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New Richmond Fun Fest kicks off big weekend

Fun Fest's midway of rides opened for the first time Thursday night and a good crowd was on hand for the fun. Lexi Myer (left) and Peyton Myer of Hudson try their hand at riding motorcycles.

The 2011 version of New Richmond's Fun Fest kicked off Thursday with food, fun and music.

The first event of the festival was the sidewalk chalk coloring contest at Sweet Greetings. A good crowd was on hand for the contest.

The Dweebs were the big draw for the evening, as hundreds of fans and Fun Fest attendees crowded into the main tent for the show.

Food booths and the midway of rides also opened for the first time.

The New Richmond Area Community Foundation also used the community celebration to announce 15 grant awards to area non-profit organizations.

The annual event runs from July 7-10 at Cyclone Park, next to Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in New Richmond. Parking is ample and free near the grounds.

"It has been an outstanding location for us," said Russ Korpela, executive director of the New Richmond Chamber. "It has allowed us to grow the event."

This year's Fun Fest, which is celebrating its sixth year at Cyclone Park, is generally the same as previous years, but there are a few changes worth mentioning, Korpela said.

The biggest of those changes include a performance by The Dweebs on Thursday (they previously played Friday night), the addition of a kiddie pedal tractor pull on Saturday and the opportunity to purchase unlimited ride wristbands on Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon.

"That's something we've been working with the carnival to offer," Korpela said. "We've had numerous requests for several years to offer an unlimited ride option."

The $20 unlimited wristbands will be available for purchase and use on Thursday from 6-10 p.m. and on Sunday from noon-4 p.m.

"It's a way for people to keep a handle on their budget and allow their kids to ride some rides they normally might not get to," he said.

With so many activities packed into the weekend, Fun Fest offers a bit of fun for the entire family.

Thursday

The Dweebs will take the stage from 7:30-11 p.m. on Thursday in the big fest tent.

This is the Chamber's way of trying to "strengthen Thursday night," said Korpela. "We want to make sure all of The Dweebs' fans know about this change."

Also planned for Thursday are sidewalk chalk drawings in front of Sweet Greetings, 330 South Knowles Ave., from 11 a.m-1 p.m. and Fun Fest happy hour from 5-6:30 p.m. at the tent. Carnival rides by Christman Amusements will get rolling at 6 p.m. at Cyclone Park. Unlimited ride wristbands - good from 6-10 p.m. -- will be available for $20.

Friday

The food booths open on Friday at noon. There are many food stands on the grounds, all run by local nonprofits.

Music on Friday night will start with Pete Neuman & The Real Deal at 6:30 p.m., followed by Minnesota-based Brat Pack Radio at 9 p.m.

"Brat Pack Radio plays a lot of 80s hits and features Jesse Langseth, who was a finalist on American Idol," Korpela said.

Crazy Days sales at more than two dozen New Richmond businesses will also be on Friday.

Saturday

Saturday is packed full of events and entertainment.

A kiddie pedal tractor pull is slated for 1 p.m. in the festival area. The event is open to children of all ages and is free to participants, Korpela said.

The grand parade will begin at 5 p.m., running from First National Community Bank, on Second Street, south to Paperjack Drive.

Live music begins at 6:30 p.m. with Free Fallin, a Tom Petty tribute band, followed by Bad Medicine, a Bon Jovi tribute band, at 9:30 p.m.

"Everyone loves Bon Jovi songs and can sing along," Korpela said. "We're really looking forward to that."

Also planned for Saturday are an antique and stock tractor pull at 10 a.m. in the Domain parking lot, 156 High St.; a pie and ice cream social from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at United Methodist Church, 209 E. Second St.; a kiddie parade at 11:30 a.m. at The New Richmond Area Centre, 428 S. Starr Ave.; a children's water contest at noon at the Fire Hall, 106 N. Arch Ave.; fire department water battles at 1:30 p.m. at the Fire Hall; and a classic car show from noon-4 p.m. at Cyclone Park.

Sunday

Sunday is family day, beginning with a pancake breakfast at the American Legion building from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a community worship from 11 a.m. to noon.

The carnival opens again at noon and will offer $20 unlimited ride wristbands again, valid from noon to 4 p.m.

Ten Mile Creek will wrap up the event on the main stage from noon to 3 p.m.

For more Fun Fest information, visit www.newric hmondfunfest.com.

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