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Annual celebration to be held on Aug. 17 in Longview, Washington; many events are free

PHOTO COURTESY OF LONGVIEW SQUIRREL FEST. - The annual Longview Squirrel Fest offers a fun-filled day complete with activities, food vendors, art sales, vendor sales, and photo ops with giant squirrels. Live music will also be played in the afternoon. Does the summer heat have you going a little bit nutty?

If so, the annual Squirrel Fest in Longview, Washington, might be right up your alley.

The annual event, held on Aug. 17 this year, is now being hosted by the Rotary Club of Longview and is supported by community sponsors.

In years prior, the event was hosted by the Sandbaggers Club, which has advocated for citywide installation of squirrel bridges, various news reporting from The Daily News and Oregon Public Broadcasting indicates.

In 2016, the Longview City Council voted to adopt the squirrel as the city's mascot. The city also has "Nutty Narrows Bridges" which serve as squirrel bridges for the furry critters to make it from treetop to treetop without having to get in the roadway.

The one-day Squirrel Fest pays homage to the furry critters and features a variety of free activities for children, including a 5K fun run, clowns, giant slides, a circus and interactive games. Attendees can also enjoy an Art in the Park display, shopping from more than 50 vendors and food concessions. A wine and beer garden will also be open in the afternoon.

And, of course, the event will also feature giant suited squirrels ready for photo ops throughout the day.

While the festival is probably nutty enough in its own right, it also features an event called the "Bed Race" where teams push a mattress on wheels and race. Proceeds from the event benefit Family Promise of Cowlitz County.

Event start times vary throughout the day, but the first events will kick off at 9 a.m. A full schedule, with detailed start times and event descriptions can be found online.

Attendees can also purchase tickets to see live performances on the concert stage by Raeann Phillips, Northwest Groove and 5 Guys Named Moe. Tickets are $10.

Raeann Phillips, a singer and songwriter with more than 18 years of experience in the music industry, will take the stage from 1 to 3 p.m. Northwest Groove, a self-described feel-good party band playing covers of everything from the Beatles to Steely Dan and more, will perform from 4 to 6 p.m. The headliner for the event, 5 Guys Named Moe, a 12-piece horn band which plays tunes from different decades, will take the stage from 7 to 9 p.m.

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