Hill City will shine on July 3

Carol Walker

As we look forward to our country’s Independence Day celebration, the Hill City Chamber of Commerce and numerous interested Hill City residents hope to make Hill City shine on July 3 with a Star Spangled Independence Holiday Celebration. All day long there will be something for all ages including a parade, food, music and crafts.
Janet Wetovick-Bily, executive director of Hill City Chamber of Commerce, said in recent years she has received several inquiries about resurrecting a Heart of the Hills type event for Hill City. This special patriotic event evolved from conversations with chamber board members and others who wanted to see an event which shows the heart of patriotism in our local community.
At the last city council meeting Mayor Kathy Skorzewski expressed excitement for the July 3 Star-Spangled Independence Holiday Celebration in Hill City, and Wetovick-Bily, tagged in on that enthusiasm outlining a few of the activities for the day. Two very special invitations that have been sent out are for are an appearance by Gov. Kristi Noem and a representation from Ellsworth Air Force Base, although those two things have not been confirmed.
Many local organizations and churches have joined in on the planning, and so far more than $5,000 in monetary and in-kind donations have come in for the event. At the council meeting the mayor and Wetovick-Bily both publicly thanked Lorena Freis of Farmer’s Daughter for donating $1,500 for patriotic bunting to be hung up and down Main St. during the celebration.
The chamber director requested the city’s support of $3,485 for advertising and promotions of the event, as well as covering the cost of porta-potties, which the council approved. Normally, events like this are included in the chamber’s regular budget, but this genesis of this event came after budgets were made.
The day begins at 8 a.m. with a pancake feed at the Hill City Senior Center that runs until 10 a.m. just in time for a parade on Main St. at 10 a.m. After the parade, the Vintage Motorcar Club of America will hold a Show-n-Shine at the Hill City Visitor Information Center (VIC). Dakota Rods and Classics will also have some cars on display that day.
According to Ranae Schrier, an outdoor craft show will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the old tennis courts near the Boys and Girls Club. Schrier said so far 30 booths have registered for the event.
“There will be everything from wire wreaths to floral wreaths, woodworking to walking sticks, hand-crafted gnomes to stained glass, and many more items,” said Schrier.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. food trucks will be in town on Walnut Ave. and Elm St. Taqueria Las Camelinas, Jamaican Jerk, Maple St. BBQ and Kettlecorn/Lemonade will be serving up food to tickle a variety of taste buds.
Young ones in the community are invited to be a part of a children’s celebration at the Boys and Girls Club from 1-3 p.m. that day. According to Merle Glenn, organizer for the children’s program, it will be an old-fashioned Fourth of July style celebration.
“We will have storytelling of Fourth of July celebrations through the years, and then the children will learn about games that were played in the past, such as sack races and three-legged races. As the children leave the building, they will be given a slice of watermelon on a plate which they will eat outdoors,” said Glenn.
Carrying on the theme of the good old days, at 3:30 p.m. the Men’s Barbershop Chorus will sing patriotic songs at the VIC followed by an Old-Fashioned Ice Cream & Pie Social, pies compliments of the Hill City area churches. The Rusty Strings Band and Allen and Jill Kirkham will provide more music while people enjoy their refreshments. There will also be music at the Harney Peak Inn on Main St. from 3-6 p.m. Ken Raba will be the featured musician and the public is invited.
The day doesn’t end there. From 6-8:30 p.m. Hill City Lion’s Club is sponsoring a Basket Bingo event at the Bob Burden Gym. The public is invited to come for food at 6 p.m. followed by bingo at 6:30 p.m. Lastly, those who are still going strong can head over to the Mangy Moose for more music provided by CJ and Woody from 8 p.m. to midnight.
It is a full day of entertainment for Hill City residents and visitors and Wetovick-Bily said it is made possible by the planning committee, chamber members, partners and sponsors who have worked together to create a patriotic experience surrounding a holiday that is so important to our country’s history.
“The Fourth of July is a good time to showcase our community’s patriotic and civic pride for residents and visitors alike, and to embrace what makes America strong through our own unique hometown Hill City Independence Holiday Celebration. And because of many caring hearts who have stepped up and stepped forward, it’s now a reality and a tradition that we hope will continue for many years to come,” said Wetovick-Bily.


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