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Super Celebration

Local festival returns to celebrate Ada’s impact on the big game

The village of Ada will again have its own Super Bowl extravaganza.

The second annual “Made in Ada Wilson Football Festival” on Feb. 3 will celebrate Ada’s connection to the biggest football game of the year. Ada’s Wilson Sporting Goods factory makes the footballs used in the Super Bowl, and the day’s events will again capture that theme, leading up to a “football drop” at midnight on the cusp of Super Bowl Sunday.

The hub of activities will be the Historic Depot Park and adjacent parking lot, located at 9 Central Ave. and South High Street. This will be the location of the ball drop. A new attraction this year is a large stage that will be located at the east end of the parking lot. Among other new features are a robotics football demonstration by ONU engineering students in the depot parking lot, weather permitting, and the opportunity for children to take a swing at a football-shaped piñata.

Ohio Northern University students watch as the football is lowered at Historic Depot Park during the 2017 Made in Ada Wilson Football Festival.The day’s events look at the Super Bowl from various perspectives and offer opportunities for football fans of all levels of interest. For example, area college football coaches will offer insights during a pre-game analysis at 5:30 p.m. in the Bear Cave, located in ONU’s McIntosh Center. Participants include ONU head football coach Dean Paul, Bluffton University head coach Denny Dorrell and University of Findlay head coach Rob Keys. They will be joined by referee Bill Alge, BA ’68, JD ’73, a veteran who has officiated all levels of college football from Division III to Division I, including several bowl games. The lifelong Findlay-area resident earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Ohio Northern.

The festival’s activities begin at 4 p.m. with the showing of the movie Draft Day starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner, which features NFL draft day maneuvering by a fictitious Cleveland Browns general manager. The festival headquarters opens at the historic depot at 4:30 p.m., and indoor tailgating begins at Center on Central at the same time.

Local resident Wynn Hauenstein constructed the football that is used in the drop. The 10-foot football to be dropped is the same ratio as a regular football. It has a frame of three-quarter-inch conduit pipe and a covering of rip-stop nylon with lights to provide illumination.

The village of Ada has a unique relationship with Wilson Sporting Goods and the Super Bowl, and this event offers the opportunity to come together and celebrate that connection,” says Ada Mayor David Retterer, a former computer science faculty member at Ohio Northern. “This event is about more than just football. It is also a commemoration of the spirit of a small town. It has taken the cooperation of individuals throughout the village to put together this event.

The festival is an initiative of the Ada Area Chamber of Commerce.

Raffle tickets to win Wilson footballs and two grand prizes will be sold throughout the day. Also, there will be opportunities to purchase limited edition silk-screened posters, created by ONU professor of art Melissa Eddings Mancuso, at the depot.

The full schedule of events includes:

  • 4 p.m.  Free Showing of “Draft Day” starring Kevin Costner at the Ada Theater.
  • 4:30 p.m. Festival headquarters opens at the historic railroad depot. Posters, raffle tickets and other merchandise for sale.
  • 4:30 p.m. Center on Central opens for indoor tailgating.
  • 5 p.m. Outdoor tailgating begins. Depot parking lot.
  • 5:30 p.m. Pre-game analysis with coaches and local football experts. ONU McIntosh Center, Bear Cave.
  • 7 p.m. Piñata at Center on Central. (For children 12 years old and younger.)
  • 7-11:30 p.m. Jive Turkeys performing at Viva Maria.
  • 8 p.m. Greg Fox, master of ceremonies of evening activities, introducing the evening schedule.
  • 8 p.m. Football-themed games for adults; Wilson football raffles begin.
  • 8:30 p.m. ONU robotic football demonstration. Depot parking lot/tailgating area (weather permitting).
  • 9-11:30 p.m. Bad Luck and Trouble performing at Center on Central.
  • 11:30 p.m. Two grand prize drawings: a Super Bowl LII game day ball and Yeti Cooler and a Super Bowl game day ball and a free night at the Inn at Ohio Northern University with gift basket.
  • 11:58 p.m. Two-minute warning for football drop.
  • 11:59 p.m. 30-second countdown begins for football drop.