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Community celebration weekend planned

The last weekend in August promises to be an activity-packed four days celebrating the community's successful flood fight and welcoming Jamestown College's new and returning students.

The Second Annual Community Block Party kicks off the festivities on Thursday, Aug. 27, with Rock the Block. Friday, Aug. 28, is the Sandbag Stomp, a post-flood community celebration. Saturday, Aug. 29, Frontier Village holds activities all afternoon and downtown churches offer the Third Street Fun Fest. Then Atonement Lutheran Church's Fifth Annual Country and Bluegrass Festival brings the weekend to an close with some down home music Sunday, Aug. 30.

"We chose that weekend for the Sandbag Stomp because we wanted to bring together the community with the college students," said JoDee Rasmusson, Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce director, who heads up the post-flood celebration committee. "The students were a big part of the flood effort and we wanted to make sure they were back for the party. And the four days together create a great community celebration."

The Community Block Party's theme this year is "Rock the Block." It's an event organized for the first time last year to welcome Jamestown College freshmen and introduce them to their home for the next four years and its residents. It brings the community and students together in a downtown street fair atmosphere with entertainment, booths, prizes and activities for everyone.

Rock the Block co-chairs Lisa Hicks, who represents the community, and Gary Van Zinderen, who represents the college, say the block party is coming together well. Hicks said there are already more than 30 booth participants and 10 major sponsors participating.

"We have everyone back from last year plus new people," she said.

"We've got great involvement, a great response and it's expanded," Van Zinderen added.

The block party is from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27, on First Avenue. Most everything, including food and drink, is free to community and students. The co-chairs are hoping a few thousand people will attend.

Friday, Aug. 28, is the official post-flood community celebration at the Civic Center, replacing Jam the Dam this year. Called the Sandbag Stomp, Rasmusson said the celebration opens with a ceremony at 5 p.m. on the patio by the National Guard establishing the North Dakota Community Military Covenant. It's a nationwide initiative expressing support by cities and counties for military personnel and their families.

"It's a fitting opening ceremony as the Guard was huge in the flood effort," Rasmusson said.

A community picnic at the west Civic Center parking lot follows at 5:30 p.m., with bison burgers, hot dogs, brats, chips and beverages. This time there will be no sandbags anywhere. Plus, the committee is working on getting donations and contributions for the food, so there will be no cost to attend.

"The businesses have been very generous," Rasmusson said. "We're trying to get enough food to feed 2,000 people and we'll be serving it free until it's gone."

An all-ages concert and dance featuring the band, 32 Below, starts at 8 p.m. in the Civic Center arena. There is no charge for the concert. The Buffalo Bar is hosting the beer garden.

Saturday, Aug. 29, offers a variety of activities for residents. Frontier Village Manager Tina Busche said the day opens with a Red Cross fundraising luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the deck behind the Village Trader.

Free air games and a carnival for youngsters start at noon in the National Buffalo Museum parking lot. From 3 to 6 p.m. is the Jamestown Idol Karaoke Contest in the amphitheater.

"We wanted to take part in the weekend activities with the college and the chamber," Busche said.

On Saturday downtown, Third Street will be blocked off from First Avenue to Second Avenue East for the First United Methodist and the United Presbyterian churches' carnival. The 3rd Street Fun Fest is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features games, activities and food for children at a minimum cost.

Sunday, Aug. 30, is Atonement Lutheran Church's Fifth Annual Country and Bluegrass Festival from 4 to 8 p.m. This year's festival features performances by Kerry Wicks, John Crowston and Friends, Buffalo Station, Spiritwood Creek and Smokehouse. The festival is free to the public, but bring a chair as between 350 and 400 people generally attend.

Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at