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Phelps Mill Festival marks quarter-century

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This year, 2009, marks the 25th year of the Phelps Mill Festival. A special weekend is planned for July 11-12.

Just 25 years ago, the Phelps Mill Festival was started by the Art of the Lakes Association, with only a handful of exhibitors. Now supported by the Phelps Mill Country Board, it has progressed to over 130 fine artists and crafters that come from all over the United States.

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Annually, there are over 20,000 visitors to the show, who come to enjoy the wares and the atmosphere that the festival has to offer.

This year, organizers are welcoming back a couple festival favorites to the stage. On Saturday, they have juggler Sean Emery, a high energy performance that will keep the audience on their toes.

After that, they will be featuring The Whistlepigs String Band, a great mix of bluegrass, blues, and original music. Sunday will bring back ventriloquist James Wedgewood, whose unique characters will entertain both young and old. For music, they welcome back The Memories, with popular music selections all will enjoy. In the park grounds on, both days, will be pianist Bradley Joseph, and the melodies of Pat Surface.

For the children, there will be Turtle Races on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Also available is a Children's Activity Area, supervised by the Ashby-Battle Lake Spanish Class.

In celebration of the 25th year, the Phelps Mill Festival will be hosting a Silent Auction for the Lake Region Cancer Center. The items in the auction are donated by the exhibitors of the show and all the proceeds will go towards the art and décor in the Center. The bidding will start on Saturday morning, and will close at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

There will be 13 different food vendors throughout the park, with everything from breakfast, to lefse, to snocones, and more. All the food vendors are non-profit groups from the area, featuring high schools and Lions groups.

For more information about the Phelps Mill Festival, please visit their website at www.phelpsmillfestival.com.

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