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After a two-year hiatus, one of Oregon’s biggest community events marks its return next month. Summer Fest is set for June 23-26 at Kiser Firemen's Park.

“It’s pretty exciting to get people out and in the mood for summer,” Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Judy Knutson told the Observer. “I know by then the weather will be beautiful, I guarantee it.”

Following two years without its primary fundraiser, the Chamber needs to make some money at this year’s event, Knutson said. But more than being the Chamber’s biggest money maker, it’s an important way to bring together community members and neighbors.

Local organizations such as the Masons and Boy Scouts also fundraise during the event.

“This is the Chamber’s biggest money maker, we need to make some money,” she said. “But we’re also trying to get organizations back into the swing of things so they can raise money, too. I think everybody wants to make a little money.”

Oregon Masonic Lodge is hosting a pork dinner on Saturday. The Boy Scouts will be selling hamburgers and brats all weekend in the park pavilion.

The weekend of activities will begin on Thursday, June 23, with a family night. That night there will not be any alcohol served. There will be a safety event from 6-8 p.m. organized by the Oregon Area Fire/EMS, which will include demonstrations of fire extinguishers, CPR and Stop the Bleed, as well as a fire safety trailer.

The Oregon-Brooklyn Optimist Club will host Bingo from 5-9 p.m. Thursday.

Fireworks will light up the sky at dusk on Thursday.

On Friday, the beer tent will open. Classic rock band Cherry Pie will be the Friday night headline entertainment from 8:30-11:30 p.m., taking listeners on a trip back to the ‘80s. The concert is free.

Saturday will kick off with a craft fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The band SuperTuesday will bring a mix of pop and rock and roll to the stage as Saturday night's entertainment from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., which will be a free show.

Both Friday and Saturday night, a safe ride program from 11:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. will provide revelers free passage home within Oregon.

Sunday’s Thrilla on the Grilla event will feature barbecue ribs, pulled pork and grilled chicken, with meats sourced from JL Richards Prime Meats. Proceeds will benefit the Oregon Area Fire/EMS association and help pay for the fireworks.

A classic and vintage car show will be on display from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Registration to show off your retro wheels will be from 7 a.m. to noon on Sunday.

New for this year will be a cornhole tournament, set for Sunday.

Sunday at noon will be the parade. The parade theme this year is “decades,” Knutson said – whatever that means will be left up to the organizations or businesses that participate. There will be a $500 grand prize, and $300 and $200 for second and third places. Those interested should contact the Chamber to register.

“We’re looking for a large parade,” Knutson said. “And I think everyone is looking to get outside.”

A carnival midway featuring food wagons, games, and rides is set for all four days of Summer Fest. The carnival will be from 5-10 p.m. Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 12:30-6 p.m. Sunday.

There will not be a 5K/10K event this year to remain COVID-conscious, and due to a need for nearly 30 volunteers to make it happen, Knutson said.

Food and commercial vendor applications are due by May 18 and interested individuals can email staff@oregon.com for an application form.

There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities, Knutson said, helping with everything from organizing the car show and the parade to helping sell beer tent tickets and carnival wristbands. Those interested can find a signup form at oregonwi.com or should call the Chamber at 608-835-3697.

“We are excited that Oregon Summer Fest is back, it’s going to be great,” Knutson said.

Reporter Neal Patten can be reached at npatten@wisconsinmediagroup.com

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