Get set to split: Annual festival begins next weekend, June 9-10

By Mitch Lippert - For the News Journal



When the Banana Split Festival opens at 4 p.m. next Friday, June 9, you know summertime has arrived.

Still with no admission charge and shuttle rides from the parking areas, there is every reason to come to the Denver Williams Park for great entertainment, delicious food and drinks, unique crafts, classic cars, kids’ activities and games, and worthwhile exhibits.

First to take the stage at 4 o’clock is Flashback, five musicians who have played classic rock of the ’60s and ’70s together for several years. Voted the No. 1 classic rock band in Dayton in 2013, you’ll just want to join them and sing along.

They are followed on stage at 5:45 p.m. by Branded, a classic country band with five members playing and singing your favorite country hits of the ’60s through the ’90s featuring three guitars, keyboard and bass.

At 8 p.m. Smoooth — yes, 3 O’s — arrives on stage to deliver precision choreography and versatile four- and five-part harmonies based on the R&B legends of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.

You can’t spend a better Friday evening when all this is combined with a banana split dessert.

Then there’s Saturday …

The Banana Split Festival gets even better on its second day, Saturday, June 10. Come at 8 a.m. to be a part of Heather’s Hope Lickety-Split 5K Run which starts at 9 a.m. You might call this the warm-up for the festival opening at 10 a.m.

Then take the children to participate in games and enjoy inflatables, or view the great variety of exhibits and the baseball tournament. Don’t forget to have lunch before the entertainment begins on stage at 12:30 p.m. with Laura Kelly, a professional who began singing when she was five years old.

Laura is followed at 2 p.m. by Model Behavior, a high-energy band playing pop, rock, dance and party hit selections from the ‘80s through today’s Top 40.

At 4 p.m. Lost and Found comes to the stage from Vienna, West Virginia. This a capella group will sing some of your favorite Praise and Worship songs as well as some wonderful secular music. This is also the time for the Banana Split Eating Contest at the banana split serving booth.

Although it’s a break in the entertainment, at 5:30 p.m. the car show awards will be given out. You can view the cars any time after 12 noon and pick your own winners while listening to the nearby music.

Then, Sawgrass takes the stage at 6 p.m. This exciting, aspiring bluegrass duet from Dayton and their band has a traditional yet fresh sound by blending intensely performed instrumentation with heartfelt vocal harmonies.

The entertainment continues at 8 p.m. with the Nashville SMG Records band Crossroad Station. Having their own brand of against-the-grain and boot-to-mouth country music, they bring together deep-rooted country, rock and blues influences until 10 p.m. when the festival concludes for the 23rd year.

The Wilmington Rotary Clubs, as festival presenters, hope all attendees will feel this event gave their summer a glorious beginning.

Mitch Lippert is Chair of the 2017 Banana Split Festival.


By Mitch Lippert

For the News Journal