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Amanda J. Billings
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Phone: (812) 330-6222
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This Story is provided by The Herald Times

Hundreds brave the heat at Picnic with the Pops
Many welcome the chance to celebrate, honor veterans

June 27, 2010

By Christy Mullins 331-4266 | cmullins@heraldt.com

An hour into Saturday’s annual Picnic with the Pops festival, dozens of table decorators had broken a sweat.
They ranged from graphic designers to grandmothers to teachers just itching to decorate something, now that school’s out. And their tables were just as diverse — from classic patriotic themes to neons and tie-dye.

In its 14th year, Picnic with the Pops is an early Independence Day celebration, with a live music performance by the Bloomington Pops’ 70-member orchestra and 70-member voice chorus on a large field of the Ivy Tech Community College.

Saturday’s event also included a posting and recovery of the colors by members of the Indiana Army National Guard and a musical tribute to active and retired service personnel.

The Bloomington Community Band and the Jefferson Street Parade Band also played Saturday evening.
Travis Sims, a local magician, performed for children in the Kids’ Zone, and a children’s parade marched through before the concert at 8.

Musical tributes to Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and the Supremes also were in order, along with a “Fabulous Fifties” set including “Blue Moon,” “Teenager in Love” and “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” in Act Two.

Somewhere in the middle, judges decided whose tables were most patriotic and most creative.
Sara Hasseld, her sister Nancy Goss and parents, Ron and Mary Jensen, have won the festival’s table decorating contest three times in the past five years, once for the Jensens’ 50th anniversary theme in 2005, again for the family’s baseball theme in 2006 and most recently for their Assembly Hall cream-and-crimson theme in 2008.

The group jokes every year with Cheryl Paul and Kelly Nelson, two friends who set up a table nearby and won the contest in 2007 with a disco theme and last year when they made the table into a giant Candy Land board. This year they went with polka dots.

Later, Vietnam veterans would ride motorcycles from Lawrence County to eat with the McCreas, a couple who has celebrated Picnic with the Pops since the year it began.

“Next to IU football, this is it,” said Liz McCrea, whose husband’s favorite holiday is the Fourth of July.
Liz McCrea bought a table to serve her friends and family.

Just beside it, her husband David McCrae bought one for the vets.

Military service “brings tears to my eyes,” David McCrae said.

“It’s an unbelievable sacrifice. I just can’t put it into words.”


Thom and Autumn Ulmet line up for the kids’ parade Saturday. Monty Howell | Herald-Times


Hogan Miller takes a turn at a game in the children's midway. Monty Howell | Herald-Times


Addison Smith joins the children's parade Saturday. Monty Howell | Herald-Times

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