Slippery Rock VillageFest is back and organizers hope the event will be better than ever.

“Main Street is just jam-packed,” Heather Schwartzbauer said of the vendors registered for this Saturday.

This is her seventh year serving on the planning committee, and she knows that people are very excited to see the event return after COVID-19 canceled it in 2020.

The 18th annual VillageFest is presented by Slippery Rock Development and it will be set up downtown along South Main Street and at Gateway Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The event opens at 10 a.m. on Main Street with a ceremony and the national anthem presented by the Slippery Rock VFW, followed by the Community Champion Award.

Also, Slippery Rock Community Park has organized a 5K that starts at 8:30 a.m. at Elm and Cooper streets. For more information, call 724-748-8180 or visit slipperyrockpark-rec.org

There will be music, food, kids’ activities, games for all ages, contests with cash prizes, pony rides, magic, photos with princesses and superheroes, and more.

“We’re getting a ton of social media engagement,” said Schwartzbauer, who is in charge of the Giant Eagle Kids’ Zone at Gateway Park.

State COVID-19 guidelines related to large outdoor events will be followed, like social distancing practices. Hand sanitizer and face masks will be available for those who wish to use them.

Because the festival is outside, it will be easy to space things out, she said.

More than 100 vendors have signed up; that includes local organizations, food, crafters and businesses.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to provide local shopping,” Schwartzbauer said, adding that some festival-goers like to get a head start on buying Christmas gifts.

The vendors rely heavily on events like VillageFest, and they do extremely well because Slippery Rock is a tight-knit community, she said.

Schwartzbauer is looking forward to some of the games like Musical Chairs for adults. There’s also a cornhole contest and a hula hoop contest.

“And it gets crazy. It is so fun to watch,” she said.

It’s shaping up to be a really fun day, and it’s also Friends and Family Weekend at Slippery Rock University.

The festival will continue if there’s a bit of rain. South Main Street will be closed between Ginger Hill Tavern and Sheetz.

Attendees are encouraged to park at the East and West Lake lots at SRU. Campbell Bus Lines will provide a free shuttle service from those SRU lots to South Main Street.

SRD thanks the sponsors: North Country Brewing Co. and Slippery Rock Giant Eagle are the main sponsors; and a number of local businesses and organizations are gold, silver and bronze sponsors and contributors.

For more information and a complete schedule, visit “Slippery Rock VillageFest” on Facebook.

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