Markle gears up for inaugural block party celebration on Fourth of July

Not to be daunted by the absence of the Wildcat Festival this year, the Markle Area Chamber of Commerce and several other area sponsors are making sure that the town has something to celebrate on Wednesday, July 4.

The inaugural 4th of July Block Party will take place, starting in downtown Markle at 4 p.m. and ending at the Markle Fish and Game Club Park with fireworks at dusk. The event includes free food for residents living in Markle’s 46770 zip code, games and activities for kids, live music and more.

Mark Schaufelberger, owner of the Markle Do it Best Hardware and vice president of the local chamber of commerce, says the one-day party will replace the Wildcat Festival, which had seen dwindling attendance in the past few years.

“We decided to do a ‘re-do,’” he says. “We decided to just knock it down to almost half-to-three-quarters of a day event downtown block party and just change up the whole thing.”

The party will be located on Morse Street, which will be blocked off between Clark and Miller streets for the event.

Food will be a big part of the bash, with hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and drinks provided free to those who have a postcard invitation or proof of residence. The meal will be served between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. People who live outside the zip code can also purchase food during the day.

The Bread Guy will be selling croissant pockets and other pastries; Nadean’s Cakes, Cookies and Catering will serve up pie and ice cream; and The Berg Ale Haus will have beer and a limited food menu in a “block party beer bistro” located downtown.
Kids’ activities, provided by Sweetcakes Entertainment, include henna tattoos, face painting and balloon art. There will also be some cornhole boards set up as well.

All activities are free for everyone, Schaufelberger says.

While the block party is going on, The Markle Historical Society will have the historic log cabin open at Mill Park and several activities will be going on there, including a watermelon eating contest, seed-spitting contest, 3-legged race, root beer floats and a 50/50 raffle.

Two live, local bands will also perform during the block party. The Jon Durnell Band and Fireball Matinée will provide rock, blues and classical rock, beginning at 4:30 p.m.

“There’s a member of each band who lives in Markle,” Schaufelberger says, adding that both bands have Facebook pages.

Topping off the day will be the free fireworks show, getting underway around 10 p.m. Those attending the downtown and fireworks events are welcome to bring lawn chairs to insure a place to sit and relax.

“We just tried to do something that’s relaxing and bring the community downtown to socialize. Nothing stressful – it’s just a community activity and trying to get the community to come together and hang out.”

The block party is sponsored in part by the Town of Markle, Novae, Markle Church of Christ, Markle United Methodist Church, Branham Equipment Sales & Exports Inc., Markle Hardware, Myers Funeral Home and I-69 Trailer Center.

Updated information can be found on the Markle Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MarkleChamber.