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Billings Park Days up to bat

Children and their families gather around inflatable slides and bounce houses in the children’s game area at the 2015 Billings Park Days. This year, the Twin Ports Rampage girls’ softball group will be hosting the children’s games at the event, which takes place Aug. 4-5. Submitted photo 1 / 2
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Superior's neighborhood festivities are heating up this summer.

First to bat was South End Days, which served up a softball rivalry rematch, dunk tank, medallion hunt and music over the weekend.

According to organizers, attendance at the annual event doubled this year. And for the record, the Superior Fire Department held onto the Guns-n-Hoses softball trophy, defeating the Superior Police Department, 19-18.

Stepping up to the plate is Billings Park Days, which runs Aug. 4-5. The reboot of the popular festival, now in its third year, has a flavor all its own.

"Every year, we're trying to change it a little," said Craig Sutherland, a member of the Billings Park Business Association, which organizes the event.

Fireworks light up the Billings Park sky at dusk Aug. 4. The display will be followed by the 1993 coming-of-age baseball film "The Sandlot," shown on the baseball diamond behind the Billings Park Civic Center.

Saturday events run the gamut from rummage sales — 30 and counting — to a car show, dog show, children's games and one-block parade.

"If you're looking for something to do, it's free," said Sydni Clarke, 17. "It's a great thing to do with your family and each other."

Clarke has enjoyed the annual event so much that she centered her mandatory senior project on it. She's one of two Superior High School seniors spending more than 40 hours apiece to make the festival a success.

It's more than a graduation requirement for Clarke.

"I got involved because I grew up in Billings Park and I wanted to give back to the community," Clarke said. "I knew people on the committee. I thought it would be a good fit for me."

The project has involved weekly planning meetings, picking up donations from businesses and a lesson in finance.

"I learned that you actually need to have a budget," Clarke said. "You can't go over budget. If you go over budget, you can't buy stuff."

Clarke is in charge of registering floats, walkers and more for the one-block parade along Iowa Avenue. Last year, there were about 20 entries. Only five had registered as of Friday.

There's no cost to enter the parade, which begins at 10 a.m. Aug. 5. Folks can enter any time, even the day of the event, but Clarke said it's nice to know ahead of time how many to expect.

The other senior working on the event is Brenden Penney. With the help of his family, he's hosting the Penney Car & Bike Show noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 5 in the parking lot of the Shack, 3301 Belknap St.

As of Monday, 30 cars and motorcycles had been entered, including a 1931 Ford Model A and a 1972 El Camino.

There is a $10 cost to enter; $15 for two or more vehicles. All proceeds from the show will help provide holiday gifts for a family in need through no fault of their own, such as a family death or sickness.

"We give them Christmas," said Nina Penney, Brenden's mother.

Entries will be taken through the day of the event.

Billings Park Businesses and volunteers have stepped up to make this year's event a success, said Sutherland, 8th District city councilor.

"They've always been a huge part of it," he said.

In return, they get a chance to shine.

"People from East End or different ends of Superior come to Billings Park and get to see what it looks like," Clarke said.

As the event date nears, there's still time to be part of the festivities.

To join the Billings Park Days parade, call (218) 428-8625.

To register for the car and motorcycle show, call (218) 355-8775.

Snag a spot in the homemade craft fair by contacting Cassie Stovern at (715) 790-1746 or cassiestovern@gmail.com. There's room for additional vendors at the event, as well.

Enter your pup in the dog show at Miranda's Smooch a Pooch Salon, 1827 Iowa Ave., or the business Facebook page.

The deadline to register a Billings Park rummage sale has been pushed back to Friday.

More information can be found on the Billings Park Days Facebook page or billingsparkdays.com.

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