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Freedom Fest signup begins in New Richmond

The New Richmond Vitality Initiative, in conjunction with the City of New Richmond, The New Richmond Area Centre, VFW Post 10818 and American Legion Post 80, have announced the first ever Freedom Fest for Saturday, Sept. 15.

The event will be held at the newly renamed Freedom Park (the former Hatfield Lake Regional Park) in New Richmond.

Separate sand volleyball, bean bag and kickball tournaments are planned from 11 a.m. until later in the afternoon. Co-ed sand volleyball teams will consist of six players (maximum of eight on roster), while bean bag teams will include just two people. Eight people will compete on the co-ed kickball teams, with a maximum of 10 players on each roster. Each co-ed team must have an even number of men and women playing on the field at the same time. Every team is assured of at least two games in the double-elimination tournament.

There is an entry fee of $10 per player, per event. Money raised through the entry fees and concessions will go directly back into further development of Freedom Park.

"The goals are to provide a social and physical activity for the community and at the same time raise money for Freedom Park," said Joe Kerlin, New Richmond parks and recreation director.

Local veterans will be involved during the day serving at a concessions stand. The VFW and American Legion expect to commit their time and resources to efforts to raise money for the development of Freedom Park.

Kerlin said the Saturday festival will start small this year, but organizers expect it to grow. Next year the hope is to have military displays on hand, as well as activities for children.

The event is also sponsored by Family Fresh Market and Lakeside Foods.

For more information or to sign up, contact Darian Blattner at The Centre at 715-246-2252 or email dblat Or contact Dave Mehls at 715-243-0443 or davenrparks@fron Deadline for registration is Sept. 8.

In other Vitality Initiative news:

A total of 31 teams made up of 124 participants are competing in the six-week "Walk to Key West Challenge." Teams that are able to average 10,000 steps per person over the course of the challenge will walk the equivalent of a hike from New York City to Key West, Florida. The challenge is sponsored by JA Counter in New Richmond, HealthPartners and the Vitality Initiative.

Team names in the challenge include Walk this Way, Postal Pedestrians, Rum Runners, Kickin Asphalt, Pavement Pounders and The Walkaholics.

HealthPartners is providing the online portal for this challenge. This portal is where participants login to track their steps and watch both their own and their teams progression from New York to Key West.

The portal is much more than just a step logging tool, however, there are lots of tools and tips included to help participants reach their walking goals.

• The "Be Active" card challenge will wrap up Aug. 31. The community challenge began July 1 and works much like a Bingo card. Participants are encouraged to complete each activity (ranging from walking the New Richmond trail system to cooking a YumPower recipe to getting eight hours of sleep over three nights) and marking down the completion date. There are 16 activities that must be completed to finish the card.

Completed cards must be turned in to The New Richmond Area Centre, Westfields Hospital or New Richmond Clinic by Aug. 31. All those who complete the challenge will be entered into a drawing for numerous prizes, including a new bicycle.

If you need a new card to fill out, you can pick one up at The Centre.