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Opera House ready for musical events

FAIRMONT — Whether your taste leans toward classic rock, country, folk or current hits, two upcoming events, sponsored by the Fairmont Opera House, will satisfy your musical preference. A Tom Petty tribute band will take the stage at the Sylvania Park band shell at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 2, and the annual Fourth of July block party, complete with vendors, kids games and a farmers market, will take over Downtown Plaza from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 4.

“This will be the third year that we’ve done concerts at Sylvania. We like to use the band shell because it’s a cool historic place in Fairmont,” said Blake Potthoff, executive director of the Fairmont Opera House.

The tribute band, Free Fallin’, will recreate the authentic experience of a Tom Petty concert, complete with his hits, costumes and instruments, all in a great setting.

“To have people out in one of our wonderful parks that we have in Fairmont and to be right on the lake, that’s just a wonderful opportunity that not many communities get,” Potthoff said.

Admission to the concert is by free will donation. Potthoff noted that tickets would be in the $22 range if the same concert was held at the Opera House.

There also will be food and drink vendors, or people can bring their own picnic.

“We’re encouraging people to bring their own chairs,” Potthoff said. “We’ll have the area roped off so we can allow for social distancing and keep track of how many people are there.”

On Saturday, July 4, the entertainment moves to Downtown Plaza for the annual Fourth of July block party. Again, admission is by free will donation.

“There will be wrist bands so we know how many people are there, and there will be hand sanitizing stations at the entrances and exits to downtown,” Potthoff said.

A vendor show will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Because other events, like the spring expo, have been canceled, the vendor show is open to all businesses. The cost is $35 to reserve a table.

Three musical groups, all from Minnesota, will be performing.

New to the event this year will be Thistle and Lace, a husband and wife acoustic duo, who will take the stage from 10 a.m. to noon. Although he was raised by a banjo-picking preacher and she grew up in musical theater, they draw from numerous genres from the 1920s to present day.

“They are absolutely phenomenal, just wonderful voices,” Potthoff said.

Some of the most influential and popular female vocalists in America will be portrayed during the Divas Through the Decades show from 12:30-3 p.m. The high energy show will feature songs from the Supremes, Tina Turner, Gloria Estefan, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and others.

Closing out the day will be the Becky Schlegel Duo from 3:30-6:30 p.m. with music and vocals influenced by classic country, bluegrass and folk music.

For more information about the events, call the Opera House at (507) 238-4900 or check the website, www.fairmontoperahouse.org

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