First Town Days Festival History

First Town Days History

The first, First Town Days Festival took place in 1978 and was begun as an idea of then Park Board member Keith Walker who was looking for ways to raise funds to repair and restore the Carousel at Tuscora Park. Many communities around the country had recently organized festivals in celebration of our nations' birth in the 1976 Bi-Centennial year and it seemed to be a natural fit to do something similar in New Philadelphia as a celebration of the First Town or settlement in Ohio which was Schoenbrunn. This would also be a means to raise funds for the Carousel. Fellow Park Board member Pede Reese and Tuscora Park Concessions Operator Larry Chaney also jumped on board and helped organize our first and original First Town Days Festival in New Philadelphia, Ohio. As First Town Days became a fixture in New Philadelphia, Ellen Fenton followed in the footsteps of Keith Walker and the other original organizers and was then followed by Al Maloney and later by Sam Hitchcock who has stepped back from chairing the festival following the 2018 event. The first First Town Days festival actually featured many of the same events that we enjoy today including Family Day and what started out as the Ferris Adult Superstars eventually became our Junior Superstars. Several of the original concessionaires including Di Russo's Italian Sausage, Jack'n'Rich French Fries, and Scott's Lemonade are still with us today. Many individuals have carried the torch for all of these years as Chairmen of the festival, Chaired Events, or have simply volunteered their time and energy to make sure this wonderful family event continues with the same great traditions and purpose as those earlier versions. Current Office Manager Mindy Croft and recently "retired" Talent Show Coordinator Scott Miller have each volunteered as Committee members and helped with organizing the festival for over 35-years. Dale and Pixie Denham have helped for many years as have several others that work to make the event the success that it is and to set the stage for it to continue for many more years to come.