Freedom Fest brings out the best of summer

The last week of June means the height of summer is upon Pine City, and the community will once again celebrate this special time of year with music, fireworks and fun.

Pine City Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Becky Schueller said that Chamber members have tried to work with a number of community organizations to fill out a full weekend of activities.

“You’ll find activities from Wednesday through Sunday,” Schueller said.

Wednesday kicks off with the BBQ and car show event hosted by Pine Technical and Community College, and Thursday night is the “Meet the Candidates” bingo fundraiser for the Pine City Ambassadors program.

“That’s really exciting this year,” Schueller said. “We’ve got 12 senior ambassador candidates and 16 little miss ambassador candidates. So we have a huge number of girls to meet and get to know during that activity week.”

Friday night is Art in the Park with the world-class rock’n’roll outfit Whitesidewalls, and a pulled pork dinner from the Pine City Lions.

Then Saturday morning dawns, with a full day of action from dawn to past dusk.

Schueller said she’s excited for the addition of a beanbag tournament hosted by WCMP and the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary hosting bingo.

“Those are two really big, sweet additions to our day,” she said, adding that the contributions of many different groups come together to make an event like Freedom Fest what it is.

“Every year we kind of have this bucket list of things we’d really like to see happen at the fairgrounds during Freedom Fest,” she said. “We just have to find the right organization willing to put in the volunteer time to make it happen. Our role as the chamber is simply to put all the pieces together and then promote it and try to get people to attend. We aren’t manning the booths and doing the crazy hair and doing the face painting. We rely on local organizations and local businesses to do that stuff.”

She said the Cross Lake Association, Pokegama Lake Association and Knights of Columbus are once again returning to sell food at the fairgrounds during Freedom Fest.

“All three groups sold out last year, we had such a great turnout,” she said. “So they’ll be upping their numbers a bit, of course watching the weather as it gets closer. A couple of them will be serving into the evening so there will be an evening meal this year as well.”

There will be a dance on Saturday night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with local band Freeway Jam performing inside the fairground event center, and then – of course – fireworks just a few minutes after 10 p.m., bringing to a close a big, big Saturday in Pine City.

Schueller noted that the fun continues on Sunday in a day of music with Solid Rock in the Park. Finally, the last event of Freedom Fest is the evening coronation of the ambassadors at the Pine City High School auditorium at 7 p.m.

Schueller noted that Pine City’s Freedom Fest is always held over the last Saturday in June.

“It gives us as a community the chance to have a large community celebration and still have the opportunity to enjoy the Fourth of July the next weekend with our families,” she said. “We think it’s a great fit for us.”

She asks that anyone inspired to take part in next year’s Freedom Fest to contact her at the Pine City Chamber of Commerce office at 320-322-4040 or pinecitychamber@gmail.com.

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