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Hillfest brings Duluth together

Local neighborhood kids play basketball in the middle of Sixth Avenue East. (Photo by Anna Jones)1 / 4
Gabriel Brooks, left, 11, moved to Duluth about a week ago from Washington D.C. He says he likes that it isn't as humid as D.C. and the people are nice. He played ladder golf at HillFest with Ian Boit, center, and Danny O'Neill, right. (Photo by Anna Jones)2 / 4
Monita Gibson leads a group of girls in zumba. She is an independent zumba instructor and teaches at studios in Duluth. “It was fun watching the little kids enjoy today,” she said. “They pulled in the older generations.” (Photo by Anna Jones)3 / 4
Duluth Firefighter Zack Drews races a kid up the rock climbing wall. Along with other firefighters, he helped kids try on firefighting gear, climb in the firetruck and learn more about what they do. "Sometimes just doing stuff around the station gets monotonous at times," said Drews. "It's cool to get out and do stuff like this with the community." (Photo by Anna Jones)4 / 4

The seventh annual HillFest took place Sunday, Aug 28 on the 500-600 block of East Fourth Street. Local resident Archie Davis organized the first HillFest in 2012 as a way to bring community members together despite the traffic-heavy Sixth Avenue East that cuts the Central Hillside neighborhood in half. He also wanted something for local kids to do in the summer without having to pay the high prices at events like the State Fair.

Taking inspiration from Spirit Valley Days, Davis planned the event with a board of about 45 members and coordinated the closing of Sixth Avenue with the Duluth Police Department.

"A huge plus we have seen from this event is a lot of improvements in the area," said Davis. "I hope more community people become engaged in this in the future."