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Bring your Levee Park dreams to Earth Day (04/14/2013)
By Chris Rogers

Submitted photo
      Kids of all ages came together at last year's Winona Earth Day. This year's music-, stunt-, and bike-filled event will be held at Levee Park on Saturday, April 20. Levee Park Committee members will be at the event gathering public input on plans for the park.

Levee Park Committee members will be soliciting citizen input on plans to renovate the park on Saturday, April 20, at the Levee Park Earth Day Celebration. Committee members will be at the park with aerial maps for people to sketch out their ideas and a big board for posting comments. Whatever ideas or opinions Winonans have on the park, the event will be an opportunity for them to make their voices heard.

This year's Winona Earth Day will feature music, stunts, food, and art. In the past, Winona Parks and Recreation has hosted the event at Unity Park on Lake Winona. Program Recreation Director Julie Fassbender said the move to the Levee was made in part to capitalize on the downtown events of Mid West Music Festival, which falls on the same weekend this year.

"We also wanted to support the mayor's effort to revitalize Levee Park," Fassbender said. Levee Park Committee Chair Frank Pomeroy lobbied for hosting Earth Day and a series of other events at the Levee to rally people around the park.

The weather forecast for that weekend is still up in the air, but the event will not suffer from lack of action and attractions. The Winona Farmers Market's outdoor opener will welcome people to the park at the corner of Main Street and the Mississippi River. Martial arts, BMX, and parkour (also known as free running) groups will utilize the perceived obstacles of the "concrete park" in their performances. There will be music from Saint Mary's University's Batucada Nossa Senhora percussion ensemble, the Sans Souci Quartet, Steve Kaul and the Brass Kings, and Jake Ilika.

An Emmy Award-winning kids' music group called the Zinghoppers will perform. "They have been described as Barney meets the Black-Eyed Peas," Fassbender explained.

Local puppeteer Dr. Bob will present a show, as will Winona State University's Dance Society, a local belly dancer, and a visiting slack lining group (think tight-rope walking). Folks who ride their bicycles to the event will be eligible to be entered in a drawing. As in years past, there will be a colorful chalk art contest.

"Unity Park is a great site and it was a good home to us, and we may go back there," Fassbender said. "But showing people the beauty of the river is important."

When asked if Levee Park posed any challenges to the event, Fassbender said that rising flood waters north of the Levee may constrict the event, but that swampy ground at Unity Park posed the same issue during wet springs. Even if it is wet, there will be plenty of solid ground at the Levee, she said.

Winona Earth Day will be at Levee Park from noon till 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 20. For more information visit www.winonaearthday.org.



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