Celebration draws near

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2002

This year's Austin Freedom Fest won't be just another festival.

The four-day celebration in July will be reminiscent of old-fashioned country fairs that is geared toward making people slow down and enjoy themselves and appreciate the freedoms we have as Americans.

"It's something different. It's not just Austin's festival either. It's the surrounding area's festival, it's your festival, it's our festival," festival director Mike Landherr says. "I hope people who come have a better understanding of how luck we have it as Americans. I hope they have time to truly reflect on that. It's not hard to look in the paper and see how tough it is out there."

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"It's for the community to come together and support each other during tough times," says Steve Leif, who is in charge of the Standing Together Freedom March on the last night of the festival.

Though Hormel is not the festival's main corporate sponsor this year, Landherr says few things will be different. Sandi Underwood, who is in charge of the Pork Producers supper during the final night of the festival says the most noticeable difference is that "we usually do a SPAM breakfast that Hormel helped with, but we aren't this year."

"It's always great to have corporate support and they will be missed," says Leif. "As far as the community goes, they will come out to gather together and have a good time."

"We want to take you back in time, move you off the blacktop and make it a family day," Landherr says. "You're not going to see your typical vendors or games there."