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Marion Popcorn Festival puts popcorn in the spotlight

Popcorn!
Popcorn!
courtesy foodrepublic.com

Clevelanders and Ohioans love their popcorn. Things just seem so much better, especially movies, when you have popcorn to munch on. Annual consumption of popcorn in the United States exceeds one billion pounds per year which comes to 71 quarts per person.

Ohio is one of the top four states in the country for popcorn consumption (others are Indiana, Iowa and Illinois). Clevelanders can pay homage to this popular snack food at the annual Popcorn Festival in Marion, Ohio on Thursday, September 4, Friday, September 5 and Saturday, September 6. It is approximately a 2 hour drive from Cleveland to Marion.

Marion Popcorn Festival Claiming to be the largest popcorn festival in the world and attracting more than 250,000 visitors each year, the Marion Popcorn Festival was also named one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association.

The festivities kick off at 2 p.m. on Thursday with a special free concert at the Palace Theatre for seniors featuring The Pack is Back (A Tribute to the Rat Pack ) showcasing the music of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin.

Also on Thursday will be the Orville Redenbacher Parade at 6 p.m. with more than 250 units. This year's theme is "Pop Around the Clock".

With one of the largest midways in America, the Festival features lots of popcorn, 300 food vendors, an art show, crafts, a popcorn cooking contest, a corn hole tournament, a pedal tractor pull, amusement rides and various pageants including Ms. Marion Popcorn, Miss Teen Popcorn, Miss Teeny Pop and Wee Pop.

Other activities include a softball tournament, the Popcorn Bowl - Marion Midget Football, Bike Night, a 5K Run, the Popcorn 100 Bicycle Tour and the Poppin Pins Bowling Tournament.

Free entertainment will be provided each night at 8:30 p.m. on the outdoor main stage. Performers include the group Panama (Van Halen Tribute Band) on Thursday, singer Craig Morgan on Friday and the group Night Ranger on Saturday.

This year's Festival will also include a Beer Garden for adults. The Beer Garden will be open until 1 a.m. on Friday.

While in Marion, be sure to pay a visit to the Wyandot Popcorn Museum and get a look at the history of the popcorn industry in Marion along with some interesting memorabilia such as The Dunbar Concession Wagon used by Paul Newman in Central Park to promote his popcorn brand.

Hours for the Marion Popcorn Festival are 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. all three days of the Festival. Admission and parking are free.

For more information about the Marion Popcorn Festival call 740-387-3378 or get online at www.popcornfestival.com.

The Festival is located at Center Street in downtown Marion, Ohio. Marion is 117 miles from Cleveland and it is approximately a 2 hour drive.