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SIOUX CITY -- It's a good thing Saturday in the Park wasn't last weekend. 

Organizers of the longtime Sioux City music festival in Grandview Park were fortunate that Saturday's weather was as mild as it was -- temperatures hovered in the 80s, with the heat index only a couple degrees warmer. 

"Perfect weather, we can't complain at all about the weather," Dave Bernstein, the festival's longtime head honcho, said Saturday afternoon.  He estimated the crowd at 20,000 to 25,000.

Contrast that with the Saturday before, when the heat index reached 110 and the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning, advising people against excessive outdoor activities. 

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2019 Saturday in the Park
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2019 Saturday in the Park

Thousands flocked to the park for the 29th annual Saturday in the Park to be serenaded by the likes of rapper Flo Rida, blues rocker George Thorogood and the Destroyers, indie rocker Liz Phair, soul and rock artist Con Brio and the country duo Michigan Rattlers. 

This year's SITP was reportedly "one of the most difficult booking years ever" for the festival, according to a post on the festival's Facebook page. The announcement of the lineup didn't come until June (usually the announcement comes down in April.) 

Bernstein said the competition to book musicians has become fierce. Especially this year -- Flo Rida was booked only days before the official announcement. 

"Just, you know, the nature of booking," he said. 

The Abe Stage, formerly called the Second Stage and a beacon for alternative and lesser-known performers, featured performances from the Sioux City Conservatory of Music; Winter Wayfarer; Gallivant; Brandy Raps/Psychedelic Sidekick; Artificial Stars; Arson City; Snow Tha Product; Matisyahu; and TruFeelz. 

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Terry Ragaller, a training officer with Sioux City Fire Rescue who was on hand at the festival, said the Abe Stage worried him. Not the music -- he was concerned about the well-being of the concertgoers, who, due to being packed in an area with low air circulation and high body temperatures, were at risk of heat exhaustion. 

"They're in heat, there's no air movement, they're not drinking fluids, they're dancing hard, and they're going to overheat fast," Ragaller said. On the plus side, he said security at the festival does a good job watching out for anyone showing signs of heat sickness, ensuring they get water and, ideally, cool off. 

Sioux City Fire Rescue was on hand with an air-conditioned bus, cool water and Gatorade for anyone beginning to feel heat sick -- Ragaller couldn't recall any concertgoer ever progressing to a full-blown heat stroke at SITP. 

As of the early afternoon, he said the department had seen few people suffering heat illness, which can become more serious if left unchecked. 

"As the day goes by, the heat and the heat index wraps up, we'll see more," he said. "We typically see maybe half a dozen heat-related (ailments). Nothing serious that we'd have to take to the hospital, but enough that people start realizing, 'I feel sick.'" 

Atop the hill to the east of the bandshell, the Omaha Bubble Co. was showing off its bubble-blowing products. Adam Hess, who runs the family firm with his wife, Sara, demonstrated a "12-ring performer wand" -- in layman's terms, a very big bubble wand. 

Sioux City's colorful music festival has, naturally, been a good place for Omaha Bubble Co. to get leads on sales for its bubble wands and proprietary bubble soap. 

"We did it last year, and it was super fun," Hess said, as children raced after the bubbles he made. 

Omaha Bubble Co.

Zander Kok, of the Omaha Bubble Co., demonstrates a bubble-blowing device during Saturday in the Park at Grandview Park. 

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