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For the next few days I will be weeding the front garden beds very thoroughly to make them look top notch for the company who will be arriving for John C. Fremont Days.

I always look forward to this celebration. There is always so much scheduled you can’t possibly do everything. I logged on the John C. Fremont website over the weekend so I can start planning which events I don’t want to miss.

I started with the schedule for the Chautauqua Tent. After the opening ceremony, Bob Olson and the Dixieland Band will get things off to a great start. Check out the final schedule to confirm the times for all of the acts that will perform at the tent at the John C. Fremont Park at 6th and Main. Friday’s lineup includes the Tri-Tones, Payton Eyler, Aaron Mercado, Fremont Street Musicians, the Happy Players (accordions and more) and the Little Miss Fremont Pageant. Later that night, you can listen to The Tidball and Barger Band.

On Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. you can watch the ever popular Dancin’ Grannies perform, listen to the Essen Family Performers, tap your toes to the Civil War Band, watch Julie’s Creative Movement Dance Studio kick up their heels, listen to the Bluegrass band – The Toasted Ponies, watch the Heartland Hoedowners and the Many Moccasins Dance Troupe, be amazed by hypnotist Ed Wunder and end the day with the music of Down Memory Lane.

On Sunday morning, Chautauqua will feature a Community Church Service with the Spoudazo Youth group.

On Saturday morning, kids can have a great time at Midland University. They will find games, fire truck rides, dance and martial arts demonstrations and much more.

I will make my way to Clemmons Park on Saturday to check out all the Encampments. It’s always fascinating to see the Union and Confederate camps, the Buckskinner and Trader Camps, the Native American Camp with its 18-foot tepee and the WWI Camp. However, my personal favorite is the Medieval Society Encampment. Since I didn’t get to the Renaissance Faire this year, I am so looking forward to this. I love seeing the demonstrations of essential skills for life at all the eras represented.

There are tours for those interested in our town’s unique history. Unfortunately, according to the website, all of the tours are full. That shows how amazingly popular they are. You can always take a walking tour of the Broad Street Historical District using the brochures that will be displayed on each end of the district.

Something new and interesting this year is the presentation by Dr. Amy Forss, History Chair at Metropolitan Community College. She will talk about “What Were the Women Doing during WWI?” This lecture will take place on Saturday at Milady Coffee Shop at 1 p.m.

There will be a somber display at John C. Fremont City Park in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I. You can see a re-creation of Flanders Field, complete with memorial crosses.

I will check out that display on my way to the SPAM Cooking Competition in the Park on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. I can’t wait to see this year’s entrants’ creative uses of our Fremont-made pork product.

The above is just a partial listing of the events for the 2018 version of John C. Fremont Days. You can also check out the Cruisers on Main Car and Bike Show, the Historical Community Parade, the Craft and Vender Show, Fremont Antique Power, the Cosmopolitan Club Pancake Feed, The First United Methodist Church Pie Parlor, the Balloon Glow, Rodeo, the Middle School Pool Party, Cosmic Bowling and Sand Volleyball Tournament.

No one can possibly do everything that is offered, but I know there has to be something for everyone in the extensive entertainment offerings. Be sure to check out the full list of available activities, the locations and times at www.johncfremontdays.org.

For this weekend, I like to have a snack or two in the refrigerator so I can feed last minute guests or Gregg and me after a long day of fun events. The recipe for Vegetable Caviar is so delicious and just gets better the longer you let it set. It’s delicious with tortilla chips or stuffed in a warmed flour or corn tortilla. It’s a good way to consume vegetables after a treat or two from the many food vendors around town.

A picture of beer margaritas is perfect after a long hot day exploring all John C. Fremont has to offer. This recipe is so easy and so delicious, you may make it a yearly tradition.

Vegetable Caviar

3 cans black beans

1 can black-eyed peas

1 can garbanzo beans

1 can corn

1 red onion, diced

1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies

1 can chili-style tomatoes

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

3 to 4 limes, juiced

2 to 3 cloves garlic, pressed

1 bunch scallions, chopped

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1 teaspoon oregano leaves

1 tablespoon red chili sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 or 2 orange/red sweet bell peppers, chopped

1 cup vinaigrette dressing (homemade or commercial)

Juice limes. Drain beans, peas and corn. Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate. The longer it sits, the better it gets.

Beer Margaritas

1 can (12 ounces) frozen limeade, thawed

1/2 cup orange-flavored liquor (Triple Sec)

1 1/2 cups tequila

1 cup water

1 bottle (12 ounces) lime-flavored beer

Mix all ingredients. Serve over ice in salt-rimmed glasses. Recipe Note: I often mix the first 4 ingredients and chill in the refrigerator. I add the beer just before serving.

Quote of the Week: 2018 marks the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War I and the festival’s Board of Directors wanted to commemorate and incorporate the historical date into this year’s theme. The World War I theme will be expressed on flyers and schedules, with veteran support poppy sales taking place in both Clemmons and John C. Fremont City Park in support of the new Fremont Veteran’s Park. — John C. Fremont Days website

Ellen Lund of Fremont is a freelance food columnist.

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