ROCHESTER, MN -- Nine days are carved out of every summer for Rochesterites to celebrate who they are and what the community really means to them. For some it's a travel down the street, but for others it's a bit further.
Cliff Hughes says, "At a rough guess about 30,000 miles."
Cliff Hughes and his wife Winnie traveled from their home of New Zealand to be a part of the Midwestern Lumberjack Championships held right here in Rochester. The Hughes have been coming here almost nine years and say Rochester has something to be proud of.
Cliff Hughes says, "It's got the best competitors in the world without question. The best new Zealanders, the best Austrailians and the top Americans and from Canada, it's just the best show in the states."
Winnie Hughes says, "I often wonder now, we've been coming for so many years what is it going to be like when we don't come."
This is the 26th year Rochester has been celebrating Rochesterfest, and it's all thanks to one man.
Chuck Hazama says, "For once a year it's really worth it."
Former Rochester Mayor Chuck Hazama served for 17 years and in that time traveled around the country. He saw the way other cities celebrated their communities across the United States and wanted Rochester to do the same.
Chuck Hazama says, "It really expresses our citizens pride for our community that's what it really does more than anything else."
And Hazama says he hasn't missed a year, for him it's more than just a nine-day celebration, it's a tradition 26 years in the making.