Dew Days is back, and it's back downtown
Organizers of the annual city celebration have heard the pleas of the many loud and clear: Bring Dew Days back downtown.
And so, they have.
Plans for the 2010 Dew Days celebration are in full swing, and much of the activity being planned is going to be held right in downtown Farmington, like it was for so many years.
And a lot of the old, popular events are back, too - the bed races, the craft fair, and of course the Grand Day Parade. But there are a few differences in this year's event, too.
A little history
A few years back, when construction of the new city hall on Spruce and Third streets started, the event - then known as Rambling River Days - was moved out to the area near the Schmitz-Maki Arena. It had a two-year run out there, but organizers received many complaints about the location.
In an attempt to appease the community, the event was renamed Dew Days last year, but moved to the Dakota County Fairgrounds. That site wasn't popular, either. The 2009 Dew Days event didn't draw near the number of visitors event planners expected. And in August, members of the Castle Rock-Empire-Eureka-Farmington Enhancement Group asked the city of Farmington for a loan to cover a $25,000 deficit left over from last year's celebration.
The city agreed. CEEF was granted a loan to be paid back over three to five years.
Along with the loan came a little restructuring to the event, and to the committee that puts it on. One of those changes came when Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist decided he'd had enough of being on the sidelines, and was ready to take a more active roll.
Lindquist is the chairperson for this year's Dew Days committee. He's no stranger to taking an active role in the community - he's been heading the Toys for Town drive for the past four years, and, before coming to Farmington more than a decade ago, he had been involved with Prairie Days in Long Praire, Minn.
"I guess I had some ideas," he said. "Having been able to watch from the sidelines for 12 or 13 years, I thought I could give it a shot, so I told Peter (Herlofsky, the city administrator) I would do it."
Lindquist will lead a committee made up of CEEF members, city staff and council members, as well as many Farmington business owners. A lot of the events are centered downtown, so members of the city's Downtown Business Association are also involved, Lindquist said.
Last year, organizers attempted to stretch the event into a 10-day celebration, which proved to be a bit much. It's been pared back this year to a five-day celebration. The first event starts Wednesday, June 16, when Miss Farmington and her court will be crowned at Boeckman Middle School.
On Thursday, the Flavors of Farmington -- one of the more popular events from last year's event at the fairgrounds -- is scheduled. Besides samplings of the foods from various Farmington restaurants and vendors, the Farmington Liquor Store will hold a wine tasting. Details are still being worked out, Lindquist said, but right now, committee members are thinking of holding that event in Rambling River Park.
Friday, June 18 brings lots of activity to the community. A carnival, JK Rides and Concessions from St. Francis, will set up in the parking lot off of Oak Street. They'll be up and ready to go Friday evening, and be in place through 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
Saturday kicks off a whole day of activity with the annual Dew Run at 8 a.m. Crafters will also be set up that morning along Third Street. The crafters will be set up all day Saturday and Sunday. There will be an art show going on about the same time.
New this year is the date for the Grand Day Parade -- it will be held on Saturday, instead of Sunday afternoon. The time for the parade is still undetermined, Lindquist said.
There are lots of other fun activities in the works. Times are still being nailed down for things like the big wheel race and kiddie parade, a possible cruise night downtown, a pie- and pizza eating contest and a kickball tournament.
Lindquist said organizers are also working with the Farmington Lions Club to set up a beer garden in the Rambling River Center garages for the daytime and early evening activities downtown.
The Dew Days nightlife will be held at the Farmington American Legion. The annual Kiss the Pig contest crowning will be held there, and live music is planned outdoors on both Friday and Saturday.
"There are a lot of the favorites with a few new things involved," Lindquist said. "It's back downtown. That's what a lot of people thought was the major component for those who wanted a return to the Dew Days, based on my recollection of what it was when I first got here 12 or 13 years ago. I think we've covered those bases."
A web site for the 2010 Dew Days celebration is currently under construction, but Lindquist expects it to be up and active within a week.