WILLMAR — A block party for Somali Independence Day is planned from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday on Litchfield Avenue between Fourth and Sixth streets in downtown Willmar.
The celebration will continue from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday at Willmar Community Center, 624 Highway 71 N. Entertainment will be provided by Dalmar Yare, a Somali singer from St. Cloud, and Somali teen dancers from Willmar Senior High
The day will feature activities and games for children. Numerous businesses will be open downtown. Restaurants will be open for dining, snacks and beverages. Somali stores will be open, offering traditional clothing and groceries. Guests are encouraged to bring a chair to the downtown event as outdoor seating will be limited.
Yare will perform from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Community Center. Music for dancing will be available until 11:30 p.m.
Somali Independence Day marks the formation of the Somali Republic on July 1, 1960. The new country merged from two former territories: British Somaliland, a protectorate, and Italian Somaliland, a trusteeship created by the United Nations.
Vision 2040, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Kulmiye Store, Somali Star Restaurant, Amin Store and other Somali businesses have provided financial support for the celebration.
Facilities and equipment will be provided by the Willmar Community Center and Willmar Community Education and Recreation.
The performances by Dalmar Yare are funded by a state grant from the voter-approved Clear Water and Legacy Amendment.