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Weekend planner: Ice cream social, hike this weekend


ICE CREAM SOCIAL -- Make-your-own sundaes are the featured dessert for Community United Church of Christ's annual ice cream social, 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 23. Everyone is invited to attend. There will also be hotdogs, hamburgers, pies, cakes, chips and pop, plus games for kids, a cake walk, a raffle and a bounce house. The church is located at 1145 Summit Avenue, in St. Paul Park.



The Forever Be Sure Ladies Quartet will perform in concert at 7 p.m. at Lighthouse Baptist Church, on Saturday, July 25. All are invited to attend at the church, 9979 80th St., in Cottage Grove. For details, call the church at (651) 459-6974 or go to


Cottage Grove fitness trainer Annie Elmer will lead a free hike at Afton State Park, beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 25. If you go, meet at the visitor center. The event will only be canceled if there are storm warnings or if there is a threat of lightning, according to press release. If the weather is questionable, call Elmer at (651) 470-8060 or e-mail annieelmer@comcast. The hike is free; parking is $5 per vehicle.

BIRDING, DIGI-SCOPING -- Experienced birders, photo-enthusiasts, and 'birding rookies' are invited to a program presented by local bird expert Sharon 'the bird chick' Stiteler, from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 25, at Carpenter Nature Center, in Denmark Township. Stiteler will introduce guests to the latest in birding gear and digi-scoping techniques -- taking photos through a spotting scope or binocular with a digital camera. Then the group will head down the trail to practice identifying and digi-scoping the many warblers, raptors, and sparrows that can be seen at Carpenter Nature Center. Preregistration is requested. For details, call (651) 437-4359. The fee is $7 per person or $4 for Friends of CNC. The program is partially sponsored by Swarovski Optik. All proceeds go towards educating students about nature and protecting habitat in the St. Croix Valley.


BAND CONCERT -- The South Washington County Community Band will perform in concert at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28 at Cottage Grove Middle School. Admission is free.