Experience Hill City this Independence Day

Esther Noe
Visitors and locals alike can experience Hill City this Independence Day with a full lineup of events. This year, rather than celebrating on a Saturday, the Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce decided to start the fun Thursday, July 4 with events running through Sunday, July 7.
“The week of July 4 is historically the busiest week for U.S. vacation travel each day. We wanted to offer our visitors and local area residents the chance to explore and experience Hill City all weekend long,” said chamber executive director Janet Wetovick-Bily. 
The Hill City’s Star Spangled Independence Holiday Celebration will kick off at 8 a.m. Thursday, July 4 with a pancake breakfast put on by the Hill City Senior Citizens (HCSC) at the Hill City Center. 
Pancakes, coffee and juice will be offered until 10 a.m. The cost is $3 for adults and children ages 7 and under are free. The proceeds will benefit the HCSC. 
At 10 a.m. there will be a patriotic parade down Main Street. The parade will include representation from Hill City’s organizations, businesses and more. 
“Our American Legion representatives, Hill City Volunteer Fire Department, ambulance and Victor’s (Alexander) beautiful 1927 Stoughton Fire Truck will lead the parade,” said Wetovick-Bily. 
Parade entries can still be submitted this week through a form at visithillci
tysd.com or by calling 605-574-2368. 
“We invite everyone to watch or participate in the parade,” said Wetovick-Bily.
After the parade, the HCSC will serve lunch at the Hill City Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will have hot dogs, sloppy Joes, chips, iced tea, lemonade and coffee. Cost is $5 for adults, and children ages 7 and under are free. The proceeds will once again benefit the HCSC. 
“Additionally, all of our restaurants, food providers, coffee and specialty shops will be busy and are part of the entire Hill City experience that day and for the entire vacation period,” said Wetovick-Bily. 
Then, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. is the Old-fashioned Pie & Ice Cream Social at the Visitor Information Center. This event is family-friendly and always free. 
“The amazing church ladies from Hill City’s churches—The Lighthouse Assembly of God, Community Lutheran, St. Rose of Lima, The Little White Church and Our Savior Lutheran—are generously baking and donating pies for the event. We can’t thank them enough for their contribution,” said Wetovick-Bily. “We always have other folks from the churches and the community bring other pies, too, so we are blessed with these offerings.” 
Along with this, a jar for free-will donations will be set out to raise money for the Angel Fund. 
During the social the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum Truck will be displayed on the lawn, and the museum will hold an open house. 
“We’re grateful to CCC museum director Otto Bochman and board for this opportunity to connect visitors with our past,” said Wetovick-Bily. 
Finally, attendees can enjoy live music at the social. The Shrine of Democracy Chorus will once again perform from 2-2:45 p.m. After that, The Carson Brown Band will take the stage from 3-4 p.m. “thanks to the generosity of the Hill City Arts Council sponsorship,” said Wetovick-Bily. “We are also grateful to the partnership of Lee Ann and Rich Jensen and friends who donate the time and the use of the trailer and tent for the musical performances.” 
On Saturday, July 6, through Sunday, July 7, Hill City’s 2024 Star Spangled Craft & Vendor Fair will take place at the Hill City Boys & Girls Club, the Hill City Center and the parking lot between the club and the center. The fair will feature over 25 vendors and will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days. 
“We’re fortunate that Stefanie Doaty coordinates the Star Spangled Craft & Vendor Fair and other fair opportunities throughout the year. Summer festivals, events, art fairs and shows are a great way to bring visitors to Hill City, increase their opportunities to experience and explore in Hill City and economically impact our businesses and entire community,” Wetovick-Bily said. “Having a two-day craft fair is another added feature that brings people to Hill City to shop, dine and experience our entire town.” 
AAA Travel reports released Friday, June 21 sindicate that travel for Independence Day will be record-setting. 
“The association looked at the entire July 4 week, plus the Saturday before and the Sunday after the holiday, and it found that 2024’s projected number of travelers for that time is a five percent increase compared to 2023 and an eight percent increase over 2019. With two weekends for people to travel, we want to give them a great opportunity to explore Hill City,” Wetovick-Bily said. “We are looking forward to our largest crowd ever this Fourth of July and are thrilled to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day together. Along with our Hill City community, our summer visitors eagerly anticipate this special event, and we are happy that they choose to experience Hill City with us on this special day and weekend.”
The full schedule of events will be posted on the Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. 

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