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Full day of fun on tap at festival

KEVIN DAMASK

The Rio community is ready to hit the street for one of its biggest celebrations of the year.

The annual Rio Street Dance and Parade will take place Aug. 24 in downtown Rio. Co-coordinator Lisa Thompson said the street dance has been celebrated for about 20 years and organizers added a parade 15 years ago.

While many of the events are in the afternoon and evening, the parade kicks off a fun day of music, food, games, prizes and other entertainment. This year’s parade begins at 2 p.m. Entrants should line-up at the Rio Fire Station at 301 W. Rio St. by 1:30 p.m. The parade is scheduled to run about 30 minutes. Thompson said new entrants will be accepted until 1:30 and it is free to enter.

“You get a lot of candy thrown your way and the kids love that,” Thompson said. “It’s not a real long parade that you have to sit through, but it’s pretty good for a half-hour.”

Thompson said the Rio Community Club will feature four bands, including the Rio Viking Band and the Almost Famous Lodi Band. Following the parade, the First Brigade Civil War Band and the Sheboygan North High School drum line will entertain the crowd.

“The Community Club does a lot to help us out with this, too,” Thompson said. “They’re planning to have a lot of fun stuff for children, including a bouncy-house, Wheel of Fortune game, balloons, face-painting and other games.”

From 3-7 p.m., live music takes the stage with Blaze, followed by Rail Hoppers from 8 p.m. – midnight.

Mark’s Market, one of the event’s sponsors, will sell food near the store’s entrance. Thompson said other vendors will be selling food to support local organizations and athletic clubs. This year’s menu includes pizza, hot dogs, brats, roast pork, gyros and more. No carry-ins are allowed.

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“Just come have fun, get something good to eat, listen to a couple bands and be on your way,” Thompson said.

The Rio boys’ basketball team will be selling 50/50 raffle tickets throughout the day.

Living Gospel Church, 322 Lincoln Ave., will offer a flea market/vendor fair from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Event organizers said non-profit groups are invited to set-up garage sale-type booths or games. According to Dawn Keepes, last year’s flea market featured 25 vendors selling baked goods, candies, collectibles, household items and more.

From 3:30-8 p.m., Rio Lanes will host a bean bag tournament. Organizer Michael Miles said the tournament features a double-elimination format and costs $10 per person. There will be a drawing to determine partners around 3:15. Prize money will be awarded to first, second and third-place teams. Proceeds go to the Rio boys’ basketball team.

Thompson said drivers from the Safe Ride program will be on hand to drive attendees home.

“This is probably Rio’s biggest event of the year,” Thompson said. “It brings everybody out for the last time before school starts. For the most part, we generally get a very nice turnout.”

Organizers are crossing their fingers for pleasant weather on Aug. 24. An early look at the forecast shows a high of 79 degrees under partly sunny skies.

“We’ve only been rained-out once, so we’re hoping for a fun time and a good turnout,” Thompson said.

Along with Mark’s Market and Rio Community Club, sponsors for this year’s event include Grigssy’s and LR’s Place.

Follow Kevin Damask on Twitter @kdamask or contact him at 608-963-7323.

Follow Kevin Damask on Twitter @kdamask or contact him at 608-963-7323.

(1) comment

Charles Phipps

It's "The Soon-to-be-Famous Lodi Band", not the "Almost Famous Lodi Band".

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