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Thursday, May 29, 2003 09:50 am

Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music

Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad

Once the distant cousin of Springfield's Lincolnfest (remember Lincolnfest?), the Decatur Celebration has become the largest free family street fair in the Midwest. Under the guiding hand of promoter Fred Puglia and the caring city fathers of Decatur, this celebration is an award-winning wonder of organization and entertainment. The "Party on the Prairie" will feature 13 show stages, 69 food vendors, 127 arts and craft booths, and more than 100 other attractions. Now in its 18th year, the festival hopes to attract over 300,000 people to the Soy City on August 1, 2, and 3. Hear Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad rock out on hits like "We're an American Band," "Loco-Motion," "Some Kind of Wonderful," and "I'm You're Captain" (yeah, yeah, yeah). Country swing legends Asleep at the Wheel, 80s rockers the Outfield, and 60s bubblegum band Paul Revere and the Raiders fill out the bill. The children will have a blast at the Kid's Block, truly its own world inside the festival boundaries. The Razzle Dazzle Goodtimes Parade steps off at 10 a.m. on Saturday; its the only parade in Illinois, outside of Chicago, to be broadcast live on television. If that's not enough, just walk around and check out the street performers, munch on the wide variety of food, smell the beans cooking at the ADM plant, and think, why doesn't Springfield have an event like this? For more information, visit www.DecaturCelebration.com.

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