An annual favorite event will be making its return to Titusville next Friday, as Oil Festival 2019 makes its premier Aug. 9.
Appropriately for a festival on its 160th year, the 2019 Oil Fest has the theme “Celebrations and Milestones.” According to Titusville Chamber of Commerce President Chris Fiely, local historian David Weber brought it to the chamber’s attention last year that there are more than 60 different significant anniversaries in the year 2019.
These landmark dates rank from those of local importance, such as the 150th anniversary of the construction of Titusville High School and the 200th birthday of Colonel Drake, to those of wider significance, such as the 50th anniversary of the debut of “Sesame Street” or the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Fiely said that several local organizations will celebrate their own milestones through their parade floats this year. The Titusville Lions Club, for example, celebrated its 80th anniversary this year, while the Titusville Historical Society is on its 40th year.
For anyone still looking for an idea for parade floats, the chamber has a full list of several milestone anniversaries that could be used as suggestions.
Even as this year’s festival looks to the past, there will be several new additions to Oil Festival for 2019.
The first annual Oil Region Arm Wrestling Championship will be held on Aug. 10, at Boonie’s Sports Bar. Organized with the help of the TItusville Arm Drillers, the competition will see athletes compete across four divisions.
According to Boonie’s owner Chad Covell, the championship is looking to have 100 or more competitors. Entry is open to anyone, and it is free to sign up. First place in each division, which consist of amateur, professional, women and youth, will receive a trophy, while second place will be awarded a medal.
The competition will take place just outside of Boonie’s, which is located on Diamond Street. That road in particular will be packed with contests this year, as another new event, a cornhole tournament, will be co-sponsored by the Diamond Cafe and Bunyan’s just outside their restaurants.
Some returning events will also see changes. The annual Oil Region Antique Automobile Club of America Car Show, typically held at the BSI parking lot, will now occur in a more centralized location, along Spring Street.
Organization for the Titusville Beer Festival has been taken over by Orr’s Brewery following the closure of the Blue Canoe.
“They just kind of took the ball and ran with it, so to speak,” Fiely said.
Meanwhile, the Wine Walk has seen an increase in the number of wineries taking part from last year, now up to 15 in total, according to Fiely.
While the events a certainly a big draw, Fiely said there’s a different aspect that makes Oil Festival special for the Titusville area.
“(I enjoy) seeing people have fun, getting to see people I haven’t seen in maybe five years, maybe 10 years, maybe 20 years,” he said. “I really enjoy the parade. I’ve been involved in the parade for over 10 years and I’ve been parade direction — I think this is my third or fourth time.”
The parade is an especial point of pride for Fiely, who believes it to be the largest daytime parade in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Averaging more than 100 entries each year, the only parade in Crawford County that beats out the Oil Festival march in size, according to Fiely, is the Meadville Halloween parade, which takes place at night. In the wider Northwestern Pennsylvania, the chamber president thinks an annual parade in Warren might be larger, but he is not totally sure.
“We’ve got queens and fire trucks and floats and marchers — everybody,” Fiely said.
One thing that makes Oil Festival such a major draw, according to Fiely, is that Titusville is located in a centralized area compared to many towns. Local residents don’t have to travel very far to reach the city, and it’s in the cross section of many other towns and cities.
With the excitement in the air, Fiely has just one request from those looking forward to Oil Festival.
“Above all, we need everyone to hope and pray for good weather that weekend,” he said.
Oil Festival begins Aug. 9 and will continue through Aug. 10.
n 3 p.m. — Deadline to register for the Titusville Oil Queens Pageant.
n 9 a.m. — Titusville YMCA Youth Golf Tournament, at Pop’s Windy Knolls Par 3 Golf Course. There is a fee.
n 7 a.m. — Drake Well Marathon.
n 7 p.m. — Performance by Encore as part of the Concerts in the Park series, in Scheide Park.
n 6 p.m. — Titusville Oil Queen Pageant, at YWCA.
n Noon to 1 p.m. — Lunch on the Lawn, at Benson Memorial Library.
n 4:15 to 7 p.m. — All School Celebration, at Perry Street Station. This event is BYOB, while food will be served at 5 p.m.
n 5 to 7 p.m. — Registration for the art exhibit and Chalk Walk at Main Street Elementary School.
n 5 to 8 p.m. — Kids zone, in downtown Titusville. There is a fee.
n 5 to 9 p.m. — Wine Walk in downtown Titusville. Tickets are available at the Titusville Chamber of Commerce. There is a fee.
n 5 to 9 p.m. — Craft and food vendors in Scheide Park and on Washington Street.
n 5 to 9 p.m. — Duck Duck Drake Drop, in Scheide Park. There is a fee, and proceeds benefit the United Way of the Titusville Region. Winners will be pulled at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
n 5 p.m. to ? — Titusville High School Class of 1984 comfort tent at Titusville Market Square parking lot.
n 6 to 9 p.m. — Matt Gavula, Erie’s piano man, will perform in front of Farmer’s National Bank.
n 8 p.m. — Titusville High School Class of 1984 mixer at Moose Family Center.
n 8 p.m. — Joe’s Sunroom will perform outside of Orr’s Brewery.
n 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. — Registration for the art exhibit and Chalk Walk at Main Street Elementary School.
n 9 a.m. to noon — Registration for the AACA Car Show.
n 9 a.m. — Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad speeder cars depart.
n 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Craft and food vendors in Sheide Park and Washington Street.
n 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Art exhibit and Chalk Walk at Main Street elementary school, presented by Titusville Council on the Arts.
n 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Duck Duck Drake Drop, in Scheide Park.
n 11 a.m. — Annual Oil Festival Parade, down Main Street.
n Noon to 6 p.m. — Kids zone, in downtown Titusville. There is a fee.
n Noon — First Annual Oil Region Arm Wrestling Championship, at Boonie’s Sports Bar, 122 Diamond St.
n Noon to 6 p.m. — Motorcycle show, on Diamond Street. Judging will take place at 5 p.m.
n Noon — Missy’s Arcade side walk sale. Food and shirts will be among the items available.
n Noon to 4 p.m. — Pennsvylania Oil Region AACA Car Show. Awards will be presented at 4 p.m.
n 1 to 4 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. — Titusville Beer Festival, outside Orr’s Brewery. There is a fee.
n 1 p.m. — OC&T departs Perry Street Station.
n 8 p.m. — Pre-fireworks family tailgate party at Carter Field. Route 8 will perform.
n 10 p.m. — Fireworks at Carter Field, by Gibson Fireworks.
Ray can be reached, by email, at email@example.com.