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Fun, fireworks and freedom

By Adam Harringa

Every Fourth of July, organizers plan and brace for an influx of fun seekers, as 20,000 to 30,000 people pack Main Street for a parade, and hang around for a large fireworks display. Both are always the highlight of Freedom Fest, Austin’s biggest celebration, which in 2013 has gone country. The 28th-annual, five-day Freedom Fest, from Wednesday, July 3 through Sunday, July 7, will feature a grand parade and fireworks on the Fourth of July, and the themed Town & Country Day on July 5. The day after the Fourth will include an antique and new tractor show with Lee Sacket, hot air balloon rides, an arts and craft show, Bingo, and free activities for children all day, along with the usual Bandshell Park stage entertainment. “It’s all tying into the farm theme,” said Sandy Forstner, executive director of the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce. Friday’s stage entertainment will also feature Dennis Charnecki and the DC Drifters’ Vegas-themed music, and The Toonies “Fabulous 50s Family Fun Show.” The events at Bandshell Park are usually popular, with families setting up with blankets and picnic baskets. But the biggest draw are the parade

and fireworks on the Fourth. “The Fourth of July is always the focus of Freedom Fest,” Forstner said. “And of course you can’t have a Fourth of July without a parade and fireworks.” The parade route will stay the same, marching down Main Street from Eighth Avenue Northwest to Ninth Place Southwest. Old favorites remain, but newer activities such as The Hormel Institute third annual “Walk for a Cancer-Free World,” and the Little Miss Sparkler & Firecracker King Pageant are expected to draw a crowd, too. The festival kicks off on Wednesday with the Jaycees’ street dance from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m., featuring musicians the Amish Playboyz and Seeds. Saturday is all about sports, recreation and a little competition, with a children’s fishing contest at East Side Lake from 9 to 11 a.m., the YMCA’s Hog Jog 5-mile road race starting at 8 a.m. sharp at East Side Lake, and the 25-mile Dan Ulwelling bike race at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center at noon. The Austin Eagles Club will also full slate of fun for Saturday, with a bake sale, car show, and bean bag and poker tournaments. On Sunday, the Morning Lions will host their “fly-in breakfast,” from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Austin Airport.

