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Saturday in the Park Set Up #1

Workers Dave Siefker, left, and Ric Mohr set up the stage at Grandview Park Tuesday ahead of the Saturday in the Park festival in Sioux City. The festival begins at noon, on two stages, and will go to about 10:30 p.m., when fireworks end the day.

SIOUX CITY -- Almost three decades of Saturdays, some with rain, others with perfect summer weather, some with head-banging crowds and sometimes with those striving not to harsh the mellow of fellow music fans.

Bruce Lear, of Sioux City, has only missed four of the 29 annual Saturday in the Park free outdoor music festivals in the city's Grandview Park, and he's primed to see his 25th.

"I love Saturday in the Park," Lear said.

Lear added that while he likes certain music lineups some years more than others, he's only missed coming when a baseball tournament, funeral and family reunion impacted SITP plans. Lear said he relishes the people watching and the vibe.

"We spend all day there," he said.

The festival begins at noon, on two stages, and will go to about 10:30 p.m., when fireworks end the day. Over the course of the day, from 20,000 to 25,000 people are anticipated to come to the concert. It takes just under 400 volunteers to pull off the day, Saturday in the Park founder Dave Bernstein said.

Getting to the park just north of 24th Street will be more complicated than many years, due to street construction adjacent to the park. Therefore, festival organizers are more than ever encouraging people to park at the Tyson Events Center lots and take shuttle buses to the park. A shuttle ride will take roughly five minutes each way, at a cost of $1 to $2, Bernstein noted.

As the week began, the blocks around Grandview Park had a lot of "Street Closed" signs. That was true north of 18th Street along Pierce and Douglas streets, and other places.

Saturday in the Park Set Up

Workers Emily Fetterman, left, and Ric Mohr set up the stage Tuesday at Grandview Park ahead of the Saturday in the Park festival in Sioux City. Flo Rida and George Thorogood are the headliners for the 29th annual SITP.

"We want to really stress for everybody, it is hard to quantify all the road closures ... A couple blocks here, a couple blocks there," Bernstein said.

Begun almost as a lark in 1991, Bernstein and some friends got together to see if they could pull off a free outdoor concert in a bandshell they thought wasn't getting enough use.

Bernstein got his start in concert promotion as a Northwestern University student in the 1980s. Over the years, he has landed a number of big-name acts.

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Saturday in the Park, 1998
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The Breakaways, 1999
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Saturday in the Park 2000
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Saturday in the Park 2001
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Blues Traveler, 2002

"I loved the Neville Brothers, and of course when Aretha Franklin was there, amazing. B.B. King was another one," Lear said.

Bernstein praised the entire array of music choices in the two park venues, including the formerly named Second Stage, now called the Abe Stage. He referenced the final three performers on the Main Stage. That includes alternative rocker Liz Phair, rock performer George Thorogood, and the headliner, hip-hop artist Flo Rida, whose "My House" single has more than 6 million spins on Spotify.

"We cannot dispute his massiveness," Bernstein said.

"It is going to be a great lineup over there at Abe (Stage)," Bernstein added, citing a few hip-hop acts hailing from Sioux City.

Bernstein reminds people no food or beverages are to be brought into the free festival, while concertgoers have the ability to buy those items from many approved vendors. He said the vending revenues are one of the "ways we pay for the festival," so people should "consider that your ticket (cost)," via pizza, smoothies, sandwiches and other buys.

One new element is that festival visitors are encouraged to bring their own water bottles, and refill them in several complimentary water stations. Bernstein said is important to have the refilling stations, in a time people are getting concerned about one-use water bottles that get recycled with a high impact on the environment.

"It is a good thing to have up here, and stay hydrated," Bernstein said.

Bernstein touted the KCAU Kid's Zone with a ton of activities and rides, including a bungee jump. Kid's Zone is open noon to 7 p.m. For more technologically minded people at SITP, there will be free WiFi to access mobile device content without digging into personal data plans, plus a special SnapChat filter available from noon to 11 p.m.

In spite of that variety of technological options, Bernstein said people should not lose sight of the joy of directly seeing a concert unfold in front of them.

"We are hoping people watch the festival," he said.

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County & Education Reporter

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