Harvest Homecoming Parade-3

The New Albany Police lead the Harvest Homecoming Parade down Spring Street last year. The annual parade begins at 3 p.m. Saturday.

NEW ALBANY — The Wailers are coming to New Albany.

The legendary reggae band, made famous by front man Bob Marley until his death in 1981, will perform on the New Albany amphitheater stage Oct. 12 as part of Harvest Homecoming festivities.

Katie Toupin will perform from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and the Wailers will then take the stage. The Saturday night headline act was announced earlier this week and Harvest Homecoming Chairwoman Courtney Lewis is "thrilled" the group is including New Albany as part of its current tour.

"They have been so good to work with," she said. "We wanted to do something a little different, a little more diverse. I literally can't wait."

On Oct. 11, The Roux, Josh Bogard, Revival and 100% Poly will perform on the riverfront, making for a perfect weekend of entertainment, Lewis said. The cost each night is $5.

"We wanted a wow factor and we think we have that with the Wailers," she said. "They are so excited about performing here. I am sure they know nothing about New Albany, but I am excited for them to see what we are all about."

But before the Wailers perform, the 52nd annual Harvest Homecoming will officially kick off Saturday with opening ceremonies and the parade, which starts at 3 p.m. this year. The parade will begin at New Albany High School, proceed south on Vincennes Street to Spring Street, then head west on Spring before ending at Bank Street.

There are 116 units in the parade this year, including several floats. Those floats will be on display near Bicentennial Park following the parade.

"It's a really big parade with a lot of floats. It brings me a huge sense of pride," Lewis said. "I love seeing people so excited about the parade. We want people to come out and enjoy Harvest Homecoming."

Lewis said there seems to be an extra buzz surrounding this year's festival. Ticket sales have been strong for a new event, Harvest Hops Beer Festival, and the annual Friday business luncheon has already sold out. The popular booth days are Oct. 10-13.

"Every member of the Harvest Homecoming team have been so on top of their game," she said. "I am so proud of the entire team. We have a group of volunteers who listen to what visitors are saying."

President-elect Beth White, who is vice president in charge of booths, said there are more than 30 new vendors this year.

"I look forward to this time of year that we celebrate Harvest," White said. "I love seeing my booth vendors that come back every year. Harvest Homecoming is blessed with some super vendors as well as downtown merchants.

"Every year that our volunteers come in to set up booths, I get a little teary-eyed and nervous all at the same time. Never changes no matter how many times you do it."

New entertainment is also being brought to the Samtec Cares Stage at the First Financial parking lot. From 1 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, festival-goers will be able to watch penguins from the Newport Aquarium Wave on Wheels. There will be acts on stage — from puppet shows to the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Quartet — during the four days of booth days.

For more information on the festival, go to harvesthomecoming.com.

Chris Morris is an assistant editor at the News and Tribune. Contact him via email at chris.morris@newsandtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NAT_ChrisM.

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