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Hillside series wraps up successful year

The Heritage Hillside Concert Series wrapped up its seventh season on Wednesday, Aug. 17, with perfect weather.

Trigger Happy played songs ranging from country to rock and roll, Messes and Masterpieces had an art project kids could do and Bremer Bank handed out treats.

Sue Langford, organizer of the series, said that the crowds have grown each year.

"The first and last nights were the best, easily 450 people each," she said. "Local groups get the best crowds, but the weather has a lot to do with it as well. We had one of those horrible hot nights, but we still had about 150 people."

In fact, there have only been two times the concerts had to move indoors because of weather.

"That's pretty amazing," she commented at the Aug. 17 concert.

Over the years, there have been new side events to the main concert. Each week the host business offers free snacks for the crowd, such as Bremer Bank employees handing out free root beer floats and balloons.

Messes and Masterpieces, the non-profit educational group that encourages people to express themselves through art and technology, has become a fixture at the concerts since last year. They offer art projects that families can do during the concert, such as designing cardboard doors that will be displayed at Messes and Masterpieces' new facility this fall.

An abbreviated version of the farmer's market is also available, as well as tables for chess or other games. Soda and popcorn are available for purchase, and when the Heritage General Store is open, old-fashioned candy is available for a penny.

"I'm always open to new ideas, new side things, new bands," said Langford.

However, she draws the line at vendors actively selling things.

"There will never be anything there that costs a lot of money. We won't do booths, etc.; I really want to keep this 100 percent family oriented, free, interesting, relaxing and community focused."

Heather Hanafee, New Richmond resident, said this was the second time she had brought her three kids to the concert series.

"My friends said I should come down," Hanafee explained. "We all really love the music."

The Heritage Hillside Concert Series runs each July and August on Wednesday nights. It will start up again next July.