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Wood City Festival inspires fans

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While some music festivals are legendary for fans’ outrageous behaviors as much as the musicians they feature, fans at the inaugural Wood City Music Festival gathered for a different reason.

“It was so inspiring to see and experience the town of Cloquet singing and praising God together,” said Becky Rud.

Organizers said Saturday’s festival drew about 2,000 people of all ages to the free afternoon and evening performances of 10 national and local Christian bands Saturday at Cloquet’s Veterans Park.

Sponsored by Cloquet House of Prayer and supported by many local churches, concertgoers enjoyed a variety of music from punk-pop and alternative-pop to rock, southern rock and worship. Different groups and a comedian entertained the crowd between sets.

Cloquet resident Dana Sanders said she  loved the spectrum of ages at the festival.

“We sat next to some retired-age people from Sturgeon Lake and for the last three bands I was up front with all of the youth, feeling like a kid again,” said the mother of two, adding that there were a lot of little kids in attendance as well. “I also liked the positive messages, the lyrics and when the band members talked to the crowd. I loved having my kids hear both, and it was encouraging, challenging and fun for everyone.”

Thanks to generous donors, admission was free, and 100 percent of free-will donations received at the festival — plus 90 percent of profits from food concessions — were donated to Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, Youth for Christ, and Young Life.

“I can't wait to be involved in next year’s Wood City,” Rud said.