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Events will ripple downstream from Itasca

Beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, the pristine Mississippi Headwaters and six other Mississippi River sites will be joined for a simultaneous One River Mississippi celebration - rain or shine.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, the pristine Mississippi Headwaters and six other Mississippi River sites will be joined for a simultaneous One River Mississippi celebration - rain or shine.

Itasca's performance will celebrate the area's rich and diverse history. A radio simulcast will be broadcast on KZY-FM 95.5 Paul Bunyan Broadcasting in Bemidji.

A pre-performance gathering at 6:30 at the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center in Itasca State Park will invite children to dance and move to Mississippi River songs.

The winner of the Park Rapids Lakes Area Arts Council One River Mississippi art contest will be announced and displayed.

Bikers from Itascatur Ski-Bike-Run Club will perform a "bike dance." Several environmental and community groups will display information and be available to share their knowledge of important river issues.

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At 7 p.m. participants and audience members will be led by the women's group, Spiral Peace Drummers, down the path to the Headwaters where the sandy shores and the infant waters of the Mississippi will welcome the footsteps of the performers.

Local choreographer Elaine Hanson will lead the adult performances to the music of Minnesota composer Peter Ostroushko. A segment of the performance will be danced by young adults from Northland Studio of Dance under the direction of choreographer Denise Gulbranson.

Harvey Tjader from the Headwaters Canoe Club and Terry Larson from Northern Adventures Mississippi Canoe Trips have joined forces and with their club members will entertain with their canoeing skills in the waters and a "paddle dance" on shore.

One River Mississippi will culminate with Native American drummers from the White Earth Pine Point community who will perform their powerful drumming - a key part of the living history of the infant Mississippi River and Lake Itasca. The Native American people, under the direction of Mike Dahl, will lead participants and audience members back to the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center.

To wrap up the evening, the Hickory Wind Trio, with native Minnesotan Bill Kaiser, Rick Paulin and Julie Kaiser, will perform acoustic "Folkgrass."

Local choreographer Elaine Hanson says, "It takes 90 days for a drop of water from the Headwaters to travel the length of the continent and empty into the sea. I am thrilled for the chance to help express the importance of this quintessentially Minnesota location that connects us to the rest of the US - and ultimately to the rest of the planet."

The One River Mississippi project brings together art, ecology and community through a colossal seven-city performance piece that will, for a few hours, transform the Mississippi River. From its source in Itasca, Minnesota, to Woodland Plantation, Plaquemines Parish, LA, the big, many-hearted river becomes a canvas on which choreographers at seven sites present their unique responses to this vital national resource.

Directions to the Mississippi Headwaters in Itasca State Park, 22 miles north of Park Rapids: Upon entering the park, stop for the required vehicle permit, flags will lead you down Main Park Drive five miles to the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center. Bring a lawn chair if you wish, and a portable radio to tune into the simulcast.

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