Labor Day plan already in works

Oak Creek's rich tradition of hosting the county's biggest celebration continues

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Everyone knows that Oak Creek is the place to be for Labor Day. If you want to dive for nickels in sawdust, test your cribbage skills, kiss a pig or watch sky divers attempt to land on a pizza pan, Oak Creek has it.

The 92nd annual Labor Day celebration in Oak Creek is packing all the same favorites from years before and adding some new attractions that will keep people lining the streets of Main Street and frequenting Decker Park from Sept. 1 to Sept. 5.

"It is a really incredible weekend for Oak Creek, and by far the biggest," said Oak Creek Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman.

The festivities span more than 40 hours, five days and several locations.

There will be something there for everyone.

This year's theme is "Flashback to the Seventies" and Rodeman hopes that all the "hippies" from Oak Creek's most "magical decade" will come out and celebrate.

"We want people to dig out their bell bottoms and tie-dyes and come join us," she said.

Rodeman thinks that there will be a lot of people coming back to Oak Creek this year. She said people have been sending e-mails and spreading the word trying to get in touch with past residents to get them to come back.

"There is one guy from 1972 that I haven't seen since I brought him flowers in the hospital," Rodeman said.

Local radio station KFMU will celebrate its 30th anniversary at the event. KFMU began in 1975 in the Washhouse Building on Main Street in Oak Creek. The radio station was the brainchild of Elliot Bailey, who might return for the reunion. General Manager Brian Harvey said he is excited to celebrate the station's birthday especially because he thought the station was only 29 years old.

"We had the 25th anniversary celebration four years ago, when it was really 26," he said.

KFMU will have a hand in the Labor Day events. "We're still in the planning stages but we'll be a part of the parade, tell stories from the past and hopefully get some past employees out," Harvey said.

Rodeman contacted Harvey about being a part of Oak Creek's celebration and Harvey gladly accepted.

"KFMU is our heritage station," he said.

There will be "every race you can imagine" said Rodeman, including a volleyball, softball, beer, bed, bartender and horseshoe race.

The traditional sky divers who land after the parade Monday in Decker Park will return and will feature 83-year-old Jake Schwan attempting to land on a pizza pan.

Rodeman said there will be old West gunfights performed on Main Street by the Oak Ditch Shooters. Dancers will provide entertainment over the course of the weekend.

"This is just fun for the whole family," she said.

There will be a gong show Friday night that will showcase people's talents, or lack

thereof.

There will be increased prize money this year for whoever can sing, dance, tell a joke, or perform their talent best.

"That'll be a blast," Rodeman said.

For the children there will be a mini soapbox derby, water slide, fishing derby, petting zoo and fun fair.

Rodeman expects about five bands to keep the tunes pumping and people shaking during the weekend. There will be several fund-raisers going on all weekend to support Soroco High School.

"It'll all be incredible," Rodeman said.

To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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