RACINE — Racine’s Party in the Park returned to Star Mill Park over the weekend, featuring musical headliners, family-friendly activities, the crowning of festival royalty and the annual parade.
The 2021 Party in the Park Queen, Molly Hill, was crowned on Saturday afternoon. She will serve as a representative of the Village of Racine in festivals and events throughout the year. The runner up in a very close decision was Rachel Jackson.
The candidates are selected by their peers in May. They then submit an application to a panel of judges made up of community members, and are interviewed by the panel the week before Party in the Park.
Hill is the daughter of Scott Hill and Mary T. Byer Hill. She is a senior at Southern Local High School, and her future plans include attending Ohio University.
Jackson’s parents are Becky and Tim Jackson. She is also a senior at Southern Local High School, and her future plans include attending either Ohio University or The Ohio State University next fall.
Judges said all the candidates were “excellent representatives of what they are looking for in the person to represent Racine: a respectful and positive manner, and to maintain a positive role model experience as an example to others.”
Several organizers said this was the closest race they have witnessed since helping with the contest, and the panel reportedly took over two hours deciding who the winners would be.
Joining Hill and Jackson were fellow candidates Lily Allen, Diamond Call, Kayla Evans, Isabella Fisher, Logan Greenlee, Jacelynn Northup, Kelly Shaver, Ally Shuler.
The festival also included multiple nights of musical entertainment. After the 2020 Party was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, the three-night lineup was well attended and offered a variety of musical genres that included Bluegrass, Rock n Roll, and Country.
Thursday evening featured Bluegrass bands the Ollom Brothers, Sour Mash String Band, and the Sheppard Brothers.
Friday night always brings Rock-in-Roll fans out to the year’s tribute bands. This year featured Dragon’s Eye, and the Kiss Tribute Band Stutter.
Saturday night was Country Music night, and this year’s guests included the Sweet Tea Trio and Dillon Carmichael.
Additional bands also performed during the day alongside activities Party in the Park had to offer — inflatables were a crowd pleaser for the kids, and everyone enjoyed food truck delights. The Kiddie Tractor Pull was also an exciting event for participants and onlookers, and local artists and crafters offered a wide selection of hand-made goods.
Party in the Park is a free event that takes months of planning by the Village of Racine. Organizers said they were pleased with the turnout, and with the community support in planning and executing the event.
To have a Party in the Park, it truly does take a village, and the Village of Racine has again proven its commitment to the annual event.
More from Party in the Park in this weekend’s edition.
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Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.