Look for a full schedule and details on Pages 4 & 5


Celebrate community and country A

ustin is the place to be over the long Fourth of July weekend as people from near and far join together for the 28th annual celebration of Freedom Executive director of the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce Fest, July 3-7. This year’s slate of activities features a number of new events and activities, but the emphasis remains the same as always: family, friends, community and arranged by Austin musical promoter country. Denny Charnecki. “Freedom Fest is red, white and blue Oh, and let’s not forget the area’s most through and through, and there’s somespectacular fireworks display — provided by thing to do for all of you,” chimed Festival Flashing Thunder — is set to go off at dusk, Director Jeff Baldus. July 4, over the bandshell. You won’t want Let’s start with the parade. More than to miss this one! 100 units are expected to march down hisActivities return to Bandshell Park on July toric Main Street on Independence Day. 5 with a whole new theme: Town and Twelve are musical entries, including Country Day. There will be live stage entermarching bands from Austin, Southland tainment, concessions, arts and crafts, and Lyle-Pacelli/Glenville-Emmons. Others Bingo and a taste of country life. include the Lee Sackett Inc. of Waltham and Rochester CaleSEMA Equipment are helping to The Austin Packers pose with their Section 1AAA trophy in March after they defeated Red Wing donian Pipe and at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester to reach the state tournament. The basketball team and all organize a tractor show in the Drum Corps, other state participants will be the grand marshals of this year’s parade. Herald file photo park, featuring both vintage and drumlines from modern day equipment. FFA Blooming Prairie possible through the financial support of Plan a party. Invite your family and friends. and 4-H Club members will host and Albert Lea, more than 150 business and organizational The entertainment is on us. It’s a great time a variety of old fashioned games the always popusponsors. Thank them with your business. to be in Austin; let’s celebrate! (think three-legged and “egg lar Su Fu Du from and spoon” races), petting zoo, Sioux Falls, cow milking and more. We’ll Austin’s Big Band have horse-drawn wagon and and Community hot air balloon rides, too! Band, and Albert -Jeff Baldus, festival director “We’re an agricultural comLea’s Alley Kats. munity, and we just thought it “We couldn’t would be fun if we celebrated be happier with our roots,” Baldus said. “We’ll this year’s parade start with a variety of activities that let lineup,” Baldus noted. “Music makes a paeveryone get a taste of country. Then we’ll rade and we’ll have lots of it, this year, one in every eight is a musical entry. The parade cap off the day with a Vegas-style show on the bandshell, featuring eight musical legstarts at 11 a.m. The route is one-mile long ends. Denny Charnecki always puts tofrom Eighth Avenue Northwest to Eighth gether a great show, and this one will Avenue Southwest. Find your spot early befeature costumed performances from cause there are literally tens of thousands of Buddy Holly, Sonny and Cher, Tina Turner, spectators watching. The city does a great Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, Neil Diajob decorating Main Street, as well, with mond, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.” flags and flowers lining the way. It’s a specEvents turn active on Saturday, July 6 tacular sight.” with the Kids Fishing Contest and 5-Mile Grand marshals for the parade are state Hog Jog at East Side Lake, followed by the participants from Austin schools. 25-Mile Dan Ulwelling Bike Race at the Jay Music will be in the air throughout FreeC. Hormel Nature Center. The Austin Eagles dom Fest. Austin Jaycees host their annual Club will host a full day of activities, that Street Dance July 3 at Torge’s Live with the day as well, including a car show, live music Amish Playboyz and Seeds. Seventeen and more. hours of stage entertainment has been The Morning Lions Fly-In Breakfast caps scheduled for Bandshell Community Park Freedom Fest activities, Sunday morning at July 4-5. Featured performers include the the Austin Airport. Austin Symphony Orchestra, Austin ComFreedom Fest is organized by the Austin munity and Big Band, The Bissen Family Area Chamber of Commerce, and is made Band, and a special Las Vegas-style show,

Sandy Forstner

“Freedom Fest is red, white and blue through and through, and there’s something to do for all of you.”

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Walk for a CancerFree World returns for its third year Event slated for 5:30 p.m. July 5

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he Hormel Institute is partnering with local groups for the third annual “Walk for a Cancer-Free World,” which will be part of this year’s Freedom Fest. The 1-mile walking loop begins at 4 p.m. on July 5 and ends at The Hormel Institute. Participants will go through nearby neighborhoods and past the Hormel Foods Corporate Office. Following the walk, The Hormel Institute, Mower Refreshed, YMCA of Austin and HyVee dietitian Jen Haugen will offer healthy living giveaways and information until 5:30 p.m. Registration is $15 per person and $30 per family. Pre-registration is available at the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce. Sameday registration will be accepted from 3:30 to 4 p.m. at The Hormel Institute. All registration money from the event goes directly to research. —Austin Daily Herald

Cody Peterson was part of the front of the pack of walkers at The Hormel Institute’s Walk for a Cancer-Free World last year. Herald file photo

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 3

2013 FREEDOM FEST: SCHEDULE

OF EVENTS

•Jaycees Street Dance, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Torgeʼs Live, featuring Amish Playboyz and Seeds, $5 cover charge, tickets at the door •Downtown Retailers Fashion Show, 3 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre stage.

•Miss Sparkler / Mr. Firecracker Pageant, 3:30 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre stage, open to girls and boys ages 5-8, registration forms available at the Chamber Office, YMCA, and Overby Orthodontics office.

•31st annual Mini Piggy Fun Run, 10:45 a.m. on Main Street before the parade. •Independence Day Parade, 11 a.m.; on Main Street from the Spam Museum parking lot to Bandshell Park. •Bags Tournament, 2 p.m., just north of the Bandshell, registration at 1 p.m.; $10 per person. •Fire Department Water Wars, 2-5 p.m., behind the Bandshell. •Bingo, 2-9 p.m. at the Bandshell Community Park Pavilion. Free Ice Cream Social, 2-4 p.m. at the Westminster Presbyterian Church.

