The Lions Club Fall Festival marks its 60th year this September. Since 1953, Zionsville families have participated in the weekend’s lively festivities, and they continue to do so. The Fall Festival has evolved and grown throughout the years, and today, brings people from much farther regions to partake of the traditions and enjoy the festivities.
With 20 acres of public access, Lions Park is completely owned, operated and maintained by the Lions Club with the help of fundraising and many volunteers. Unfortunately, April rains wreaked havoc on the park this spring (a mark on the wall of a restroom in the middle of the park shows the floodline at 7ft. high), and repairs depleted the funds, so this year, the Lions Club hopes to have an especially successful event, aiming to recoup some losses and continue to make improvements. “Fall Festival is our largest fundraiser for the park,” said Leigh Ann Akard, spokesperson for the 135 member club. “We try to find something for everybody.”
The festival kicks off Friday, September 6th, with a VIP Carnival for individuals with special needs. These ‘Very Important People’ and their families are invited to a complimentary night of fun and activities, beginning with a Chick-Fil-A dinner, provided by Lew Leckrone, franchise owner and Zionsville resident. During the evening participants can listen to live music in the gazebo and enjoy carnival attractions, including a bounce house, an animal petting area and unlimited carnival rides. This year, ‘Designated Riders’ (members of the Leo Club) will be available for VIPs who would like assistance on rides or with other activities. VIPs are also given ‘carnival cash’ to buy treats and play games.
The Behavior Analysis Center for Autism (BACA), which provides services to special needs children and young adults, has sponsored the event for the past two years. “With one of our centers being in Zionsville, we look for opportunities like the VIP Carnival because it’s a perfect event for our families to enjoy an evening out in a safe and friendly environment,” said Sarah Cox, director of marketing for BACA. People of all ages look forward to this once-a-year affair, including members of Zionsville High School’s Best Buddies program, which pairs high school student volunteers with special-needs students. The VIP Carnival will be their first outing of the school year.
Zionsville’s Fall Festival is one of the few carnival events that continues to grow, and Poor Jack Amusements attributes that success to the addition of the VIP Carnival. In six years, it has gone from about 250 attendees to well over 1,000, some coming from as far as Illinois and Ohio. Registration for the VIP Carnival begins on Friday, September 6 at 5 p.m.; rides are free until 8 p.m.
Another big deal, this year, is the silent auction. The Lions Club hopes to maximize its revenue by running the auction through Qtego, an innovative company which allows people to bid remotely by registering their mobile telephones numbers online. “Qtego is fast easy and fun,” said Jeff Stinson, regional event specialist in an email. “Text notifications sent directly to their phone allows the bidder to have up-to-the-minute bid updates and encourages additional bidding without ever revisiting the bidding table.” Qtego will streamline the process for the Lions Club by organizing bids and providing reports, resulting in the need for fewer volunteers in that area. “The auction money that we raise this year will go towards purchasing and installing new playground equipment in the park,” said Tim Reinhart, current president of the Lions Club and Fall Festival chairperson.
Some of the auction items include: vacation packages, martial arts lessons, tickets to events, photography packages, home maintenance certificates, art and sports items. The silent auction is currently underway and open for bids until 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 7.
To participate in the silent auction and support the Lion’s Club’s activities visit www.qtego.net/auc/zlc. You can review items up for bid, register your mobile phone and start bidding.
Many other activities are scheduled to take place during this anniversary year. Come out for the parade, starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7, explore the park, then relax in the beer garden with some live entertainment by the Reece Dickerson Band at 7 p.m. Food and beverages are available for those 21 and over. Leopalooza, a drug and alcohol free party for young adults, will also get underway at 7 p.m. See you at the 60th Fall Festival!
To learn more about the Fall Festival and for a full listing of events go to: zlionsevents.com
To RSVP for the VIP Carnival:
vipcarnival2013.eventbrite.com or email Leigh Ann Akard: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register to volunteer: