DENNISON (WJER) -  Live bands, food vendors and a line-up of contests and other spectacles are getting underway today for the 40th, and perhaps final time, for the start of the annual Dennison Railroad Festival. 

Festival Committee President Greg DiDonato says it opens at 6pm this evening with the Kick-n-click Cloggers on the gazebo stage, and all their vendors will be open.

“I think it’s going to be a total from what I understand of around 12 food booths, so a good selection of food, and our local restaurants in the area will be open as well. Rides, we do have a pass where they can ride all night or they can buy tickets individually,” he says.

Thursday, the railroad car stage opens at 6pm with music by the MDU Band, the annual talent show is at 7 pm, and the junior parade marshall contest announcement is at 7:30. Festival Chair John Rypien says another fan favorite returns on Friday.

“All those children out there 3 to 11, it’s free. It doesn’t cost them a thing. Every child that signs up to pull the tractor gets a ribbon, and the top three get a trophy, so it’s a nice thing. We’ve had pretty good participation and people love it,” he says.

DiDonato says proceeds from the event have benefitted the depot and other areas around the village.

We’ve given over a million dollars, built the gazebo. We fixed up a couple of buildings in the historical area in order to save them or to clean up an environmental concern. We bought the arches down there. We gave about a hundred and some thousand to the Panhandle Passage Trail,” he says. 

Saturday at the festival features the 5-mile run, a car and motorcycle show at noon and music by the Moonlyterz at 6pm.

Organizers have said this could be the last year for the festival unless someone else steps up to coordinate it in the future. 


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