The Wapakoneta Summer Moon Festival, a 10-day celebration in astronaut Neil Armstrong’s hometown, kicks off Friday, July 12 and Saturday, July 13, with a hot air balloon rally at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds. Balloons will be launched at 6:30 p.m. both days, with a night glow event at 8:45 p.m. July 13.
On Saturday, July 13, a WBGU documentary “First Steps: First on the Moon” will premiere at the Wapakoneta Performing Arts Center at 3 p.m. The documentary tells the story of Armstrong’s youth in Auglaize County.
A parade in Armstrong’s honor will step off from the Auglaize County Fairgrounds at 3 p.m. July 14, ending downtown. The parade is followed by “Sounds of Summer: A Beach Boys Tribute” and a picnic at the Armstrong Air & Space Museum.
July 15, is ’60s Day at the Wapakoneta WaterPark, with a presentation about the Apollo 11 mission. There will be live music, late-night dining, flashlight tours of historic buildings, luminarias and more, from 9 p.m. to midnight, in downtown Wapakoneta that night.
July 16 is the 50th anniversary of the Saturn V launch of Apollo 11. The Armstrong Air & Space Museum will celebrate with model rocket workshops and launches.
At 6 p.m., St. Paul United Church of Christ — the Armstrong family’s home church — will serve food made from 1960s recipes. Reservations are required. Following at 7:30 p.m., Chris Hart, portraying Neil Armstrong, will make a presentation at the church. Reservations are not required for this part of the evening.
Also at 7:30 p.m., the Miss Summer Moon Festival Pageant will be held at Wapakoneta High School Performing Arts Center, showcasing local students.
From July 17-20, the streets in downtown Wapakoneta will close for a street party that includes carnival games, music, a beer garden and food trucks, car and tractor shows, and more.
The world’s largest MoonPie, created by the Chattanooga Bakery, will be displayed in downtown Wapakoneta on July 19. Weighing 50 pounds and measuring 40 inches in diameter, it will be eaten at 7:30 p.m.
From July 19-21, the Armstrong Air & Space Museum will host visiting NASA astronauts, space inflatables, interactive science experiments, rocket launches and more. Shuttle service will run between the museum and downtown activities. Various races will be held July 20.
The celebration ends with the “Wink at the Moon” concert at 7 p.m. July 21, featuring the Lima Area Concert Band. “When the concert ends, join us, as suggested by Mrs. Armstrong at her husband’s passing in 2012, in giving Mr. Armstrong a little wink at the moon,” says the event brochure.