A local band, The Family Bed, performs during the 2012 Festival on the Trails. The annual event is back for an eighth round the weekend of June 12-13. File photo

A local band, The Family Bed, performs during the 2012 Festival on the Trails. The annual event is back for an eighth round the weekend of June 12-13. File photo

Danedri Thompson
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Music, food, fun and community pride will be on display when the eighth annual Festival on the Trails rides into Gardner on June 12-13.
The event, first organized in 2007 for the city’s sesquicentennial celebration, features the combined efforts of community volunteers and local businesses.
For the last few years, the festival has been a one-day event. Last year, organizers added an extra day of fun.
New this year, guests can brush up their basketball skills in a 3-on-3 hoops tournament. Two ages groups, 19-29 and over 30, will compete for cash prizes during the Festival. Teams must register to participate.
Children will be able to get their hands dirty with a variety of arts and crafts activities including face painting and a hair-coloring station. Kids can also fly high in a bounce house and strike a pose in a photo booth. Demonstrations by local groups will round out the entertainment.
But the fun isn’t only for children. In conjunction with the festival, the Gardner Historical Museum will host Chatfest on the Trails from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on June 13.
Originally, the event invited Gardner citizens older than 70 years of age, who had lived in the USD 231 for the last 45 years, to enjoy fellowship during the Festival on the Trails. The general public is now invited to attend as some of Gardner’s distinguished citizens share memories and fellowship. Light refreshments will be served.
Those wandering the festival grounds gazing or enjoying fried Twinkies will also be entertained by a variety of musical groups set to perform on the main stage.
Live music kicks-off at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 12. Friday’s line-up will feature performances by the Atlanta Rhythm Section, David George, and The Brandon Miller Band.
Country music star Mark Chesnutt headlines Saturday’s musical line-up. The country icon is best known for songs like, “Too Cold at Home,” “Bubba Shot the Jukebox,” and “It Sure Is Monday.”
Musical artists Outlaw Jim and the Whiskey Benders and State Line Drive will perform on Saturday before Mark Chesnutt takes the stage for the Festival finale.
Concerts on Friday and Saturday are free. Seating is first-come, first-served in lawn chairs, so fans are encouraged to arrive early for the best seats. Coolers will not be allowed, but there will be a beer garden as well as concessions, staffed by local civic groups.
The festival is fully funded by businesses and donations and staffed largely by volunteers.
For more information on next weekend’s event, including a schedule and full list of sponsors, visit www.festivalonthetrails.com.