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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Summerfest kicks off Friday

  • Summer is officially in full swing after Memorial Day weekend, complete with sweltering temperatures and grilling galore. This weekend the City of Rolla will officially welcome the season with the 17th Annual Summerfest.


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  • Summer is officially in full swing after Memorial Day weekend, complete with sweltering temperatures and grilling galore. This weekend the City of Rolla will officially welcome the season with the 17th Annual Summerfest.
    The event was originally conceived as a way to promote downtown Rolla and quickly became a popular yearly event with dozens of activities for the young and the young-at-heart.
    This year's event begins Friday and includes all the traditional favorites — a classic car and motorcycle cruise in and show, outdoor "drive-in" movie, Association of the United States Army picnic, Miss Route 66 Pageant, skateboard track, giant sand box, inflatable games, downhill derby, bicycle and tricycle races, horseback rides, burnout contest, fire truck pull, Tour-de-Phelps bicycle ride.
    As usual, the events will be topped off with a free outdoor concert and street dance, and event Rolla Communications Director Scott Grahl says is always at the top of his list.
    "You are right there downtown with all of the vendors and the ice cream and all of that ... some of the stuff, if you've seen a lot, but the music is always new," Grahl said.
    Traditionally the concert has been played by local bands, and this year's headliner is no exception with Pseudo Blues taking the stage. The band is a trio of Rolla residents with Merle Alderson on guitar, Jim Henry playing base and Monte Henderson on the drums.
    "There's such a variety of music that we play, and this is a family event, so we are probably going to mix it up quite a bit," Alderson said. "Although, there's probably not going to be any country, unless, of course, it's Johnny Cash."
    Alderson said the majority of the music will be classic rock.
    This year's concert will have one difference over past years — an up-and-coming music talent is being brought in from Los Angeles to play between pseudo Blues' two sets.
    Her name is Kait Weston, and she is a You Tube sensation who recently signed with a record company.
    "The lady that created the Jackson 5 is the one who actually signed her," said Kevin Baney who helped the Summerfest Committee recruit Weston to sing at the event.
    In the world of social medial Weston is known for delivering high quality covers of artists like Rhianna and Katy Perry, although she does have original music that will appear on her upcoming album.
    Her performance at Summerfest will predominately consist of her covers.
    "He (Jim Larson of the Summerfest Committee) thought that she would be a great idea to get more of the younger people involved in Summerfest," Baney said.
    Another popular event is the classic car show, which Grahl said seems to grow and change every year.
    Page 2 of 2 - "The classic car show has really become very large, and people really seem to enjoy that," Grahl said.
    The car owners begin with a Route 66 group cruise from St. James Friday evening and then park the lovingly restored vehicles on Pine Street for everyone to admire.
    If the kids aren't impressed by the cars of yesteryear, bring them over to the bandshell Friday night for an outdoor movie under the stars beginning  at 9 p.m. This year's flick is Dolphin Tale, and the experience will be complete with all the free popcorn you can handle.
    The night will come to and end after the movie Friday night, but the festival will be in full swing bright and early the next morning.
    On Saturday the car show will continue all day alongside an arts and crafts show. By 9 a.m. downtown Rolla will also be dotted with skateboard games, a giant sandbox, inflatable games and a climbing wall courtesy of the Army National Guard.
    If it's a race you are looking for Saturday and Sunday are your days.
    Saturday will feature a 5k/10k race to benefit the Missouri Special Olympics as well as tricycle and bicycle races for the kids and a downhill derby.
    The Hellbender Bicycle Road Race will take place Sunday.
    Other competitive events for the weekend include the burnout contest and tennis tournament.
    For more information on any of the competitive events or to see the complete schedule of events visit route66summerfest.com/calendar.

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