Niles Family Carnival and Bluegrass Festival begins Thursday

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Leader file photo A family enjoys one of the carnival rides at last year's Niles Bluegrass Festival.

Leader file photo
A family enjoys one of the carnival rides at last year’s Niles Bluegrass Festival.

The event formerly known as the Niles Bluegrass Festival returns this week with a new name a number of changes designed to offer something for everyone.

For starters, the event — now in its 13th year — is now called the Niles Family Carnival and Bluegrass Festival. It is being run by the Niles Riverfront Optimist Club non-profit organization with support from several

corporate sponsors.

Organizer T.J. Martin said the festival would no longer feature the flea-market style vendors seen in the past.

Instead, he said the focus was bringing in high quality arts and crafts vendors offering things like blown glass, engraved items and hand-made wood works.

“We emphasized quality over quantity,” Martin said.

The same philosophy is being applied to the bluegrass musical acts.

This year’s lineup features 11 national touring groups of bluegrass and American roots musicians.

“Less groups, more quality,” Martin said.

The bands will play at the Riverfront Park Amphitheater Thursday through Sunday. Music is free and attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket.

For those wanting a break from the music, the Skerbeck Entertainment Group will provide carnival rides and games designed for children of all ages.

Along with music and rides, the festival will feature a 100-seat bingo tent with quarter bingo hosted by American Legion Post 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

A communitywide all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast hosted by the Moose Lodge 978 will take place from 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday and 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday.

Speaking of food, festivalgoers will have the opportunity to purchase a wide variety of it all weekend from elephant ears, to Mexican to barbeque and pizza cooked in a wood oven.

“After 13 years it is time to refocus getting back to the community and family values,” Martin said. “That’s what it is all about.”

For more information, visit the festival website at