DECATUR - "Paul, I
love you!" came the cry from among the crowd
"We all feel the love tonight, don't
we?" responded John Lennon.
Well, it wasn't
really John Lennon or Paul McCartney, but it sure
sounded like them.
American English, one of the
most popular Beatles tribute bands, drew large crowds
Friday evening as the first performance of the 22nd
annual Decatur Celebration.
entertainment, Celebration's opening ceremonies included
speeches, the singing of the national anthem and several
awards given to community members. With the words "let
the Celebration begin," Mayor Paul Osborne kicked off
one of the largest free street festivals in
Fred Puglia, Celebration producer and
director, said he expects a record number of attendees
"Everything is coming together well;
there have been very, very few concerns," he said. "The
secret to success in 22 years is with the right formula.
We have successfully found the formula to entertain the
With the opening ceremonies, attendees
were able to celebrate the "formal kickoff" of the
festival, Puglia said. Orv Graham, the first chairman of
Decatur Celebration, hosted the ceremonies.
sights and sounds, tastes and smell: just wonderful what
Celebration does for us," he said. "You see so many
smiles at the Celebration."
And to introduce
American English, Decatur Celebration had a surprise
guest: Sam Leach, the original promoter of the Beatles,
who called American English "without doubt, the finest
Beatles tribute since the Beatles."
The band then
kicked off with "Seventeen" and performed other classic
songs such as "Please Please Me" and "Yellow
Gertrude Cayton of Cerro Gordo said
seeing American English was a huge draw for her, but she
also attends the opening ceremonies every
"People have a good time," she said. "They
come from all over the place, from all the small towns.
It gives people a chance to get out and see some acts
Decatur Celebration changes from year
to year, Puglia said, but what doesn't change is its
"What I think pleases everyone is that
there is something for everyone here," he said.
"Hopefully, everyone will just enjoy
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