As Summer approaches, so does the anticipation for good vibes in the sunshine with the Feel Good Friday Concert Series! Ten Feel Good Friday concerts are completely underwritten by The Van Wert County Foundation and free to the public. Friday nights in Fountain Park have a rich history of entertaining residents of Van Wert and guests from near and far. The Peony Festival is also a revered Van Wert tradition and the first Feel Good Friday concert kicks-off the weekend in a classic rock fashion on Friday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m. Fans will want to get to the park early to claim their space in the Fountain Park greenspace as this concert will likely see upwards of 1500 in Fountain Park. Lawn chairs and blankets are permitted throughout the park.

The featured concert turns up the volume to summer with jukebox heroes, Head Games: A Tribute To Foreigner. This Atlanta-based band perfectly recreates the music of one of the best-known musical groups in history. Head Games plays all of the top songs that bring back the 70s, 80s, and 90s hits that blared from hot cars cruising down Main Street Van Wert. This First Friday of June may "Feel Like the First Time" at Fountain Park.

Live entertainment is a hallmark of Van Wert. The peony flower also commands a very significant calling card for Northwest Ohio's Music City. Known as the “peony capital of the world” during the early years of the 20th century, Van Wert was renowned for the flowering blooms that filled the fields surrounding the city, but it wasn’t until 1932 that the community’s signature Van Wert Peony Festival was born.

First hosted in the northwest Ohio city on June 7 and 8, 1932, the celebration was organized by the Van Wert Garden Club. The festival took the form of a classic hometown extravaganza, complete with both a daytime and evening parade, dancing and a musical performance.

The festival became an annual tradition, until the outbreak of World War II caused it to be canceled in 1941. It took 14 years for the Van Wert Peony Festival to finally make its return in June 1955. Claire Miller, reporting for The Lima News, wrote in the newspaper’s June 9, 1955, edition that the celebration was back, and in a big way.

“Dancing high school bands, fleecy floats adorned with beautiful girls, martial drill teams, strutting drum and bugle corps, gaily bedecked automobiles, and finally, the dazzling spectacle of Queen Jubilee XI’s Coronation.”

An estimated 100,000 visitors attended that year. Even a curveball from Mother Nature that meant there were few peonies during the 1955 celebration could not dampen the spirit of the revitalized festival.

“Early blooming this year left the community with a minimum of peonies ... but didn’t seem to deter from the beauty or the gayety of the event,” Miller noted, adding that several girls on floats carried bouquets of the flowers.

While the festival endured periods of postponement over the years, it was resurrected again in 1992. Today, the Peony Festival weekend is filled with activities to keep you and your family entertained, beginning with the Feel Good Friday concert. From flowers to the music of Foreigner, Van Wert is the place be to celebrate the festive freedom of summer 2023!

More Info for Headgames
June 2 Friday
Fountain Park


Foreigner Tribute

Fountain Park
Event Starts 7:30 PM