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Woodstock builds defining event around Gavers Barndance

WOODSTOCK – Officials hope a long talked about city celebration coming to fruition this summer will come to define the community the way festivals like Fiesta Days and Milk Days do surrounding communities.

Set for July 18 through 20, Woodstock Celebrates Summer in the Park, at Emricson Park, will run parallel to the popular Gavers Community Cancer Foundation Barndance. Organizers are in the process of securing bands, vendors, carnival games and other entertainment. They've planned Saturday's events to be held at Woodstock Water Works, and to finish by the time the Barndance kicks off that evening.

Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager said that although the city has a number of events on the Square each year, officials had been searching for a chance to give Woodstock its own community celebration for several years.

"Woodstock has a strong community reputation, so it seems appropriate to have some sort of community event that could define that sense of community," he said.

Planning the event around the Barndance offered several benefits, Sager said.

The event provides an anchor from which to build, and will allow the city to expand a popular event to a wider, family-oriented audience, he said. The Barndance is typically geared toward an adult crowd.

Sager said the city will put an emphasis on Sunday's events – which include a community picnic.

The city has budgeted $50,000 toward the celebration. Half of that will come from revenue generated from video gaming machines. The city has a goal to fundraise the other $25,000, Sager said.

Such efforts will allow Woodstock to keep the cost of the weekend low, said Cindy Smiley, the city's executive assistant.

"One of our primary goals for the event is to keep everything very inexpensive, so that families can come, have a good time, and not spend a lot of money," she said.

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