledo, was in town visiting his son and grandchildren over the weekend and was also attending Funfest for the first time. He was carrying his 3-year-old granddaughter, who said her favorite parts of the festival were the rides and cotton candy, which she was snacking on at the time.
Manley said overall she was pleased with the event.
"It was so rewarding to see so many people attend the event and enjoy themselves," Manley said. "The positive comments and feedback on the event's Facebook page were wonderful to read. People were very pleased with the event, including the fireworks display and the food choices."
Briana Barker: 330-541-9432