Jul. 15—WAPAKONETA — The city of Wapakoneta has been alive all week for the Summer Moon Festival, but the best of the best events have been saved for the weekend.
Wapak has gone all-in on their spaced-out festival theme, teaming up with the Armstrong Air and Space Museum to bring new events and exhibits to the festival, along with some summer classics like live music, food trucks, shopping and drinking.
"We do about eight blocks that we close down by Saturday and are in full force with so much to do," said Wapakoneta Chamber of Commerce executive director Jackie Martell. "And having a world-class museum like the Armstrong museum right in town with their events, there's something for everyone."
Visitors will have an opportunity to meet and greet with NASA astronauts, as well as the Apollo 11 frogmen on Friday and Saturday in downtown Wapak and at the museum. This weekend marks the first time all four frogmen have been together since the mission in 1969, where they were tasked with retrieving the astronauts from the ocean after returning to Earth.
Museum director Dante Centuori said that the events and circumstances of this year make this year's festival extra special.
"I've talked to a lot of people in the same situation, the first time they've gotten to do something since the pandemic has been special," he said. "It's nice to put together a festival that kind of feels like old times."
Featured events at the museum include lunar rover demonstrations, rocket demonstrations from Wright Stuff Rocketeers and the "Run to the Moon" 5K/10K on Saturday morning.
While space is the central theme of the event, there are other events to enjoy for those who prefer planet Earth. Downtown Wapak will feature the 3rd Annual Moon Market, with more than 60 local vendors, as well as a beer garden, wiener dog races, a full lineup of live performers, a car and tractor show and a variety of games and activities for kids.
"To be able to invite people back for our big festival that people have always enjoyed, but especially the fact that we celebrated the 50th anniversary and hosted over 50,000 in 2019," Martell said. "We just feel like this is our opportunity to embrace the fact that we can enjoy live music together again and all of the events and contests and enjoyment that people have come to expect."