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Pep rally kicks off fall sports Friday
The Croods will be shown outdoors
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Fall parks and recreation sports kick-off Friday night with a pep rally and a movie beneath the stars at Veterans Memorial Park.

Children's activities such as football and baseball throwing competitions, inflatables, photo booth and wrestling exhibitions begin at 6 p.m., with Movies in the Park's presentation of "The Croods" following at dusk.

Admission is free, though concessions will be available for purchase. All activities will take place on the park's football field.

The event is designed to be similar to Spring Sports Opening Day with the focus on fall athletics, such as football, soccer and cheerleading, as well as fall baseball and T-ball leagues. More than 800 area youngsters participate in fall parks and recreation sports.

"Over the past few years, we have expanded our annual program offerings to include track and field and wrestling," said Dawson County Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Henson, who expects to see a crowd at the popular event.

"The addition of these programs has opened the door for many athletes who prefer individual sports over team sports."

Soccer continues to be the county's most popular youth sport.

"Soccer continues to be the fastest growing program for Dawson County, reaching an all-time high in participation for fall of 2012 at 382. Fall of 2013 is estimated to be the same or higher," Henson said.

She credits the success of the county's youth sports programs "to the many volunteer coaches who devote their time, experience and wealth of knowledge to our children."

To further demonstrate that dedication, all youth sports coaches for the 2013 football season have been trained in the USA Football Heads Up Tackling and Concussion training, as well as the new mandated safety training for youth football, according to Henson.