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Music, bean bag and the parade highlight 2017 Fun Fest

Members of the New Richmond Middle Marching Band entertained the crowd at the 2016 Fun Fest parade in New Richmond. Tom Lindfors / Rivertown Multimedia

After the success of last year's New Richmond Fun Fest, New Richmond Area Chamber Director Rob Kreibich expects this year's lineup to be even better.

"Last year was the best year we have had in probably a decade. We had struggled on Saturday nights, but we did really well that night last year," Kreibich said. "The only thing that will make a big difference in attendance this year is probably the weather. But we will have a huge tent this year to make sure things can keep going on even if the weather isn't the greatest."

One of the biggest changes at last year's Fun Fest, which will be held at Cyclone Park, was moving the annual parade to Sunday at 12:30 p.m., which according to Kreibich, was well received and saw some of the biggest crowds in the recent history of the parade.

"Last year was a transition year, moving the parade back to Sunday. And I think the crowds returned to what they always were and we are hoping to build on that momentum with more music and units in the parade," Kreibich said. "I think we are on pace to have over 100 units this year, which would be a return to the glory days of the past."

The parade route is the same, with just a slight change to the grandstand position on the route. The parade will start at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, July 16 and will proceed from High Street to Sixth Street. The grandstand will now be located in front of the chamber building in hopes that the sound will reach a larger area of spectators. Line up for the parade starts at 11:30 a.m. Parade entries will be taken until July 7. Contact the Chamber for more information.

One of the biggest changes to this year's festivities is the bands who will be headlining Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

"We have changed up the music a bit this year. We've had the Dweebs for nine or 10 years now, so we are excited about having some new bands, like Paisan & The Family Brass," Kreibich said.

Rural Route 5 will kick off the festival on Thursday night (7-11 p.m.), while newcomer Paisan & The Family Brass will headline Friday night (8:30-10:30 p.m.). Leading into Paisan will be Gravel Road (6-7:30 p.m.). Local band Dream in Green (6-7:30 p.m.), which is made up of New Richmond High School graduates, will open for fan favorite Rhino (8:30-11:30 p.m.) on Saturday night.

"We invited Dream in Green to perform on Sunday after the parade and they did so well that we asked them back to be our lead in on Saturday," Kreibich said. "So we are looking for a band on Sunday. A teenage band that we can launch like we did Dream on Green. Maybe next year they could lead into someone."

Saturday will also feature the fourth annual bean bag tournament from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. in Cyclone Park. Check in is 9 a.m. Register online at newrichmondchamber.com; or mail/drop off a completed registration form, along with the registration fee to the Chamber office. The annual car show will also be held throughout the day on Saturday.

There will be one additional food vendor at this year's Fun Fest, which will increase the festival's number of food options to six. This year's vendors include: the VFW, NR Band Boosters, New Richmond Youth Hockey Association, St. Mary School, Faith Community Church (new this year) and Westfields Hospital & Clinic, which will be serving healthy food fair.

"We will have food all weekend long, which is an affordable way for the family to eat," said Michelle Scanlan of the New Richmond Area Chamber. "We have encouraged all of those non-profit vendors to try and keep their meal prices around $5."

The Chamber will be offering a shuttle service Friday and Saturday night from Cyclone Park to downtown to encourage people to patronize the downtown establishments. The Chamber is also offering area businesses or organizations the chance to set up a booth at the festival in order to advertise themselves. There are about three to four slots left. Contact the Chamber if you are interested.

"We are excited about the elements we have pulled together this year," Kreibich said. "We are unique in the sense that we are still a four-day festival, while other communities have had to shorten their festivals to one or two days recently. Because this event is still four days long, we do require a lot of volunteers to run and organize everything. This event would never take place without all of our ambassadors, board members and other volunteers. We want to salute all the people who give their time to make the event great."

Wristband hours for the carnival are 6-10 p.m. Thursday, noon-4 p.m. Friday and 2-6 p.m. Sunday.

Visit newrichmondchamber.com for more information on the Chamber sponsored events. See the B Section wrap in the July 13 edition of the New Richmond News, as well as the advertisement in the July 9 New Richmond Express, for more information on the non-Chamber sponsored event going on in New Richmond during this year's Fun Fest.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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