(For more on Dew Days, click here. This story was in the June 12 special section devoted to Dew Days in the Dakota County Tribune and select editions of Sun Thisweek.)
Farmington Dew Days, the official kickoff to the summer festival event season in Dakota County, is centered on the idea that people can not only be entertained by many of the events, but they also can be the ones doing the entertaining.
The festival attracts an estimated 8,000 people to the events over the course of its five days, this year from June 17-21, with a focus on group and individual participation.
The largest attraction is the Dew Days Grand Parade, which will be at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 21, offering a chance for experiencing both sides of an event. It’s great to watch the parade from the perch of a lawn chair, and, for some, it’s even better to walk in the parade and hand out freebies to spectators.
The parade goes right through the heart of downtown as it starts at the Dakota County Fairgrounds, travels north on Third Street to Spruce Street east to Fourth Street and south to the fairgrounds.
The parade includes a wide range of floats and entrants, including many community and school groups. The Farmington High School marching band is always one of the highlights along with the many youth groups and the Farmington Royalty, which will be crowned during the 6:30 p.m. June 17 coronation at Boeckman Middle School.
With the final day attracting the most visitors, the activity in the Beer Garden that night is usually very vibrant. This year, Brat Pack Radio brings the sounds of the 80s under the tent. The Twin Cities cover band cranks out hits from the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna and Simple Minds. The band deploys a liberal use of costumes to match the fashion of the 80s artists.
Friday night’s band will provide an appropriate backdrop to the Car Cruise that will roll into town that night. The Rockin’ Hollywoods cover material mostly from the 50s and 60s, which is likely the vintage of most of the vehicles people will see in the car show. (More about the cruise is in this edition.)
The two other big evening events will be swapping days of the week.
The Flavors of Farmington, which has a cornucopia of local restaurants offering bites to eat in the Beer Garden, will move to Wednesday, June 18, while Beer, Brats and Bingo moves to Thursday, June 19.
The ticket price of $8 per person for the Flavors of Farmington will include a chance for people to win raffle prizes, while the bingo games offer winnings for the lucky ones. Of course, one always wins when partaking in a beer and a brat served up by Longbranch/Gossips, which is contributing to the event. Beer, Brats and Bingo is a fundraiser for the Castle Rock-Empire-Eureka-Farmington Areawide Enhancement Group that helps organize Dew Days.
With contests galore, Farmington Dew Days wants you to be a star.
Among the contests are:
• Chocolate Chip Cookie Contest with registration forms available at the temporary library location at Farmington City Hall, 430 Third St.
• Coloring Contest at Market on Oak.
• Chalk-drawing Contest at Janie’s Home Team.
• Bubble-blowing Contest at Hiekkila Studio.
• Pie-eating Contest at the main stage.
• Rib Cook-off in front of the Farmington Independent.
• Hula Hoop Contest at the main stage.
• Two different pizza-eating contests at the main stage.
If that wasn’t enough for participation, there’s the Dew Run (see more inside this edition), Softball Tournament, Fishing Tournament for those 15 and under, Medallion Hunt, Kiddie Parade and Bean Bag Tournament.
Other mainstays of Dew Days return, including the Kiss A Pig Contest, which pits local celebrities against one another as people contribute money to their jars. The “winner” of the fundraising challenge gets to smooch a pleasant pig.
The Art Fair and Business Expo takes to the streets of downtown on Friday and Saturday with a wide range of booths selling artworks and various items.
People also won’t want to miss purchasing an official Farmington Dew Days button. A button is needed to win the coverall during Beer, Brats and Bingo and claim the full prize of the Medallion Hunt.
Buttons also allow people to take advantage of discounts at area merchants.
More about all the events is at farmingtondewdays.com.