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Everyone's invited to community Fourth of July festival

What started out 11 years ago as a group of friends gathering at Pepin Park for burgers and hot dogs on the Fourth of July has turned into a massive community celebration.

Vince and Allen "Woody" Woodwick are prepared to feed a crowd of about 1,500 people at the Wednesday festivities.

The celebration will start at noon when Boy and Girl scouts will join veterans group with a presentation of the colors, and Donna Tilleman will sing the national anthem.

"As soon as she is done, we will start with the food, " said Vince Woodwick.

Vince said that when the celebration started, he had to ask people and businesses for contributions, but in recent years, they have been coming to him with donations.

More than 70 people and businesses have donated items so far, he said.

Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway has donated the hamburgers, and hot dogs are coming from Yummy Foods, he said.

"A gentleman had donated 200 Frisbees that we will hand out to the kids, " Vince said.

"It's a great group of people, " he said of the festival. "You can sit down with your neighbors and chat. "

"If you aren't going to be on a boat at Fresno or in a cabin at Beaver Creek Park, you can just stop out at the park. "

"In 11 years, I don't think I've heard one good fight, " he said. "People just come and have a good time. "

There will be games for kids, face-painting and raffles, he said.

Throughout the afternoon, music will be performed.

Woody Woodwick will play an acoustic guitar and perform music from as far back as the Kingston Trio, and Bruce Patera will perform guitar and harmonica music. The Milk River Band will set up the sound system and will play, along with Shades of Blue and Borderline Band.

There is no charge, but people can buy raffle tickets to give organizers some money to get the 2013 session under way, Vince said.

"And, if anybody wants to show up and give us a hand setting things up, that would be great, " Vince said.

"And, as always, if you are dissatisfied, you can get your cover charge refunded, " Woody said, laughing.


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