By Dan Poorman
In Binghamton, Spiedie Fest is an institution.
The weekend-long, family-friendly festival features plenty of those titular spiedies for eating, but it's also known for its live music, celebrity meet-and-greets, arts and crafts, antique cars and many different contests.
In addition to these activities, 25 hot air balloons are scheduled for five launches over the weekend.
The 33rd annual Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally takes place this weekend at Otsiningo Park, from Friday, Aug. 4, to Sunday, Aug. 6.
Here's what to catch if you plan to attend.
Spiedie Fest 2017 is loaded with live music.
Headlining this year's festival are Styx's Dennis DeYoung, Blue Oyster Cult, Eddie Money, Kellie Picklerand Sara Evans. Syracuse native Savannah Harmon will also perform at the festival.
Friday, Aug. 4
7 p.m.: Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx. DeYoung, former frontman of the multi-platinum, synthy arena rock band that ruled the music world in the mid 1970s through the 1980s, will play some of Styx's biggest hits.
Saturday, Aug. 5
4 p.m.: Amanda Ayala. Ayala is a singer and former contestant on NBC's "The Voice." Ayala was a member of Team Adam (coached by Maroon 5's Adam Levine) on the talent competition show in 2015.
5 p.m.: Blue Oyster Cult. Known for such monster tracks as "Don't Fear (The Reaper)," "Godzilla" and "Burnin' for You," Blue Oyster Cult is one of America's foremost classic rock acts. The Long Island natives pioneered mainstream hard rock, going on to influence heavier groups like Metallica, grunge icons like Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and many of today's psychedelic jam bands, including Buffalo's own moe..
6:30 p.m.: Eddie Money. Money is a singer-songwriter known for his late '70s hits "Baby Hold On" and "Two Tickets to Paradise," and for his 1986 Top 40 smash duet with Ronnie Spector, "Take Me Home Tonight."
Sunday, Aug. 6
3:30 p.m.: Savannah Harmon. Harmon hails from the Central New York area. The young singer-songwriter will be entertaining her fellow Upstate New Yorkers on Sunday on the same bill as Sara Evans and Kellie Pickler.
4 p.m.: Kellie Pickler. America first met Pickler as a contestant on the fifth season of "American Idol." Since her run on "Idol," Pickler has established a fruitful career as a country artist. Her first album, "Small Town Girl," is certified gold.
5:30 p.m.: Sara Evans. A major force in the contemporary country community, Evans has recorded eight albums since the start of her career in 1997. Her 2000 record "Born to Fly" is ceritified multi-platinum. Evans has charted over 20 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs and is a seven-time Top 40 charter.
Two TV stars will be present at this year's Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet these actors up close and personal on Sunday.
Celebrities attending Spiedie Fest are:
Kevin Quinn, actor who portrays the character of "Xander" on the Disney Channel sitcom "Bunk'd."
Paul Wesley, actor who portrays the character of "Stefan" on The CW's supernatural drama "The Vampire Diaries."
Otsiningo Park is the place to be for hot air balloons all weekend. There are five launches planned over the course of the festival, weather permitting.
A balloon launch is scheduled to occur at the start and finish of each day of Spiedie Fest, with the exception of Friday, which will see its first launch at 6:30 p.m. A popular balloon event is Night Glow, wherein several balloons are inflated on the field at 9 p.m. Friday (they do not launch until dusk).
Cameras are recommended for this event, as it becomes a light show.
If you're planning on attending this year's Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally, you should know a few things about getting in.
Daily walk-in admission to the festival is $8 per person, with children 10 and under getting in for free. Daily admission does not include concert or celebrity meet and greet access.
All walk-in admission for Friday is complimentary courtesy of Visions Federal Credit Union. However, a Spiedie Fest ticket or concert pass is still required to enter the concert area that evening.
Standard Spiedie Fest tickets (multi-day tickets) are priced at $20 each. They can be purchased at the following participating Binghamton businesses: Weis Markets (all locations), Wegmans, Sidney Federal Credit Union, the Oakdale Mall Office and Lupo's. Tickets are also available for purchase online via Ticketmaster.
No pets, coolers, backpacks or alcohol of any kind are permitted at Otsiningo Park during the festival.
On-site parking is not available at the park. Parking for the festival is at Broome Community College (BCC), located on Front Street just north of Exit 5 off I-81. Traffic can also access BCC from Exit 6 off I-81.
Parking costs $5.
Shuttles will take festivalgoers from BCC to Otsiningo Park all weekend. Shuttles run from 2 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday, 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Festival hours are as follows:
Friday, Aug. 4: 3 p.m. to dusk
Saturday, Aug. 5: 6 a.m. to dusk
Sunday, Aug. 6: 6 a.m. to dusk
For more information, visit the SPIEDIE FEST WEBSITE