For the eighth consecutive year, the city of Soldotna will gather for a community barbecue at Soldotna Creek Park. However, for the first time ever, the city will actually be using its own park.
That's because the park, which was formally used as a Depart-ment of Transportation maintenance site, is now officially under the city's control. The city took over the park from the state earlier this year, and is now set to have a full-fledged party to celebrate.
"We'll have hot dogs, chips, soda, a couple bands. It's just kind of a nice thing for the community," said Soldotna City Manager Tom Boedeker.
Boedeker said the city again this year plans to offer a variety of free fun, including food, entertainment and vendors. And, Boedeker said, participants may even get a chance to eat a hot dog personally grilled up by a city official.
"It'll just be fun," he said.
Boedeker said entertainment will be provided by "Top Cover," a band based at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage; as well as possibly one other surprise musical act as well.
The celebration is again being co-sponsored this year by the Kenai Watershed Forum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the health of the river. According to Josselyn Burke with the forum, this year's picnic will also feature a host of booths featuring Alaska artists and crafts people.
"There will be Alaskan art, both local as well as from Anchorage," Burke said.
She said the vendors will be exclusively from Alaska, giving the community celebration a distinctly local flavor.
"It's a community picnic," she said.
Burke added that the picnic will go on no matter what the weather is like, so people should definitely stop by the community celebration rain or shine.
The annual Soldotna Creek Celebration will take place at noon July 27 at Soldotna Creek Park. Free food, vendor booths and music will be offered to all who decide to drop in and check out the city's newest park, located directly above the Kenai River.
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