Zionsville Lions Club Fall Festival amps up with new ways to celebrate the season
Two months ago amidst burn bans and firework display cancellations across the state, the Zionsville Lions Club and its president, Leigh Ann Akard, made a decision to cancel the All-American July 4th Celebration at Lions Park. The event is not only a yearly center for celebration in Zionsville, but is the Lions Club’s second-largest fundraiser of the year.
“It was public safety for us with the July 4th event,” said Akard. “If we have 15,000 people in the park, it would have just taken one yahoo with a sparkler or even a cigarette to cause a bad situation.”
Due to the cancellation, the Lions Club’s Fall Festival, the largest annual fundraiser for the organization, has been amped up to bring even more entertainment options to families, children and adults than it has in years past.
“Losing the July 4th celebration was a huge hit for the Zionsville Lions Club this year,” said Akard. “We need to take our second-largest fundraiser and our largest fundraiser and combine them into an even larger fundraiser than ever before.”
Beginning Friday evening, the Fall Festival kicks off with the VIP Carnival, an annual event in which families are invited to bring their special needs children out to the carnival and enjoy free rides, food and fun. The Zionsville Alpha Leo Club, a newly founded youth organization, will be acting as “designated riders,” roaming the carnival and riding attractions with those children who would like assistance. Having grown over the last several years, the VIP Carnival is expected to attract 800 or more carnival-goers Friday evening.
“The VIP Carnival is an opportunity for a segment of the population to attend a festival that they wouldn’t be able to attend otherwise. We have people coming from out of state, sometimes driving longer than the carnival itself lasts,” said Akard.
Saturday’s festivities begin at 10:30 a.m. with the Kiwanis Club Fall Festival Parade at Zionsville High School featuring Akard as the Grand Marshall, and continue throughout the day and evening until 11 p.m.
Something entirely new for the festival this year, the Lions Club is offering the Z’Luau Lounge starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday. The lounge will feature live music by the Reece Dickerson Band, food and adult beverages including a range of craft beer from Triton Brewing Company.
“If you don’t have kids or a craft, this is the place for you. We wanted to create more opportunities for everyone to have fun at this year’s festival,” said Akard.
The festival will not only feature a silent auction throughout the weekend but also a live auction Saturday at 8 p.m. in the lounge. Some of the most notable items currently up for auction include a “Pulp Fiction” film poster autographed by the cast, a Denver Broncos helmet autographed by Peyton Manning, a football autographed by Andrew Luck and a trip for four to Universal Studios including airfare and lodging.
“We’ve never had this much going on Saturday night at the park,” said Akard. “We are hoping to really give people a reason to come out and enjoy some of the entertainment that we’re providing.”
The Zionsville Lions Club Fall Festival is being held at Lions Park (115 S. Elm St., Zionsville) Friday through Sunday. While admission is free, parking inside the park requires a $5 donation. All food and events may be individually priced. For more information and the full schedule of events, please visit zlionsevents.com.