WASHINGTON — The Walldogs are coming to Washington and bringing their festival with them.
Artists from the area and across the globe will descend on Washington in summer 2022 as part of the buildup to the celebration of the city's bicentennial in 2025.
Murals depicting Washington's history will be painted on buildings in the city during a three- to five-day Walldogs festival.
"We're thrilled to be selected for this once-in-a-lifetime experience for our town," said Toni Minton, president of the Washington Historical Society and chair of the Washington Walldogs committee.
Speaking from the Historical Society perspective, Minton said, "Our mission statement is to 'acquire, display and preserve Washington's history,' and what better way than a Walldogs festival?"
Walldogs founder Nancy Bennett, who lives in Centerville, Iowa, said no dates have been set for the Walldogs festival in Washington.
"It'll probably be at the end of July or the first part of August that year," she said. "The (Washington Walldogs) committee has an unusual project they're looking at, but I'm not free to say (anything) about it yet because we haven't gone to look at it to see if it's even feasible."
Also on the three-member Washington Walldogs committee are Jennifer Essig, Historical Society vice president and Washington bicentennial committee member, and Jewel Ward, Historical Society treasurer.
Bennett said the Washington Walldogs committee met with her in Centerville to discuss holding a Walldogs festival in Washington.
Now that it's confirmed the Walldogs are coming to Washington, the committee's workload has intensified.
"They need to look at walls, talk to building owners and do fundraising," Bennett said. "If the committee can raise $100,000 to $120,000, we can do multiple murals."
Essig said the Walldogs festival will be funded by private donations, with the city of Washington providing services like it does for other community events like Good Neighbor Days.
Washington building owners must give their permission for a mural to be painted on their building, she said.
"Small towns that have hosted a Walldogs festival have reported economic benefits from tourism both during the festival and afterward," Essig said.
"It's important to celebrate our city's history as part of our bicentennial," she said. "The stories that will be painted by the Walldogs will be historically significant for Washington, and public art that residents and tourists can enjoy."
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve. Nick Vlahos contributed to this story.