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Dallas Set For Summerfest Party

DALLAS -- This weekend Dallas will be "Under the Sea" as Summerfest washes over the city for four days filled with fun and sea creatures.

DALLAS -- This weekend Dallas will be "Under the Sea" as Summerfest washes over the city for four days filled with fun and sea creatures.

This year the theme is "Under the Sea" and the famed pirate ship that played such a big part in last year's pirate-themed Summerfest will make a reappearance.

Only this time, the ship has sunk, the "Grungy Galleon" is out, and a crew of mermaids is in, said Chelsea Pope, the Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce executive director and event coordinator.

Pope said "The Little Mermaid" is her favorite Disney movie, so she is looking forward to seeing people have fun with the theme.

"I'm really excited about seeing lots of 'under the sea' creatures," she said.

This year's celebration, set for July 28-31, will have all the features people have come to expect from past Summerfests: plenty of food, arts, crafts and retail items for sale on the Polk County Courthouse lawn; the Dallas Fire Department's hydro-cart races; Sunday's breakfast, car show and art show in Dallas City Park; and the biggest small-town parade around.

"Parade applications are rolling in steadily," Pope said, adding she's heard a lot of excitement about this year's theme. "I think we will have lots of fish, lobsters, crabs, a lot of mermaids and some mermen."

Parade coordinator Bonnie Dreier said this year's grand marshals are the 2011 Dallas Community Awards winners, who will ride in the chamber's ship, along with other local dignitaries, including Dallas Mayor Brian Dalton.

The parade will honor local resident Tom Hamilton, best known for his love for and restoration work on antique tractors, with an entry of old tractors.

Hamilton was a longtime participant in Summerfest. He died in February.

"This is the first Summerfest without him," Dreier said. "He was always part of the parade."

Hamilton's stepson, Steven Van Noy, will lead the tribute, driving one of Hamilton's prized antique tractors in the parade Saturday.

Following the parade, the tractors will be on display in the Bollman Funeral Home parking lot, at 694 Main St., until the close of Summerfest at 6 p.m. Saturday.

People wanting to register for the tractor parade and display, or the parade in general, should contact Dreier at the chamber office, 503-623-2564.

Summerfest has an addition to the lineup of Thursday events. This year, instead of skipping the week of Summerfest, Polk County Bounty Market will be open at its regular time and day, 2 to 6 p.m., Thursday. The only difference will be the location. With Summerfest vendors on the courthouse lawn, the Bounty Market will move to Court Street in front of the chamber office, 119 SW Court St. The street will be closed for the market.

The popular helicopter rides have been moved this year to the fields near Lyle Elementary School and expanded to include Sunday.

Pope said she hopes the change in location will make it easier for people to catch a bird's-eye view of Dallas.

"When they were at Dallas High School, the distance was an issue," she said. "Hopefully ,with them up the hill at Lyle, we will get more people riding."

Pope said with all events falling into place and an army of volunteers lending a hand, she is hoping to see plenty of community spirit this week as Dallas puts on its biggest party of the year.

"It's the best time to see what Dallas is all about," Pope said, especially noting the main event, Saturday's parade. "Everybody comes out for the parade. Everybody enjoys the parade and that's why we do it."

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