ST. CLOUD -- Twelve weeks of music, food, and fun starts Wednesday with the 8th season of Summertime By George in St. Cloud.

St. Cloud Rotary President Troy Fritz says over 700,000 people have attended the concert series in the previous seven years.

Fritz says they focused on a lot of tribute bands this year including a tribute to Tom Petty, CCR, Neil Diamond, and more.  This week it is The Johnny Holm Band.

He says with the 4th of July holiday falling on a Wednesday this year, they will modify the show that night.

We knew the crowd would probably be a little bit smaller because of lake events and fireworks and all of that.  But, what we do is modify it.  Instead of going 5-9, we do 4-7, and we don't have an opening band.

Jen Flaten is the Middletown Market committee chair. She says they have one new food vendor this year, they are "Original Hockey Moms Brownies". Meanwhile, several of the 27 returning food trucks will be offering some new options.

Fountain of Juice is a returning vendor, and they are going to be offering vegan options this year -- pita sandwiches, cold pasta, things like that.  And then we have Happy Hut Concessions, they're also a returning vendor, that their new item is mac and cheese in a cone.

Other new foods this year include flavored popcorn, tater tot hotdish, and lefse wraps. Flaten says all of the menu items have to be approved by the committee, so they make sure they have a wide variety of options. And, all of the food vendors have to commit to all 12 nights.

The Metro Bus trolley will run every Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. until 9:25 p.m. making a loop between Lake George and downtown St. Cloud every 10 minutes. The cost to ride is free.

It takes 60 to 70 volunteers each week to pull Summertime By George together.

It has been such a success that other Rotary Clubs across the state have begun to model similar events after it, including in Willmar, Bemidji, and Excelsior.

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