Eaton hopes new festival snowballs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Organizers are banking on high participation in the city’s first Celebrate Albert Lea festival over Labor Day weekend.

&uot;We are going to be doing this for the next couple of years,&uot; Mayor Jean Eaton said. &uot;By 2006, our goal is to have every organization and service club involved in Celebrate Albert Lea.&uot;

Celebrate Albert Lea, which will take place on Aug. 29 and 30, was developed by the city council last February, and organizers have been getting ready for it since then.

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&uot;It’s a celebration for our local people and visitors to appreciate the community and all the assets we have,&uot; Marge Hamersly, director of the Chamber of Commerce, said. Hamersly is part of the organizing group for the weekend.

She said that though there hasn’t been much time to plan the event, everything has fallen into place for the celebration in a short time.

The two-day celebration will include popular area band Nate and the Moonlighters, a boat parade with prizes for best float, a five mile run/walk, a mariachi band and a teen dance.

The event is the first of many leading up to Albert Lea’s sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) celebration in 2006. Leading up to that year, there will be annual Celebrate Albert Lea festivals. Eaton said in order to get to the point where organizers want to be by 2006, they will have to raise money through the festivals leading up to that year.

&uot;To do an event like this is never inexpensive,&uot; she said.

Though $8,000 has been raised &045; $4,000 of which came from the city council, the rest of which came from local companies and organizations &045; the ticket sales at the door of events will be the determining factor in the continuation of the event, Eaton said.

&uot;We want to get out and celebrate the good things and the good people here,&uot; Eaton said.

&uot;Our hope is that we’ll raise that money back and have it for next year and all the way to 2006,&uot; Eaton said. &uot;We need people to go to our dance and events and support this thing. Besides, it’ll be a good time.&uot;

(Contact Peter Cox at peter.cox or 379-3439.)