MARSHALL - There are three guiding principles in planning Sounds of Summer, festival organizers say. It should be fun, it should be family friendly, and it should be free. And this year, they said they've got all three things covered.
The Sounds of Summer festival is back this week in Marshall. From today through Sunday, a wide variety of free entertainment and events are planned for area residents to enjoy.
It wouldn't be Sounds of Summer without music, of course. This year, local talent and a tribute to the old Blue Moon Ballroom will be featured as well as more rock-oriented music. The "Blue Moon Revisited" will be at the Adult Community Center this afternoon.
One of the main events on Saturday night will be the Sounds of Summer free concert, featuring "Nasty Habit." The band plays covers of songs from artists ranging from Aerosmith and AC/DC to Pat Benatar and Martina McBride. The show should be a crowd-pleaser, organizers said.
"They played at Belgian American Days in Ghent last year, and they had a very good response," said SOS committee member Riann Rave.
Sounds of Summer is also settling in to a new home this year. Organizers say holding festival events in the parking lots behind what is now Caldo's Italian Kitchen has worked out very well. Besides offering space for a concert venue and carnival, the location is also within walking distance of Marshall's downtown. And this year, the Schwan Food Co. has given permission for a Sounds of Summer mural to be installed at the site of the festivities, organizers said. Local residents were encouraged to paint panels of the mural.
"It's pretty exciting," Rave said.
Sounds of Summer is still growing, organizers said, with several community events joining the festivities, including the Prairie Home Hospice Garden Party on Friday and the Shades of the Past cruise and poker run on Saturday. The Little Tigers Dance Camp showcase is another new addition this year.
"They had approached us and asked to be part of Sounds of Summer," Rave said.
The KidsID safety program sponsored by the Minnesota Grand Masonic Lodge, which made its Marshall debut in July, will also be coming back this week, Rave said.
"They had a huge success at Crazy Days. It's a great program," she said.
On Friday, Southwest Minnesota State University's Smokefest is back for its second year with Sounds of Summer, and will feature great barbecue and a carnival for kids. The entertainment will continue at the SMSU Regional Events Center, with a football scrimmage and an outdoor screening of "The Hunger Games."
"It's really going to be neat, to have the movie on the scoreboard," said committee member Dean McDaniel.
The growth of the festival during the past few years has owed a lot to community partnerships, Sounds of Summer organizers said. They said thanks go out to many Marshall businesses, sponsors, community groups and city organizations for making Sounds of Summer possible.
"It continues to grow," said committee member Russ Labat. "I think we're very proud of where we started and where we are today."
The participation and support of the community is also what keeps the fun and family events going, McDaniel said.
"This is turning into a big thing," he said. After the Sounds of Summer parade and during the free concert, he said, "We fill up that parking lot."