•Bandshell Community Park stage entertainment, 1-10 p.m. -1-3 p.m., Rochester Caledonian Pipe Band -1:30-2 p.m., opening ceremony/flag raising -2-3 p.m., The Alley Katz Band -3:30-5 p.m., The Austin Big Band -5:15-6:15 p.m., Austin High School Jazz & Mariachi Bands -6:30-8 p.m., Austin Community Band -8-8:30 p.m., announcements and fireworks raffle drawings -8:30-10 p.m., Austin Symphony Orchestra -Dusk, giant fireworks display

THURSDAY, JULY 4

LEFT: A veteran looks into an American flag as it blows over his head during the parade last year. ABOVE: Last year’s parade grand marshal Spammy waves to the crowd. Hormel Foods Corp. celebrated the 75th anniversary of the first can of Spam rolling off the line.

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FRIDAY, JULY 5

•Bingo, 2 to 8 p.m. at the Bandshell Community Park Pavilion. •The Hormel Instituteʼs third annual “Walk for a Cancer Free World,” 4-5 p.m. The new, shorter 1-mile route starts and ends at Hormel Institute, $15 per person or $45 per family, with proceeds going for Institute cancer research. Bandshell Community Park stage entertainment, 12-8 p.m. -Noon-12:45 p.m., The Toonies “Family Fun Show” -1-1:30 p.m., Jane Taylor Academy of Dance -1:45-2:15 p.m., Bridgetʼs Dance Conservatory -2:30-3:15 p.m., The Toonies “Fabulous ʻ50ʼs Family Fun Show” -3:30-5 p.m., The Bissen Family Band -6-8 p.m., DC Drifters will perform Ritchie Volens, The Big Bopper, Tina Turner, Marilyn Monroe, Sonny & Cher, Neil Diamond, Elvis Presley, and Buddy Holly -5-6 p.m., Enchantertainment actors will display costumes from the store, which is located at Oak Park Mall

2013 FREEDOM FEST: SCHEDULE

ABOVE: Kids line up along East Side Lake for the annual Kids’ Fishing Contest, part of Freedom Fest. RIGHT: Eric Overby wins the Hog Jog 5mile run last year. BELOW: Alex Schuster and Julie Nesvold react to winning last year’s Little Miss Sparkler and Mr. Firecracker pageant. LEFT: The Austin Big Band performs at the bandshell last year. Herald file photo

OF EVENTS

SATURDAY, JULY 6

•Hog Jog 5-Mile Run, 8 a.m. at East Side Lake, pre-registration at the YMCA, race-day registration 6:457:30 a.m. at the race site. Register online at www.active.com/running/ austin-mn/31st-annual-hog-jog-5-milerun-2013 or download a race form at www.ymca-austin.org. •Kids Fishing Contest, 9-11 a.m. at East Side Lake, $2 entry fee, $50 firstplace prize, prizes for all 15-andunder; registration on site beginning at 8:30 p.m. •25 Mile Dan Ulwelling Bike Race, noon at the Jay C Hormel Nature Center, registration at 11 a.m.; $15 registration fee. Austin Eagles Club events Food will be served outdoors all day. -11 a.m-3p.m., car show and auxiliary bake sale -1:30 p.m., bean bag tournament -2 p.m., Bingo -3 p.m., poker tournament -8 p.m., stage entertainment

SUNDAY, JULY 7

•Morning Lions Fly-In Breakfast, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Austin Airport. AUSTIN DAILY HERALD - FREEDOM FEST

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 3

2013 BLOOMING PRAIRIE FOURTH

Blooming’s Fourth of July maintains old-fashioned feel By Matt Peterson matt.peterson@austindailyherald.com

