Four years ago, Teresa Dronsfield gained approval from Sunbury Village Council to hold a late August food and music festival, Sunbury Sizzle & Sounds, on Sunbury Village Square.
Unbeknownst to Dronsfield, Jane White, then-owner of Mudflats Bar & Grill, had received a nod of approval from Galena council for the Greater Galena Civic Association to hold Galena Summerfest on the same date.
It could have been a scheduling disaster, until Dronsfield and White put their heads together, made lemonade by joining the two festivals via a shuttle bus, and what began as an accident turned into a Big Walnut area end-of-summer staple.
Affectionately known as Dos Festivals, Sunbury Sizzle & Sounds and Galena Summerfest drew better-than-expected crowds, estimated at more than 7,000 at each festival last summer; and both festivals return this year from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. this coming Saturday (Aug. 22).
Leadership has changed. White sold Mudflats and is less involved in Galena Civic Association events. Sizzle & Sounds, now under the Big Walnut Civic Association umbrella, is co-chaired by Dronsfield, owner of the Giant Lemonade Cup concession; Cindy Erndt, a member of the Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors; and Sunbury Fiscal Officer Kathy Belcher.
Both festivals have outdoor beer gardens – Galena Summerfest all day long, Sunbury Sizzle & Sounds from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m.; and both festivals are served by a 55-passenger air-conditioned coach for shuttling between Sunbury and Galena.
For safety reasons this year, Sunbury Village Council members banned all dogs, except medical assistance dogs, from the Sizzle & Sounds fenced beer garden area.
Dronsfield said Sizzle & Sounds will host an 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. BBQ cook-off this year instead of a best pizza contest – won last year by PaPa Steve’s Pizza.
“The Big Walnut High School classes of 1995 and 1985 are having their reunions during the festival, and it’s also an unofficial class of 1984 reunion,” Dronsfield said. “We’re adding some additional picnic tables around the square near the bandstand to make that area more user-friendly, although we still encourage people to bring blankets and lawn chairs.”
Dronsfield said the Sizzle & Sound Kids Zone would be open to 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. with a giant slide, bounce houses, a petting zoo and a bull-riding machine; the bull-riding machine will be moved to the beer garden area for a bull-riding contest later during the evening.
The day’s emcee and DJ will be Brian (DJ Meeko) D’Amico and Sadie Allen a.k.a. DJ GLDYLOCKZ.
Entertainment at the stage area begins at noon with Midwest Cheer Elite Columbus. At 12:30 Brittany Hatfield & Dustin Miller come onstage, followed at 1 p.m. by Lex Center Dance. At 1:30 Jordan Apple is onstage, followed at 2 p.m. by a one-hour DJ Mix.
Following the 3 p.m. announcement of the BBQ cook-off winner, Southwynd will play until 5; Nashville Crush plays until 6:30; Lepolion Effect until 8; Shucking Bubba Deluxe until 9:30; and the evening closes out with Lt. Dan’s New Legs.
“We owe the success and growth of Sizzle & Sounds largely in part to the creation of the Big Walnut Civic Association,” Dronsfield said. “Kathy Belcher, Cindy Erndt and myself are the official committee, but we couldn’t do it alone. We have amazing people in place to ensure that all areas of Sizzle runs smoothly. We look forward of the support of the community and a day filled with friends, music and sunny skies.”
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093