England will invade Miami County tonight and, judging by the mustaches on their faces, the citizens couldn’t be happier.
The Grammy Award-winning band Mumford and Sons, whose symbol is a mustache, will headline their Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Tour in Troy tonight at 8:30.
But the weather could disrupt the festivities, as there is a slight chance for thunderstorms and scattered showers.
Today’s high is expected to be in the upper 80s, according to WHIO-TV meteorologist Erica Collura.
Mumford and Sons members were being driven around downtown Troy on golf carts before the festival officially kicked off Friday afternoon.
Troy Main Street Executive Director Karin Manovich’s golf cart nearly crashed into another cart that was carrying the band’s guitarist Winston Marshall, she said.
Manovich, whose non-profit organization promotes the economic revitalization of downtown Troy, urged area residents to attend the show so they can see for themselves what all the fuss has been about. Gates open at noon with the first band of the day, Bear’s Den, taking the stage at 1:45 p.m.
Admission is $120 at the gate.
The downtown street fair kicks off at 10 a.m. with music on Main and Market streets stages. It’s free for those with Gentlemen of the Road passport tickets and costs $5 a day for all others. There has been dancing in the streets late into the night and celebrations in the campgrounds set up on park and open space near a river.
The festival is not just about fun and games.
When the concert was first announced in February, Diana Thompson, executive director of the Miami County Visitors Bureau, estimated that there would be a $12.6 million economic boost to the county, city, state and region.
Other estimates have placed the potential impact as high as $2o million.
“This is really putting Troy, Ohio, on the map, national and internationally,” Thompson said, noting that she met four men in town for the festival from Iceland.
Fans from 48 states and six countries are expected to attend the concert.
Business owners and residents are ecstatic because the show is shoring up Troy’s quaint amenities and friendly spirit.
Music lovers from the Miami Valley and around the country praised the city on Friday.
Mumford and Sons fan Patrick and Joanne Kirk of Chicago said the Troy is clean, and its people are nicer than an Illinois city they visited during last year’s Gentlemen of the Road tour.
“Downtown Troy has much more of a community sense, which is nice to have in addition to the music scene,” Joanne Kirk said.
Matt Garton of Dayton, a bluegrass fan, said he couldn’t resist a festival so close to home.
I think it is fantastic and I hope they do it again,” he said.
Festival contractors Seth Bieneman and Tiara Choudahary said the Troy festivities are among the most organized they have ever worked.
They said the town was welcoming from the start, and the community rolled out the “red mustache” for the Mumford and Sons fans.
Mustaches and posters and paintings about the concerts decorate most downtown businesses.
“As soon as we got here, this place looked fake,” Bieneman said. “The first thing you notice is this place is beautiful and you guys take care of (it).”
Celebrating a birthday this weekend, downtown Troy resident Hayden Fast plans to watch the concert from her rooftop.
She was blown away by the positives the festival has brought to Troy.
“It is good for our community. Everybody is spirited,” Fast said.” Everybody is super nice from the tour.”
Her sister Paige Fast said the event benefits the community and downtown businesses.
“People don’t really recognize Troy, (with it) being a small town,” Paige Fast said. “It is bringing a lot of people together. I think it’s very wholesome…It is nice to see people recognize Troy.”
Lisa Bauer, owner of the Mayflower Arts Center, said the festival has been a great marketing tool for Troy.
“Our thing has always been the Strawberry Festival,” she said. “This is like the best day of Strawberry festival on steroids times a million. This is fabulous; it’s bringing people in from even out of country.”