They come from near and far.

Die-hard Dr Pepper fans who can’t get enough of that original recipe are expected to converge on Dublin this week to take part in the oldest Dr Pepper bottling plant’s birthday celebration.

This year, Dublin Dr Pepper turns 118 - and it’s hitting the Yellow Brick Road to celebrate.

 On Friday, Keep Dublin Beautiful will host the Dublin AlleyFest in conjunction with the celebration.

Browse the unique, handmade arts and crafts as you listen to live music by Layne Golden and the 10-2-4 Band. Wrap up the night with a hot air balloon glow and a viewing of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz by starlight on the Dr Pepper Stage.

“The most unique thing we have this year are three life-size hot air balloons,” Dodd said. “They will be performing a glow from 8 to 9 p.m. Friday, and if you’ve never seen it (a glow), it’s spectacular.”

But that’s not all. The real fun begins on Saturday with a 10, 2 and 4k run with proceeds benefiting the Dublin Lion’s Club charities. The run will begin at 8 a.m. Entry fees are $30 for the 10k, $20 for the 2k and $25 for the 4k.

New to this year’s celebration is the Tour de Pepper bike ride with 9, 32, and 64-mile courses for riders of all ages. Families are encouraged to participate in the bike parade around the Dublin High school, where kids ride for free. The Tour de Pepper will begin at 8:30. Registration will be available the day of the race at the registration booth at Dublin High School beginning at 7 a.m. There is a $35 admission fee.

The Dublin Dr Pepper Carnival will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with games and activities for everyone. In honor of the Wizards’ flight back to Kansas, there will also be several beautiful hot air balloons on exhibit. Entertainment on the Dr Pepper Stage will include live 40s big band sounds like Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. 

Tours of the oldest Dr Pepper Bottling Plant will be free to visitors who want to see firsthand how this one of a kind soft drink is produced. The Dublin Dr Pepper Can will serve free Dr Pepper all day - and there will be plenty of birthday cake to go around.

The annual birthday party, which began in 1991 when the plant observed its 100th birthday, is a “Thank you” celebration from the Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling Co. to their customers. All proceeds from the event benefit local and area non-profit and charitable organizations.

So join Dublin Dr Pepper this week for a stroll back in time on the yellow brick road to celebrate some of the special things that made America great.

For more information, call Dodd or Rhonda Jeske at 254-445-4210 or visit the Web site at www.dublindrpepper.com.