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Media Contact: David O'Neill
Prairie Home Productions
Phone: 651-999-1095

June 19, 2009

Stearns County town of Avon, Minn., is site of special Fourth of July broadcast

(ST. PAUL, MINN.) On July 6, 1974, a dozen or so people showed up at the Janet Wallace Auditorium at Macalester College in Saint Paul and plunked down their $1 admission (50 cents for kids) to attend the very first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion. On Saturday, July 4, 2009, APHC's fans, which now number in the millions, have the chance to gather in the town of Avon, Minnesota, to celebrate the show's 35th anniversary. Admission this time: FREE.

Host Garrison Keillor says:

"Stearns County is about as close to Lake Wobegon as you can get so it's where we plan to observe the 35th anniversary of A Prairie Home Companion — in the town of Avon, which is on the Lake Wobegon Bike Trail, broadcasting live coast to coast and overseas via Armed Forces Radio — a brass band, speeches, acoustic blues and rock ’n’ roll, some reminiscences by old-timers, and the whole big crowd singing the national anthem, and our sound-effects man will make rockets go up in the air.

I've biked the Bike Trail a couple of times and love the ordinary beauty of farmland and meadow and the towns along it. And since the radio show had its origins there, in the stories I heard when I lived near Freeport and hung around St. John's, it's only right to return and say hello."

The show starts at 4:45 p.m.rain or shine, but not lightning — in Lake Wobegon Park and will be broadcast on public radio stations nationwide. (See local listings for broadcast times.) Bring your own chair or blanket to sit on. Plenty of your favorite picnic food and cold beverages will be available for purchase.

Sound-effects wizard Tom Keith will be on hand, along with the Guy's All-Star Shoe Band, the Lake Wobegon Brass Band, the St. John's Boys' Choir, and singer Andra Suchy. And as always, we'll catch up on the news from Lake Wobegon during Keillor's signature monologue.

Currently in its 35th season, A Prairie Home Companion is heard on close to 600 public radio stations nationwide, with a weekly audience that tops 4.3 million listeners. The program can also be heard on XM Radio, the Armed Forces Network Europe, the Far East Network, and in dozens of European cities via the Astra satellite network. The News from Lake Wobegon, is available via podcast/iTunes.

Garrison Keillor is the recipient of Grammy, ACE and George Foster Peabody awards, and he has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His weekly op-ed column, "The Old Scout," appears in newspapers coast to coast, and his books include Lake Wobegon Days, The Book of Guys, Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 and his latest, Liberty (Viking).

A Prairie Home Companion is produced by Prairie Home Productions and presented by American Public Media. The show is sponsored nationally by General Mills, Inc. and by the Ford Company. Audio clips, scripts and more information on A Prairie Home Companion can be found online at

WHAT: A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor

WHO: Garrison Keillor, with sound-effects man Tom Keith, and the Guy's All-Star Shoe Band. Plus special guests, including the Lake Wobegon Brass Band, the St. John's Boys' Choir, and singer Andra Suchy

WHEN Live performance: Saturday, July 4 at 4:45 p.m. CDT (check local listings for broadcast times)

WHERE: Lake Wobegon Park (Avon Ave. North and Second St. Northeast), Avon, Minnesota



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