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Paonia preparing for 71st Cherry Days

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Photo by Tamie Meck The 71st annual Paonia Cherry Days celebration is just around the corner. The official celebration is July 3 and 4; community festivities begin June 30. Visit PaoniaCherryDays.com or the Paonia Cherry Days Facebook page for entry forms

With July 4 rapidly approaching, the 71st annual Paonia Cherry Days celebration is almost upon us. Here are a few things to know ahead of the celebration.

With July 4 falling on Tuesday the schedule has been a challenge, said Cherry Days Committee president Bob Bushta. Normally the event features two full days of festivities in Paonia Town Park. This year, the official Cherry Days celebration happens July 3 and 4 and kicks off from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday with Downtown Day, hosted by the Paonia Chamber of Commerce. Live music happens from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Poulos Park.

Food and craft vendors and the beer and wine garden will open at 11 a.m. at Town Park.

For kids and the young at heart, WOW Factor Attractions will be open Monday and Tuesday, July 3 and 4. Events include the Castle Maze, Rattle Balls, WOW Bubbles Lagoon, and Knocker Balls, and a new attraction, the Parachute Rocket Ride (see a video at paoniacher

rydays.com). A change from past years, rather than sell wrist bands in advance, tickets will be sold at the event, said Bushta.

And while Cherry Days officially happens July 3 and 4, the schedule of entertainment and community events begins Friday, June 30 and features all of the community events happening over the weekend that the Cherry Days committee knows about, said Bushta. Information on three competitive sports events, including the annual 5k run/walk fundraiser for the Paonia High School cross country team, can be found in this week's sports section on page B8.

The annual non-denominational Church in the Park happens at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. While a community potluck has traditionally preceded the service, this year a barbecue and potluck lunch will begin after the services, at 11:30 a.m. All are welcome.

This year's slogan is "Family, Friends and Freedom." Buttons featuring the original art work of Paonia High School art student Alice Carrillo are $2 and available at Don's Market, Farm & Home, Hays Drug, Dependable Lumber and The Diner.

For those planning to participate in the parade, entry forms are available on the website under the "Parade" tab. Entry forms can be mailed prior to June 30, or submitted up to the day of the parade. For details, email paoniacherrydays@gmail.com or call Ulli at 527-3185.

Volunteers are always welcome. To sign up, or for a full schedule and other information, visit www.paoniacherrydays.com or the "Paonia Cherry Days" Facebook page.

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