Get ready for ‘Rock the Park’ June 29 at Maple Island Park

     Great River Arts is getting ready for another rockin’ evening Thursday, June 29 at the eighth annual Rock the Park concert at Maple Island Park in Little Falls.

The day’s events start with Kids Art in the Park, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., which will feature a family friendly afternoon in the park, including free art projects, sidewalk chalk murals, a collaborative community art project, theater games and the library will also be doing storytelling in the park. After Kids Art in the Park wraps up, Rock the Park 8, the free outdoor concert, will feature LaVerne and the Starlights at 6 p.m. and headliners Brothers Tone and The Big Groove from 7 p.m.  to 10 pm.

Two full sets of music and dancing on the beautiful banks of the Mississippi will make this the event of the summer. The entire event is organized by Great River Arts and sponsored by many local businesses, including this year’s primary business sponsor, The Rustic Saloon. Great River Arts will be accepting donations to help support Rock the Park and other Great River Arts programming in the Little Falls area.

LaVerne and the Starlites are kicking off the evening with a set featuring polka and classic country favorites. The band features local musicians Dean Dirkes, Daryl Dirkes, Ross Scalice, Tom Pattock, Gene Retka, Dwight Nelson and LaVerne Bzdok. Bzdok, the group’s leader and namesake, has been playing polka music for 52 years. She got her start at 13 years old as a stand-in on guitar for the Jolly Fisherman polka band, and she hasn’t looked back since.

Their performance at Rock the Park will feature a range of instruments from guitars, pianos, concertinas and “almost all of the wind instruments” to bring polka favorites from the funky chicken dance to the “Beer Barrel Polka” to life. Bring your two-stepping shoes, because LaVerne plans on getting the crowd moving.

Brothers Tone and The Big Groove are returning to Rock the Park for their sixth year. The band has an exciting set list of classic rock, funk, and rhythm and blues with a little taste of country.

The 12-piece band includes local singer Karla Jensen and former Little Falls resident, Andy Spofford, as well as a four-piece horn section and backup singers. Joining them onstage for a couple of songs will be a chorus from the Little Falls High School Choir.

A variety of food trucks and vendors will be selling refreshments. Food vendors will be open for business at 4 p.m.