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MARILYN HAGERTY: Get me to the park on time

The theme for the wedding of Laura Kolstoe and Travis Vaughn is "outdoor relaxed." They are looking forward to their marriage June 27 in Sertoma Park.

The theme for the wedding of Laura Kolstoe and Travis Vaughn is "outdoor relaxed." They are looking forward to their marriage June 27 in Sertoma Park.

Laura and Travis are among dozens of couples who have booked weddings this summer in city parks, the Myra Gazebo on Belmont Road or the Hopper-Danley Chapel on the banks of the English Coulee that runs through UND campus.

Laura and Travis chose Sertoma Park because they have enjoyed walking in the area. And it was in Sertoma Park that Travis proposed to Laura.

Sertoma is second to University for summer weddings in city parks. Weddings also can be held at Bringewatt and Lincoln Parks. For $50, couples can reserve a wedding site between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., or from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. What they get is the spot. They have to make their own arrangements for bringing in chairs. Those who choose the Myra Gazebo pay $200 for the outdoor setting, and the cost includes use of as many as 200 chairs.

Last year, there were 21 weddings in city parks. So far this summer, 17 are booked.

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Leah Byzewski, director of the Myra Museum, says there used to be two or three weddings a year in the Myra Gazebo, but the trend is growing. There have been 11 weddings each of the past two years. She speculates that some people love the great outdoors and some dream of an outdoors wedding. Couples seem to want to keep their weddings simple, but keep them tasteful. It could be a sign of the touch economic times.

The first wedding of 2009 at the Gazebo is set for this evening.

Debbie Merrill, coordinator for the Hopper-Danley Chapel, reports every weekend is filled up for weddings there through November and about 10 couples already have signed up for the year 2010. There's a $300 fee to use the chapel, which has 140 chairs, a sound system, rest rooms and an altar. There is ample room for socializing on the grounds around the chapel. After it opened in 2007, about 20 couples went there to be married. The same number spoke their wedding vows there in 2008. This year, about 60 couples are getting married there.

UND students, alumni and staff members are finding their way to the chapel to meditate and spend some quiet time. It is open between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Ask Marilyn Hagerty

Q. Why isn't the dog park near Lincoln Park opening until July 1?

A. That's because they have just planted new grass in there and are hoping to let it catch on before using the park.

Q. What can you do if your dog says there is nothing to do around this broken down town?

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A. Tell the dog to go out and chase rabbits out of the backyard.

Whazzup?

The first weekend of June arrives with lilacs in bloom, birds building nests and Shriners holding a parade downtown Saturday morning. North Star Quilters Guild has a theme of "Quilting with the Stars" for this year's show Saturday and Sunday in Sacred Heart School in East Grand Forks. . . And the Red River Valley Chapter of Pheasants Forever is holding a social and dinner Saturday evening in the Blue Line Club Rink of East Grand Forks. . . Some Grand Forks Lions are heading to Minot, where Wayne Westlund of Grand Forks will be installed as District 5 Governor. . .

Marge and Jim

Cheerful Person of the Week: Marge Leigh. Runner up: Jim Leigh.

Reach Hagerty at mhagerty@gfherald.com or (701) 772-1055.

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