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SIOUX CITY | Grandview Park was sunny and pleasant, without a cloud visible in the sky, as the first chords of the Star-Spangled Banner rang out from the band shell Saturday afternoon.

Dozens of early Saturday in the Park arrivals had blankets and chairs placed strategically under shade trees as the concert was just getting started. 

Deb Engel trekked the two hours from her home in Nebraska to come to Saturday in the Park, which she said has become a tradition for her. 

"It's just been my thing for years," Engel said. "I live in Columbus, Nebraska, but I always come back for this. I grew up in Sioux City, and this is just my favorite thing to do." 

Engel said she has been to most Saturdays in the Park since the event began in 1991. 

"I think we missed one or two," she said. 

Overall, she said that Saturday in the Park hasn't changed much since its beginning, except the increasing crowd sizes. 

"I just like the ambiance, I like the bands, it's just a good place to chill, there's good people here, it's calm, it's always been calm here," Engel said. "Cross my fingers it stays that way." 

Roseanne Ayala came all the way from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to see Joss Stone, whom she is "very much" a fan of, perform. 

Ayala said she "never knew about this event" before hearing Stone would be performing this year. 

"It's been neat, we've met a lot of friendly people, locals that have told us where to sit, where the best places are," she said. 

While Colorado has its share of big musical venues and events, Ayala said there is something to be said for Saturday in the Park. 

"We have Red Rocks (concert venue), except we have to pay for that, this is nice because it's free," she said. 

She added that she might join the crowd of Saturday in the Park devotees in the future. 

"We're hoping to come back," she said. "This might become a tradition for us."

Volunteer Heather Satterwhite took a break from the work of putting up fences and parking cars Saturday afternoon to sit in the shade and listen to the music of Port Nocturnal. 

Being a volunteer means Satterwhite gets to see the complete evolution of a big musical event. 

"I just like watching how the day progresses, from the morning 'til 10 o'clock at night when it gets pretty crazy," she said. 

Satterwhite, who has been volunteering at the event for about five years, said it made sense to pitch in at the event. 

"We were here anyway, so we figured we might as well help doing something," she said. Plus, "it's nice to have free water all day long." 

The only acts Satterwhite had heard of before the concert were Joss Stone and 35th and Taylor, making the rest something of a musical mystery bag. 

"I'm interested to hear all of them, I'm not familiar with all of them," she said. 

Vendors at the event sold every kind of festival ware and service imaginable - from food and drink to caricatures, special rocks and crystals, face painting, jewelry, sunglasses, colorful clothing, Confederate flags and back massages. 

One of the vendors was Jackie Johnson of J&J's Old Fashion Kettle Corn of Marcus, Iowa. 

Last year was J&J's first year selling kettle corn at Saturday in the Park, and Johnson described it as a day of brisk business. 

"We've never been here before as an attendee, last year was our first year here," she said. 

Being at events like Saturday in the Park, she said, is a good way to promote the kettle corn business. 

"We also sell at the farmer's market here in Sioux City, and we get a lot of people that come by and say, 'Oh, we've seen you at the farmer's market," Johnson said. "We have some followers already."

Johnson enjoys the moments of Saturday in the Park when she isn't occupied distributing kettle corn. 

"It's very good, the music is really nice," she said. 


Lifestyles reporter

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