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Rivenes Park will be ground zero for Hubbard Hop Festival on Saturday, July 21

INDEPENDENT FILE PHOTO - This year's Hop Festival will be a little different, as not all booths will feature just nonprofit vendors. Guests can pick up delicous food and peruse 'Crafters Row' on E Street.Two years ago, Hubbard Hop Festival was canceled for the first time in 40-plus years, and a small group of volunteers wants to make sure that doesn't happen again.

Hubbard's volunteer firefighters have put on the event since the mid-1970s, but it was becoming more clear that Hop Festival needed to become its own separate entity, said Jeff Robinson, who serves both on the Hop Fest Board as president and the Hubbard Fire Board.

"It was originally to bring in more community involvement and input," he said. "And with the number of hours and requirements firefighters have to keep up now, it was becoming very difficult to volunteer with the fire district, let alone to work on Hop Fest."

So when Hop Festival returned last year, firefighters still took on the brunt of the work while a Hop Festival board started to form.

"Last year, the process had begun to separate Hop Fest into its own entity," Robinson explained. "But that technically didn't happen until the fall, when the bylaws and such were finalized."

The separation of Hop Fest and fire district volunteers doesn't mean fire district personnel won't be involved. In fact, Hop Fest board members include several volunteers affiliated with Hubbard Fire District. Additionally, the volunteer firefighters are organizing the parade and will be manning a sausage booth at the park, where they will also be selling raffle tickets, available the day of Hop Fest only. Prizes include a 40-inch TV, a cedar raised garden bed with soil, and power tools. Winners will be announced starting at 8 p.m. and don't need to be present to win.

"Yes, volunteer firefighters are still involved, but it gives them the option to come and help," Robinson said.INDEPENDENT FILE PHOTO - Dozens of people enter the Hop Festival parade every year, including the St. Paul Rodeo Court.

Things kick off with a parade at 10 a.m. The theme is "Around the World" and there will be awards for various participants in the parade.

Vendor booths and the kids zone open at 11 a.m.

Because this year's Hop Fest coincides with the Third Street Market, the market's organizers are putting together "Crafters Row" along E Street, which connects Hop Fest to the market, a blocked-off street filled with crafter and artisan booths for festival-goers to peruse.

People can start signing up for the years-old tradition of the horseshoe tournament from 11 a.m. to noon. The horseshoe tournament begins at noon and lasts until about 6 p.m. The winner is crowned with the coveted trophy hat.

The horseshoe tournament is held inside the beer garden, which is free and open to all ages until 6 p.m. Then, only 21 and over are allowed in with a $5 cover charge.

Robinson said he hopes to expand the beer garden menu in the future.

"One of my goals is to bring in different breweries; it is the Hop Fest after all," he said. "It's good as it is now, but let's make it an experience. I hope to make that one of the big changes next year."INDEPENDENT FILE PHOTO - Children enjoy the splash pad at Rivenes Park during last year's Hop Festival.

Kids can enjoy bouncy houses, the splash pad and other fun activities in the kids zone. There will be balloon toss competitions at 1 and 3 p.m.

Woodburn Fire District will bring its fire prevention trailer for families to check out, and, at 4 p.m., will assist Hubbard firefighters in a demonstration of a vehicle extrication.

This year's live entertainment includes the Marion County Citizens Band, a Hubbard area band called Desember Sun and McMinnville-based Laymans Terms, which will wrap up the event Saturday night.

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