Festival Committee, Town of Hillsboro Announces Plans for 2022 Bell Festival

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Festival of the Bells is set to return to Hillsboro in July, according to an announcement from the Festival of the Bells Committee and the City of Hillsboro Wednesday morning.

Festival Committee Chairman Rick Williams and Vice Chairman Bev Carroll joined Hillsboro Mayor Justin Harsha, Director of Security and Services Brianne Abbott, Auditor (and Festival Committee Member) Alex Butler and Superintendent of Public Works Shawn Adkins for a joint press conference Feb. 16 at the City Building.

The 2022 event is set to return July 7-9 to a planned new green space on West Main Street in Hillsboro at the former site of Highland Enterprise/Union Stockyards. The last two Festival of the Bells events were held at Southern State Community College’s central campus, in 2018 and 2019, after being held in downtown Hillsboro for many years.

“It won’t be downtown this year,” Harsha said. “It will be in the new green space on West Main Street, and we are doing a lot of preparation to get the site ready.

“There are a lot of circumstances why this decision was made, but this is our future space for events, so it is the perfect place to hold the festival. We are happy to bring the festival back this year and we we look forward to having a good one.

Williams added that “it’s nice to be back in uptown.”

One of the reasons for the move to the planned green space, instead of holding the festival on Main and High streets downtown, is due to the expected detours of infrastructure projects, according to Adkins. This includes a previously announced storm sewer project on South West Street and a water main project on North West Street.

“We have a few infrastructure projects planned this year that are going to affect the route of the detour,” Adkins said.

Williams said the committee “agreed” with the new site. Abbott and Harsha added that they hope the new green space will also lend itself to suitable new locations for some of the usual festival activities, including indoor space for craft stalls/vendors.

“We’ve discussed if the basketball tournament will be able to use Railroad Street Park, and then the 5k event can use the railroad walking paths as well,” Abbott said. “It’s all in the general neighborhood right there with the new green space.”

Harsha said the city will work with the committee to finalize the route and determine any necessary road closures in the area.

“We’ve worked with the city, and it’s been great, great cooperation with everyone,” Williams said. “We team up”

The Festival of the Bells committee also announced the entertainment lineup for this year, which includes Caylee Hammack on Thursday, July 7; Elvie Shane on Friday, July 8; and Jordan Feliz on Saturday, July 9. Hammack and Feliz were previously scheduled to appear at the 2020 and 2021 festivals, both of which were later canceled due to COVID concerns.

Caylee Hammack is an Academy of Country Music Award winner and an ACM and Country Music Association Award nominee.

“She made music with Reba and Luke Bryan,” Williams said.

According to his biography on the Capitol Records Nashville website (umgnashville.com), “Hammack is all about the truth, the full and complete truth,” as seen through his debut album, “If It Wasn’t For You”, released in 2020.

“Hammack co-wrote and co-produced every track in the 13-song collection,” according to his Capital Records biography. “Hammack has been noted as an ‘artist to watch’ by outlets including The Bobby Bones Show, Rolling Stone and HITS Magazine for her ‘mixture of clever lyrics and haunting melodies’ (Music Row). With her Top 30 single “Family Tree” marking the most-added single to country radio by a female artist in more than three years, Hammack has “created a kind of country music that’s bigger — and brighter — than real life” (HITS Magazine ).”

Hammack was also one of several guest vocalists on Miranda Lambert’s cover of “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” for which they won the ACM Music Event of the Year award. His other recordings include “Just Friends” and “Forged in the Fire”. She released a version of her song “Small Town Hypocrite” featuring Chris Stapleton, as well as “Redhead”, featuring Reba McEntire.

She has appeared on tour with Lambert, McEntire, Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne, Eric Church and Trisha Yearwood.

Friday night, after a concert by local band Blue Steel, country music singer Elvie Shane will take the stage.

“Elvie Shane just released a number one hit, ‘My Boy,’ in December,” Williams said. “He’s a bit of a mover and shaker.”

Shane, who hails from Caneyville, Ky., released his debut album “Backslider” in October, which included the aforementioned “My Boy” – described on his website as “the tight throat anthem to stepfather.” ”

“Co-written with Russell Sutton, Lee Starr and Nick Columbia, it was born out of tenderness and truth about the bond Shane shares with his stepson,” according to elvieshane.com. “As his own father predicted, this connection wasn’t part of Shane’s plan, but it got him where he needed to be. And so did the song.

According to his bio, “Backslider” features 15 songs all co-written by Shane with a combination of “the crunchy hooks of classic rock, the everyday poetry and nostalgia of country music, and the emotional electricity of gospel and R&B.” His latest single, “County Roads”, was released in early February.

Christian pop artist Jordan Feliz will headline Saturday night after opening act Redemption Flood, a contemporary and cult Christian band from Columbus. The annual Christian Night Show is sponsored by the Hillsboro Ministerial Association and local churches and businesses.

According to Centricity Records (https://centricitymusic.com/), Feliz was nominated for five Dove Awards (including New Artist of the Year) in 2016. His latest album, “Say It”, is “a healthy mix of pop, gospel and soul and features some of Feliz’s most transparent lyrics to date,” his label states.

“While his eyes are fixed on things above, Feliz is also focused on the present moment and eager to proclaim the message God has given him,” his biography reads. “Rest assured, Feliz practices what he preaches. He tells it like it is and gives God all the credit along the way.

Felix released three more albums on the Centricity label “Beloved”, “The River” and “Future”. His songs include the #1 hit “The River” as well as numerous Top 10 hits, such as “Faith”, “Beloved”, “Witness” and “Never Too Far Gone”.

He is currently one of the featured artists on Matthew West’s Brand New Tour, along with Cain, Anne Wilson and Hannah Kerr.

“He’s one of the best artists,” Carroll said. “His concerts are sold out and he is very successful. His gigs aren’t even always easy to fit in, so we feel very lucky to see him coming. He’s going to put on a great show. »

Plans for other festival activities – including the parade, car show, basketball and cornhole tournaments, 5K race and more – are still in the works and will be announced in the months to come, according to the committee. The Festival of the Bells website (https://www.thefestivalofthebells.com/) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/festivalofthebells/) will include additional updates.

In addition to Williams, Carroll and Butler, the Festival of the Bells committee also includes Tom Zile, Connie Williams, Diana Setty, Tara Pendell, Jodi Murarescu, Taylor Eversole, Jordyn Evans, Tiffany McCoy, Paul Worley and John Willis. Williams said anyone interested in joining the committee or sponsoring the 2022 Bell Festival can contact any committee member, with contact details available on the festival’s website.

“We are looking for sponsors,” Williams said. “We will contact our former sponsors, of course, and I hope everyone will be involved.”

Anyone interested in setting up a vendor booth or information booth can also contact the appropriate committee member.

“We’re happy to be back,” Butler said. “It is the intention of the committee to come back with a strong festival, a good festival. We regret that circumstances have prevented this for the past two years, but we are happy to be back and ready to get to work and once again provide one of the staples of the Hillsboro community.

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