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Strawberry Fest opens this week

The Cottage Grove Strawberry Fest begins Thursday at Kingston Park. File photo

Kingston Park will serve as the launch pad for summer when the 2019 Cottage Grove Strawberry Fest opens Thursday.

The four-day, all-volunteer festival runs through Sunday and features food, carnival, a parade, live music, a 5K, a pie-eating contest and fireworks display. This year's theme is Rock-A-Berry.

The festival includes the talent show, which runs Thursday on the main stage, the Grand Day Parade on Saturday, and a rock 'n' roll triple bill Saturday night.

Friday's live lineup includes the rock quartet Kevin's Cousin and the return of the arena rock tribute band Rock Godz.

The Rock Godz don't take themselves too seriously, but they're seasoned pros when it comes to playing headbanging, fist-pumping, ear-shredding hard rock covers of songs by Led Zeppelin, Guns N' Roses, AC/DC and Van Halen. The quartet may dress like an '80s hair metal band, with dyed blonde hair and Spandex trousers, but their set list spans multiple hard-rock eras.

They'll stir up a heavy-metal hootenanny, with audiences encouraged to sing along to FM staples like "Rock and Roll All Night" by Kiss and "Pyromania" by Def Leppard.

Saturday's live music starts with the Elvis and the EP Boulevard Show Band, 2-4 p.m., Neptune Cocktail 5-7 p.m. and Them Pesky Kids 8 p.m. to midnight.

Elvis tribute artist Art Kistler discovered his calling while singing at Crossroads Church in Cottage Grove. He and his six-piece combo play shows around the five-state area and on cruise ships.

Saturday's events also include a 5K run and walk at 8 a.m. and a Kids 1K at 9:15 a.m. The Grand Day Parade starts at 10:30 a.m. at 80th Street and Jamaica Avenue and ends at Cottage Grove Middle School on Indian Boulevard. The all-female Strawberry Fest Ambassadors will toss candy.

Returning are favorites contests Top Chef, the Doggie Dash, pet show and Cottage Grove Sings.

Those who want to avoid the hassle of purchasing tickets for rides one at a time can buy a book carnival tickets online. Save the online receipt and pick up tickets at the information booth at Kingston Park. A book of 10 tickets can be purchased online for $21 at www.cottagegrovestrawberryfest.com.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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