Celebrations for the opening and closing of two bridges

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STILLWATER, Minn. — The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new St. Croix Crossing Bridge is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2, on the Minnesota side of the new bridge. Governors and state and local officials from Minnesota and Wisconsin will be in attendance for the one-hour ceremony that is open to the public.

Public parking will be at the old Fury Motors lot (Highway 36 and Osgood across from Walgreens), the Stillwater Middle School, and the Stillwater Area High School. Shuttle services to bring people to and from the ceremony will run 8-9 a.m., compliments of Minnesota Central Bus Company. There is no public parking on or near the bridge. Immediately following the ceremony, the City of Oak Park Heights and Town of St. Joseph invites everyone to attend an ice cream social at the Oak Park Crossing Park, 15125 60th St. N.

See maps and shuttle information at www.dot.state.mn.us/stcroixcrossing/events.html

Additional events planned for the day include a brief public ceremony in Lowell Park to commemorate the lift bridge's 86 years of service. Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski and city leaders will host the event with federal, state and local officials.

"Over its history, the lift bridge has become more than just another river crossing. It's an iconic structure that has been a part of our lives for generations. We're so excited to see that it will get a second life," said Kozlowski.

Starting at 6 p.m., the City of Stillwater and civic leaders are partnering to expand the already scheduled "Cruisin' on the Croix" classic car show to a public festival billed as "Cruisin to Closure" to celebrating the closing of the historic lift bridge.

The Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce members are celebrating this huge milestone by offering "Bridge-Bash-Specials" to invite folks into local establishments to celebrate this historic time.

"Businesses are optimistic about these two historic milestones, the opening of the new bridge, and the closing of the lift bridge. I believe locals will reunite with their hometown with easier access to downtown and the surrounding areas. No more sitting in traffic. More local shopping, visiting our fabulous restaurants, and enjoying the small-town experience, the reason why many of us live here," says Executive Director Robin Anthony.

Ten days later, the City of Stillwater is planning a Community Street Dance from 5-10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, on Chestnut Street. The idea for the dance is a reflection to the celebration that took place in 1931 when the lift bridge opened.

"We thought we should have a community celebration of the closing of the lift bridge, the highlight of this event would be a polka dance," said Council member and Chamber Board Member Mike Polehna. The city council approved the closure of Chestnut Street from Water Street to the lift bridge for the street dance, and the use of the adjacent parking lots for food vendors and a beer tent.

To wrap-up the celebrations this year the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with New Richmond and Somerset chambers, are going aboard the Majestic Star Stillwater River Boat on Aug. 16. For more information, and to purchase tickets, contact the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce at 651-439-4001 or visit http://members.greaterstillwaterchamber.com/events/details/chamber-mixer....