PERRY — What started as a way to showcase its downtown businesses has now become the 17th annual PerryFest, taking place Saturday.

“It started after we did some work on our downtown a while ago and the city leaders and business owners wanted to come up with a way to show off the new and existing businesses. Since then, the event has continued to grow every year,” PerryFest coordinator Dori Boertman said.

PerryFest is an all-day event featuring a flea market, parade, car and motorcycle show, food vendors, fireworks and other activities.

“It’s been a great celebration. It’s a chance for our community to come together and spend time together and really just highlight the community,” Perry Mayor James Huguelet said.

Events begin at 10 a.m. and culminate with fireworks at dusk near city hall.

“We have a new event that we’re really excited about this year called the Magnificent Merchant Morning,” Boertman said. “Half of our uptown vendors will be setting up before the parade and giving away free stuff and offering some other really great deals.”

Some vendors will be selling hotdogs and water for $1, and others are giving away free popsicles. Darling Hardware will be providing free cotton candy.

“I’m really pleased that some of our downtown merchants have gotten themselves organized for Saturday morning to give away some stuff and showcase some of our downtown businesses,” Huguelet said.

The theme for this year’s parade is “Blazing the Patriotic Trail.” Participants are encouraged to display their patriotism by designing floats that pay tribute to the U.S.

There will be trophies awarded for best children’s float, most creative use of theme and best overall float. Lineup for the parade begins at 11 a.m. behind the high school and the parade steps off at noon down Main Street.

The grand marshal for the parade is Jim Diebler, a longtime EMT in the Perry area. Senior citizen queen for the parade is Carol Nama.

“She’s very active in the community and a retired school teacher,” Boertman said.

At city hall, after the parade, there will be several activities to keep kids (and adults) entertained, including carnival rides and games, a bounce house, a 25-foot rock wall, an entertainment stage, and even bungee jumping.

‘We won’t be bungee jumping off city hall … it’s actually connected to the rock wall and we’re really excited about it,” Boertman said.

Acts will begin performing on the entertainment stage at 1:30 p.m. The first act is a performer who walks on stilts, juggles and unicycles. At 2:30 p.m. there will be a pinata and free kids games at the stage.

Lainy Morris and Joe Welch perform from 4 to 6:30 p.m., when Lizzy Hall takes over. She sings from 6:30 p.m. until the fireworks.

During the day, in the children’s area, a medieval reenactment group will set up.

The car and motorcycle show will take place outside city hall.

Registration for the car show begins at 9 a.m. and the show is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when awards are presented.

Registration for the motorcycle show begins at 10 a.m. and there is a voluntary parade ride at noon. At 2 p.m. is judging and awards will be handed out after that. During the show, there will be a 50/50 raffle to benefit the Perry VFW/AMVets Christmas for Kids Project.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 105 E. Polly St., Alex’s Lemonade Stand will be set up, raising money for cancer research.

Starting at 10 a.m., a silent auction takes place on the third floor of city hall with proceeds from the event going toward next year’s fireworks show. The auction ends at 6 p.m.

The flea market is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on city hall grounds. Vendors will be selling crafts, antiques and gently used items.

During PerryFest the Calkins-Macqueen House will be open starting at 11 a.m. There will be an art show featuring local artists.

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