Florence gears up for town?s 76th Labor Day Celebration

Two contestants compete at the Bryan Harper Memorial Horse?shoe Pitching Contest in 2012. The contest will kick off activities on Labor Day this year at 8 a.m. Organizers of the 76th annual Labor Day Celebration in Florence are excited about this year?s activities on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, which include a petting zoo, horse rides and other new events.

Starting the celebration will be the citywide garage sales beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday.

A bake sale on Fourth and Main streets and farmers? market on Moses Shane Park will also begin at 8 a.m.

The King of the Hill Soapbox Derby starts at 10 a.m. and is limited to the first 50 riders.

Events continue at 5 p.m. with face painting, the petting zoo, horse rides and dinner.

Friday night entertainment, officials said, will include Cottonwood River Band, playing gospel and bluegrass music at 5 p.m.; Tallgrass Express String Band, with Annie Wilson, who was named ?Flint Hills Balla?deer,? at 7 p.m., and a street dance starting at 9 p.m. and featuring the RikeR Band, playing music of the 1950s, ?60s, ?70s and ?80s.

All entertainment will be on the Main Street Stage.

Sunday events start off at 11 a.m. with a community church service with pastor Jeff Lee of the Florence United Methodist Church officiating.

A potluck lunch begins at noon with organizers asking anyone planning to attend to bring a covered dish and table service.

Other afternoon activities include sidewalk chalk art at 2 p.m.; a kids? bike decorating workshop at 3 p.m.; an ice cream social at 6 p.m. with homemade ice cream before and during the Vintage Baseball game at 6:30 p.m.

Weather permitting at dusk, the committee is also planning a fireworks display.

Kicking off activities on Labor Day at 8 a.m. is the Bryan Harper Memorial Horseshoe Pitching Contest at Unity Park and a Labor Day 5K Run.

In addition to the 5K Run, at 8:45 a.m. a one mile fun run begins at 400 W. Seventh.

The parade starts and 11 a.m. and includes the ?Pink Heals? fire truck honoring cancer patients and survivors.

Organizers said the theme, ?Celebrating 125 Years of Volunteer Service,? is honoring the Florence Volunteer Fire Department, which is also this year?s grand marshals.

No entry fee is required to register for a place in the parade and prize money is being awarded for first, second and third place floats, best classic car or truck and more.

The Florence Labor Day Committee is planning to give away $141 in the button drawing after the parade.

Kids? games, turtle races, barnyard olympics and cow chip bingo will round out events during the afternoon.

For more information, call any committee members to include Melvin Honeyfield, Mary Jane Grimmett, Trayce Warner, Melanie Grimmett and Gaby Dye.

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