SILVER LAKE – The village is 101 years old but looks beautiful with the help of the Garden Club, organized in 1927, and its annual festival, celebrated since 1935.

The Garden Club welcomes the public to the Silver Lake Garden Club Annual Festival on Saturday, July 20 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The festival is the garden club's largest fundraiser for beautification of the village, and the 2019 theme is "Come to the Rodeo," according to Festival Chairman Susan Weiss.

"We choose a different theme every year and 'Come to the Rodeo' is a fun one for all ages," Weiss said.

The parade starts at 11:45 a.m. and begins at the Silver Lake Elementary School and travels east on Bellaire Road and south on Silver Lake Boulevard to the Silver Lake Estate Park.

Children can ride their bike, dress up or make a float, Weiss said. Everyone receives a ribbon for participating in the parade.

The Silver Lake Singers will perform the "Star-Spangled Banner" and sing from 12:30 to 1 p.m. The Akron Big Band also will perform.

Besides the festival’s tradition of a parade, food, music and games, many rodeo activities are happening this year with an appearance by Wild Bill Hickok, portrayed by Richard Best, and line dancing for young and old.

Visitors can purchase tickets for games, activities and food and redemption tickets are won for prizes, she said.

"We try to keep prices reasonable for families," Weiss said.

Other activities include boat races, swim races, a tug of war on the beach and a slingshot game to put a ball through a hula hoop.

Buckeye Sports will provide pontoon boat rides on the lake, she added.

Children under 5 will have their own games like a fish pond and a lollipop tree.

Food will include nachos, pizza, fried chicken, pulled pork, baked beans, cole slaw, pasta salad, fruit salad, hot dogs, corn on the cob, ice cream, sno cones, cookies, pies and cake.

Visitors can win a cake during the traditional cake walk.

The Village Store will sell t-shirts, hand towels and other items for cash or check.

During the Great Depression, people didn't have much money and the festival began as an ice cream festival which raised $71.97, Weiss said. Modern festivals raise between $5,000 and $10,000, depending on the weather.

"It's a community event to beautify the village," Weiss said. "We plant all the 24 islands in the village as well as trees and shrubs."

The Garden Club added a gazebo on the main island and has plans for a pergola.

"It was an ice cream festival but it's grown," Weiss said. "I grew up in Silver Lake and remember sloppy joes at the festival."

The sloppy joe recipe has been published in the Church in Silver Lake's first cookbook, she said.

"It's one of the best events a small community could ever have," Weiss said. "It brings families and community together and helps support the beautification of our village."

The Garden Club has 50 to 60 active members with a large associate group that pays dues but isn't active.

"We want to get more younger families involved, and it's a great way to meet people, have a good time, and support our community," Weiss said.

Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or