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Music, art show to highlight Celebrate America Festival

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Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2004 10:00 pm

Music, tap dancing, an art show and everything red, white and blue will be featured at Friday's Celebrate America Festival at Hutchins Street Square.

The Lodi Community Band and the Frankie C. Band, which plays rhythm and blues, will perform at the festival from 6 to 9 p.m. on the Omega Nu Stage at the west side of the square, 125 S. Hutchins St. The event is free of charge.

Typically, Celebrate America has been held on July 3 each year, but this time it was moved up to Friday night.

The community is invited to dress in red, white and blue and to bring chairs, blankets and even their own dinner, said Greg Ramirez, manager of Hutchins Street Square.

"A lot of people decorate their areas," Ramirez said. "It's very casual and a lot of fun, and it's not going to be as hot as it has in the past."

New this year will be an art show in memory of veterans being conducted by the Lodi-Area All Veterans Plaza Foundation and the Lodi Arts Center.

"It's all with veterans in mind," said Pam Bechill, who is chairing the art show, part of the monthly First Friday Art Hop.

"We have a couple of Vietnam veterans who do art-healing therapy," Bechill said. "We have some who are doing art in memory of someone they know."

Some 15 to 20 art pieces will be exhibited, and most of them will be available for purchase, Bechill said. Money from the art sales will go to the Lodi Arts Center and the Lodi-Area All-Veterans Plaza Foundation.

The art show will be outdoors surrounding the stage where Celebrate America will be held.

The festival schedule calls for the Lodi Community Band to perform from 6 to 7 p.m., a special program from 7 to 7:45 p.m. and the Frankie C. Band from 7:45 to 9 p.m.

Hosted by Gary Don Ricks, lead singer of the Would Be Famous Band, and Lodi Mayor Larry Hansen, the 7 p.m. program will feature young soloist Adrienne Reynolds of Woodbridge, presentation of colors by the Knights of Columbus and a dramatic drop of a 20-by-30-foot American flag by the Lodi Fire Department from its ladder truck.

Ricks will read a poem called "Raggedy Ol' Flag" as the fire department lowers the flag.

Stepping Out, a group of tap-dance students from a class held at Hutchins Street Square, will perform a patriotic number before the Frankie C. Band takes over the stage at 7:45 p.m.

Girl Scout Troop 528 will distribute free American flags for first 1,000 people to arrive for the program. For more information, call 333-6782.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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