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Heritage Days arrive early

People line the streets downtown during the 2017 Heritage Days Parade in Two Harbors. News-Chronicle file photo by Jan Swart1 / 2
Arts and crafts vendors will open each morning July 6-8 during Heritage Days. News-Chronicle file photo by Jan Swart2 / 2

If it seems like Heritage Days have come early this year, event organizer Cheryl Sundstrom can empathize.

Usually, the festival lands on the second weekend of July, but this year it falls on the first. That's because it Heritage Days is always scheduled for the first full Thursday through Sunday in July.

"So most years, that'll fall on the second weekend. But we never say the second weekend because some years, like this year, that isn't the case," Sundstrom said. "And with the Fourth of July being on Wednesday, we're also incorporating the Fourth in as well."

Festivities will kick off Wednesday, July 4, with the inaugural Community Partners' pulled pork and pie fundraiser at 3 p.m., featuring food served outside the community center, a 50/50 raffle and music by The Northwood's Band at 4:30 p.m.

Other new activities include an Intergenerational Dance Hall at the community center at 3 p.m., just after the annual parade Saturday, July 7. The event will be led by Kairos Alive! and sponsored by Two Harbors Community Education. The event is free and open to the public.

"We're really hoping people will follow the parade into the community center and check this new free event out," Sundstrom said.

Also new Saturday, a visit from Donkeys Do Duluth — therapy donkeys that will walk the parade route, then be available as they walk back to their trailer.

The parade will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday. Sundstrom was happy to report that street construction will not alter the route. She does caution attendees, however, to arrive early as construction and traffic may make it difficult to find a parking space close to the parade's start.

Bianco to serve as grand marshal

This year's grand marshal will be Chet Bianco.

Bianco has been a very active volunteer with the Heritage Days festival as well as in the city in general. Bianco served on the Two Harbors City Council for many years and is now in his 90s.

"He was very reluctant at first to accept the nomination and was trying to feed me other ideas of people who he thought were more deserving. He's a very humble person. But we told him we weren't taking 'no' for an answer," Sundstrom said.

Donations wanted

Sundstrom also asks for individuals to take time to donate to the Heritage Days fund. The festival typically costs around $10,000. Sundstrom applies for grants to help cover the costs, but didn't receive one crucial grant this year.

"Please help us be able to continue to put on these great events every year," Sundstrom said.

Monetary donations can be dropped off at City Hall.

For a full listing of Heritage Days events, check out the special section on pages A8 and A9 or visit the Heritage Days Facebook page.

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