Gathering in Unity parade

Shown are participants in the 2018 West Unity Gathering in Unity Days parade. The parade route will go down Jackson Street and then onto Main Street on Saturday. Times file photo

The annual Gathering in Unity Days will see some changes when it kicks off this weekend.

The biggest change will be the addition of two rides on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. outside of the Kissell Building.

“I grew up here in West Unity, this is my hometown, so when we were little we would have rides,” said Angie Dunson, one of the coordinators of the event. “It was almost like a tinier version than the jubilee, but we still had a couple of rides.”

The decision was made to bring that back and a fellow coordinator, JR Jones, was able to get some donations from several businesses.

“Believe it or not, rides cost an arm and a leg,” Dunson said. “For the amount of money we were willing to spend, we could only get two rides. So, we have a zip line this year and we have a carousel ride. I thought that was kind of cool. It was really nice of the support we got.”

The event starts on Friday with antique tractor pulls starting at 5:30 p.m. (weigh-in at 4:30 p.m.) and a chicken barbecue and pork chop on a stick dinner hosted by the West Unity Chamber of Commerce at 5 p.m.

A three-on-three basketball tournament and music by Bill Ledford also start at 5 p.m. A showing of the film “Run the Race,” produced by former football star Tim Tebow, is set for 8:30 p.m.

Saturday kicks off the biggest day of the three-day event with a pancake and sausage breakfast for a free-will donation at the shelter house from 1-10 a.m. and a pedal tractor show at 8 a.m.

The annual parade will start at 11 a.m. with the route going down Jackson Street and taking a left on Main Street before ending at Memorial Park.

This route has brought more popularity to the parade.

“We used to have a different route that would weave through the smaller roads in town,” Dunson said. “When we changed it to go on the main road and down Main Street, we had a lot more people show up because we were able to take those bigger trucks ... So, the response was good. I think the community really liked the longer parade.”

This route took the parade from around 20 minutes to closer to 45 minutes.

“It’s cool to see the growth and the response not just from West Unity but from the county,” Dunson said.

People interested in participating in the parade should show up on Oak Street at “factory row” around 10:30 a.m. No registration is necessary.

Also Saturday, a car show will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. At noon will be another three-on-three basketball tournament and the annual American Legion Riders Poker Run will leave at 1 p.m.

The Sons of the American Legion will have their rib-off starting at 2:30 p.m.

Saturday will also feature a craft show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We have over 20 vendors and they’re going to be in the Kissell Building,” Dunson said.

On Sunday at 10 a.m. will be a community church service featuring the chaplains from the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, followed by a free meal.

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