The Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce is planning a new yet very familiar event for later this month. What used to be the fun filled family oriented SummerFest is now the fun filled Family Funfest and is taking place all day Saturday July 27 in various locations throughout the city.
“We’re taking our favorites from SummerFest,” Cathy Jensen, executive director of Pleasant Hill Chamber says, “and making Pleasant Hill Family Funfest.”
While many events will remain the same, there are some pretty big changes to the all day celebration.
Why the change? Jensen says it was time to shake things up and they worked with the Eastern Polk County Leadership Committee to help plan additional events including a movie in the park.
The day will still start with the annual car show and parade, but the main events will be held at Copper Creek Lake Park this year. This will include inflatables, food and drink vendors, and will end with a showing of A Bug’s Life on a forty-foot LED screen.
The Big Kickoff
For the third year in a row, a car show will be the kick off event of the event. This year, however, like the event itself, some things with the car show are the same, yet different. In previous years, the car show was hosted by the 5 & Diner. Now under new ownership and running under a new name, Pleasant Hill Diner, located at 5015 East University, will have the honor of hosting a variety of cars in this now annual portion of the event.
Pleasant Hill Diner Owner, Tina Hellyer, is looking forward to the car show and participating in Family Funfest and was excited when the chamber contacted her to verify she would continue what 5 & Diner had started.
The car show is scheduled to run from nine a.m. to noon with awards being handed out at three p.m. This year, over twenty awards will be given out, including the Mayor’s Choice Award. Awards are determined by participants and attendees who are asked to vote for their favorites.
In between the end of the car show and the awards Haywire, a local band and regular entertainers at Pleasant Hill Diner, will be performing. Hellyer said attendees can also win door prizes and raffles by participating in events.
“Haywire plays a really good variety of music,” Hellyer says. “From oldies to rock and roll and today’s music. They are a really good band.”
Though Hellyer is new to planning and heading up the car show this year, she says nothing has changed from previous events because as far as she knows “everyone loved it the way it was.”
Attendees can expect to see a variety of vehicles.
“We average over 100 cars,” Hellyer says, “so it ends up being pretty big.”
Hellyer adds that the car show is a great meeting place for families to come together before heading off to the annual parade which will start at ten a.m. this year.
This year the parade marshals are Bill and Myrna Eisenlauer. Riding along with them will be their four-year-old granddaughter, Olivia, who is going to be the parade queen.
“It’s wonderful,” Bill says of being named marshal. “It will be a lot of fun.”
Cathy Jensen said it was an easy pick to ask the Eisenlauers this year.
“They’ve been so good about putting the parade together for so many years,” she says, “it’s the least we can do to show our appreciation.”
Myrna says Olivia is all ready for the big moment and has been practicing her parade wave to get it just right.
The Eisenlauer’s have been organizing the parade for the last ten years and are now old pros at putting the event together. They began volunteering to help improve the parade and have been working on it ever sense.
As with everything he does where the parade is concerned, Bill plans on doing it big.
“I get to wear a marshal outfit,” he teases with a laugh. “I think I’ll have it look like a king with a big crown and everything.”
He says most of the parade entries are local businesses hoping to see lots of Pleasant Hill residents lined up to gather candy along the route. For Bill, he thinks it’s a great way to build relationships between business owners and the community. He says he and Myrna are also looking to extend invitations to area churches to get them involved with the parade.
“It would be a great way for them to promote their fall activities,” he says.
In preparation for the event, he not only contacts existing businesses, but also calls any number he sees plastered on the side of vehicles to let them know the parade is free and a great way to advertise independent businesses.
“It’s a pretty easy sell,” he says.
The parade route is the same this year as it has been for the last few years. It will start at City Hall, head down Shadyview, then turn down Oakwood and end at Doannes Park.
The Eisenlauer’s say they organize the parade as way to give back to the community.
“I figure if I’m going to live here,” Bill says, “I’m going to try to make this place the best I can and I think one way to do that is to get involved with community events like this. It’s going to be a nice day for the family.”
Copper Creek Lake Park events
After taking part in the parade and car show, families are encouraged to head toward Copper Creek Lake Park where there will be free inflatables, food, and other activities to fill the afternoon.
Aaron Frew, owner of Leaping Lilly’s Inflatables, will be providing several different forms of entertainment from approximately three p.m. to seven p.m. Plans for this year’s bouncing fun includes a giant slide, bounce house, a fifty foot obstacle course and a wrecking ball.
Frew says there will be fewer inflatables than last year’s SummerFest event because of the switch in location to Copper Creek Lake Park.
“We wanted to be certain there was enough space for everyone and everything,” he says.
As far as rules on the inflatables, Frew says he just wants kids to have fun. For safety reasons no glasses or shoes can be worn inside and he asks that cell phones be left outside so they don’t get broken.
Younger kids will be grouped together to avoid having larger kids jumping with smaller ones, but Frew says that usually works itself out because the older kids tend to want to do the slide and obstacle course while the younger ones still enjoy the calmer bounce house.
The inflatables will be taken down before the movies starts so everyone can spread out and find a great spot to see the show.
The family friendly movie, A Bug’s Life, is expected to start around eight o’clock. Jensen suggests people bring blankets, chairs, and snacks to get comfy and cozy and enjoy the show.
“Wear your pajamas,” Jensen laughs. “We don’t care.”
After the movie, a fireworks display will wrap up the festival.
Like everyone else, the members of the chamber and event planners are looking forward to a great community event.
“Just like Altoona has their little Palooza, we have Family Funfest,” Hellyer says. “It’s just our little hoorah here in Pleasant Hill.”
All the planned events are free for residents and is going to be a great way to spend a fun day with the family and for the chamber and local businesses to show their appreciation for Pleasant Hill.