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Music On Main: Release the Kraken.

After what seemed like an eternal winter and a cool spring, we've finally reached the heart of summer. The Red Sox are in first place and the back to school ads are weeks away. It's the perfect time to embrace the summer tradition of the community block party.

This year Durham Parks & Recreation, partnering with Durham Public Works and Celebrate Durham, have again organized to present Music on Main. It's Thursday, August 2nd from 6:00-8:00PM on (of course!) Main Street. This year's highlight is the commemoration of Durham's 40th anniversary as a Tree City.

The Tree City USA program was founded by the Arbor Day Foundation in 1976. It was intended to provide a framework for communities to manage their public trees. To achieve Tree City status, a town must meet four core standards of urban forestry management. This includes maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, and celebrating Arbor Day. Durham's 40 year streak is one of the longest in the state.

For the 40th Celebration, Durham Public Works will be planting an Elm tree donated by Eversource in Memorial Park. An Elm is significant because Main Street used to be lined with them, but Dutch Elm Disease wiped them out. DPW will also be handing out seedlings so you can add a tree to your yard. Finally, special guest Smoky the Bear will be on hand and welcomes photographs.

One of the highlights of last year's Music on Main was the ice cream eating contest. The Candy Bar developed the Kraken, consisting of a green plastic bucket filled with 8 scoops ice cream and 8 toppings. Three-person teams signed up and competed in elementary, middle school, and high school and above categories.

The high school and above contest pitted a group of hungry cross country bikers against my son, my wife, and myself. We were clearly the underdogs, but thanks to my insanely competitive wife, we pulled off a win.

The contest is back again this year, and starts at 6:30 PM. The 3 categories are 4 person elementary K-4 team, 3 person middle school 5th-8th grade/ family team which can include 1 adult and two children, and single person team. There is a 10 minute time limit, and first to finish or the most eaten when time expires wins. Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers in each category. There is a $25 fee to enter, and participants should arrive early at the booth in front of the Candy Bar to pick their toppings.

As if the trees and ice cream were not enough, Parks & Recreation will also have a band, and the time-tested bouncy house. Local businesses and nonprofits will have display tables set up, and you'll have an opportunity to make a craft, see some

cool board games, and learn about how to help the community.

Grab your friends, family, and neighbors and head downtown to celebrate summer. Make sure you leave room for ice cream.

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