City’s soy celebration was a successAside from a burst of rain that drove away crowds and washed out one of two music stages, Saturday’s first-year Minnesota Soybean Festival went pretty much as expected.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
Aside from a burst of rain that drove away crowds and washed out one of two music stages, Saturday’s first-year Minnesota Soybean Festival went pretty much as expected.
Festival organizer Vida Raine said crowds Saturday were good early on, but heavy rains sent most people home in the late morning. The crowds were slow to return, but by the time the late-night bands took the stage there were people dancing in the street. Raine estimates somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 people filtered through downtown over the course of the day.
“I think at the height there was probably 90 people milling around outside,” Raine said.
Things were shaping up well in the days leading up to the festival. Weather forecasts called for sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s as early as Saturday morning. But the forecast didn’t hold and the promising early crowds disappeared.
The rain also shut down a secondary stage set up on Oak Street. The stage was not covered, and when the rain started to fall festival organizers had to scramble to save speakers and computers set up there.
The rain shortened the parade, which featured floats from Dakota City and the Randolph FFA chapter in addition to a number of classic cars.
Raine said she was up until 5 a.m. by herself trying to clean up a pile of soybeans in front of city hall that had been used as a kind of treasure-hunt sandbox for kids.
That was a lot of work, and the job wasn’t completed until Feely Elevator showed up Monday with a Bobcat to pick up the remaining beans. But Raine said any negative feelings about the event were washed away by the crowds that showed up for the evening bands. The festival still managed to squeeze in all 11 of its bands despite losing one of its stages.
“We’re the little festival that could,” Raine said.
Raine was already making plans Monday for next year’s edition of the festival. She said she plans to move the two stages closer to one another to eliminate down time while bands set up, and she expects to shrink the overall footprint of the festival. She said she laid things out with a crowd of 6,000 people in mind but didn’t need nearly as much space.
Raine expects big things from future festivals. She said the festival’s Facebook page gained several followers the next day and she talked to people Saturday who had come from as far away as Carleton, near Cloquet.
“If we’re pulling people from that far away and everybody that was there had a good time, it’s only going to grow,” Raine said. “I think next year will be even better.”