Head north of the Mower County border for one of the biggest little Fourth of July events in Blooming Prairie. This year, the town has cut its celebration from three days to two, but it is still aiming high with plenty of events jampacked in that window. The popular celebration, which some say is like a big class reunion on the first day and a bash for out-of-towners on the second day, will again be held on July 3 and 4. The old-fashioned event is Blooming Prairie’s biggest celebration of the year. As usual, tons of fun in the park will be available for all ages. But this year’s events offer a change of pace with pony rides, a magician, art and music

late into the evening on Wednesday with “The Blue Ringers.” Blooming Prairie’s big-time parade will kick off at 2:30 p.m. Sunday and last for nearly two hours. Guests will know when the parade starts as a convoy of classic cars from the 1:30 p.m. car show will stroll through the streets, signaling the beginning to the celebration. Once again, the popular drumline Stix of Fury will be in town before the parade. The parade is then followed by four musical performances, with dueling pianos and live bands late into the night, and it all ends in fireworks at 10 p.m. For a complete list of events, go to bloomingprairie.com and click on “4th of July Celebration,” where there is a downloadable poster.

FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 2013

JULY

•Antique Tractor Show, 9 to 4 p.m., High School. •Pedal Tractor Pull, 4 p.m., City Park. •Concessions, 4 to 9 p.m., City Park. •SKM horse rides, 4 to 8 p.m., Victory field. •BPRA moonwalk, 4 to 9 p.m., City Park. •Fire-Up Blooming

Prairie, 6:30 p.m., City Park. •Magic show, 7 p.m., City Park. •Teen dance, 8 p.m. to 11:45 p.m., Servicemenʼs Club, $5. •J&H Street Dance; 8 p.m. to midnight; Downtown; $5, ages 21 and over.

•Concessions, all day, City Park. •Trolly rides, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., from City Park to Victory Field, free with Chamber button. •BP Lions Club breakfast, 7:30 to 11 a.m., Prairie Manor. •Awesome Blossom run/walk, 7 a.m., Prairie Manor •Fire Department open house, 9-11 a.m., Fire Hall. •Sweet Rides car show, 8 a.m. to noon, Victory Field. •Hole-in-one miniature golf, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., City Park. •Frog Bog game, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., City Park. •BPRA Moonwalk, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., City Park. •Fine Arts Craft Fair, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., City Park. •Beer Garden, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., City Park, ages 21 and older. •Open Doubles Horseshoe Tournament, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., City Park. •Tractor Pull, 9 a.m., west of Victory Field. •Antique Tractor Show, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., High School.

•BP Boys and Girls Club kids races, 10 a.m., Victory Field. •SKM horse rides, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Victory Field. Just For Kix performances; noon; Judges Stand, City Park. •Lavernʼs Concertina, 1 to 2 p.m., Prairie Manor. •Stix of Fury performance, 1:30 p.m., City Park. •Rolling Car Show, 1:30 p.m., parade route. Parade, 2:30-4 p.m. •Su Fu Du live performance, after parade, City Park. •Bean Bag Toss Tournament, 4:30 to 9:30 p.m., south end of Beer Garden. •Entertainment by Mischief and Mayhem, 5:307:30 p.m., City Park. •Laverneʼs Concertina, 68:30 p.m., Servicemenʼs Club. •Entertainment by “Lethal Chemistry,” 7:308:30 p.m., Victory Field. •Entertainment by Arrows By Dawn, 8:30-9:30 p.m., Victory Field •Fireworks, 10 p.m., Victory Field.

THURSDAY, JULY 4

Fireworks ignite for Blooming Prairie’s celebration last year. Herald file photos

Tim Andrews and Patrick Zak of Arrows At Dawn perform at Victory Field in Blooming Prairie before the fireworks last year.

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Welcome to

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Austin

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PARADE - MAIN STREET

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C Bandshell

Community Park

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The sights of Freedom Fest

ABOVE: Veteran Arnold Earl smiles as he rides in the parade last year. RIGHT: A tuba player performs with the Schell’s Hobo Band. BELOW: An actress laughs as she tries to catch up with the Matchbox Children’s Theatre float. Herald file photos

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Austin Freedom Fest