Festival to honor long time leader, organizer - - - Liz Citrino named Grand Marshall, in memoriam
Next weekend’s Trout Creek Huckleberry Festival is dedicated to the memory of Liz Citrino. Citrino led the festival for seven years, until just days before her death this February from cancer, after a valiant battle. In her honor, an equestrian unit will lead a riderless horse. The Huckleberry Festival Committee will wear their lime green T-shirts with pride. The shirts feature wording on the back: “Festival Team / in memory of Liz Citrino.”
Because of Citrino, who brought experience as a community and grassroots event coordinator, the 35th Annual Huckleberry Festival will continue. The event, started in 1979, is a testament of her love of community and her strength of spirit. Her efforts are well apparent. “Liz was a unique woman with an amazing ability to bring people together and accomplish great things. It was until we lost her that we realized how much she accomplished as a single individual. She has left her mark on this festival forever and she will be sorely missed,” said Debb McNary, who stepped into the chairperson position this winter.
McNary and the rest of the festival crew anticipate an excellent gathering again this year. There are a few new items, as well as those that continue on the schedule, brought back because of popularity in previous years. Planners are reprising the Huck Finn Contest. In addition to the Miss Huckleberry Pageant, coordinators Ashley Grounds and Emily Schilling have boys involved in the event, as were included for several years in the 1990s. Both the girls and boys pageants will feature a focus primarily on talent and community service. To prove that, contestants will patrol the festival grounds next weekend selling cool bottled water for the enjoyment of festival goers.
Entertainment from the Pinkertons on mandolin and guitar (Sunday, Aug. 10, beginning at noon), and a performance of “Alice in Wonderland” by the Pitiful Players of Libby (Sunday at 2 p.m.). Continuing attractions include over 100 arts and crafts booths. There are still a few spaces remaining, said coordinator Kathy Hill. She can be reached at 827-3301. The popular festival auction is still accepting donations. To participate, call coordinator Sandy Green, 827-3036.
The Huckleberry Festival will again feature pancake breakfasts, offered by the Trout Creek Volunteer Fire Department; the 5K Run for Run; parade; auction; Huckleberry Homesteader Pentathlon; musical entertainment and children’s games and activities throughout the park; and much more. Entertainment will include Dave Oliver, Idaho Puppet Theater, the Huckleberry Jam Band, Swing Street Big Band, Albeni Falls Pipe & Drum, the Devon Wade Band, and dog agility competition by the Huckleberry Hounds Agility Club. Contests will include the pie eating contest, jam and jelly contest and huckleberry dessert contest. For the schedule and details on the various events, including contest registrations, visit the festival website at www.huckleberryfestival.com.
Article by Sandra Gubel, published in the Sanders County (Montana) Ledger on Thursday, July 31, 2014.