Trenton Mid-Summer Festival kicks off Friday

Photo by Ilene Flanagan

Brendan Glover showed the proper results of eating blue snow-cones at last year’s Trenton Mid-Summer Festival. More than 100,000 visitors are expected at the 36th annual Festival, which begins Friday and runs through the weekend.

Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON – People who once lived here are often asked by friends when they’ll next be in their downriver home town.

They usually ask in return: “When’s the Festival?” The Trenton Mid-Summer Festival, an arts-and-crafts show launched in the 1970s, grew into an unofficial family/friend/classmate reunion date. Joann Perna, Assistant Director of Trenton Parks and Recreation, said this year organizers decided to make it official.

“Our theme is Hometown USA,” Perna said. “People have been doing it for years anyway, so we decided to bring that theme forward.”

The Festival kicks off Friday for a busy three days of fun along the riverfront. An estimated 100,000 visitors are expected from July 8 to 10 to populate Jefferson Ave. between Maple and Harrison.

The schedule is packed with the works of more than 150 artists and crafters, live music throughout the weekend, a volleyball tournament, a children’s play area, kayak demonstrations and much more.

Yet, at its heart, Perna said the festival was more a small-town tradition, a block party excuse to mingle with friends and neighbors.

“It was the unspoken reunion weekend in Trenton,” Perna said. “People who may have moved out of the area come home, meet up with old friends and go to the Festival.”

That popularity, she said, expanded the festival from its modest origins.

“In the early years it was a one-block event,” said Perna, now entering her 26th festival with Parks and Recreation. “It always had the arts and crafts and food vendors, but over the years it expanded to what it is today.”

That evolution now includes live music, which will keep the main stage busy beginning at noon Friday. This year’s headliners Flashback, Hidden Agenda and Richard Paul lead a lineup of music and entertainment for all tastes.

Organizers recommend making use of the free shuttle service from parking lots at the Kennedy Recreation Center, Trenton High School and Kmart on West Road.

For more information on the festival, schedule and reunions, visit or all Trenton Parks and Recreation at (734) 675-7300.

(James Mitchell can be reached at