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Dew Days was damp, but not defeated

Visitors to the Family Fun Fest could try their hands at being firefighters.

Somewhere around 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Farmington Dew Days committee members made a decision: the Grand Parade would go on, rain or shine.

Though the shine never really came and the rain barely stopped in time, Mother Nature went easy on Farmington parade goers. By the end of the parade, the rain had subsided enough that umbrellas were put away and spectators stayed dry while waiting to see who would earn this year's Kiss the Pig honors.

Dew Days 2011 might go down as one of the wettest celebrations of all time, but the rain didn't dampen the spirits of committee members, or those who chose to come downtown to participate.

"Even with the rain, it was still a huge success," said Dew Days chairman Darla Donnelly. "There were a lot of people out walking around with umbrellas."

In the second year of the celebration's return to downtown Donnelly thinks most visitors were pleased with the location and the events that were offered.

Saturday's rain during hurt vendors. The off-and-on rain probably kept some away in the morning and early afternoon, and the number of spectators along the parade route was considerably less than years past. Once the rain let up in late afternoon, though, people made their way downtown and stuck around for a few hours.

"People did go downtown and eat and that's what the idea was," she said.

Dew Days was more than just Saturday, though. The Dakota County Library in Farmington started with programs for kids Wednesday, the Miss Farmington coronation was Wednesday night. Thursday brought Flavors of Farmington and a host of events were planned on Friday. The celebration wrapped up Sunday with a steak fry and some live music that went until the middle of the afternoon.

Two years ago, Dew Days was plagued by a $25,000 debt after the celebration failed to attract as many visitors as hoped. That's not the case this year. Moving the event back downtown and offering some old favorite events seems to have done the trick. Donnelly said the event is making money once again.

"This is the beginning of the end of losing money," she said. "We know we made money this year."

Now that it's over, the Dew Days committee will take a few weeks off before meeting to review this year's celebration and start planning for next year's. Chances are, most of the events will stay the same, but a few will change. For instance, several people asked about moving the Grand Parade from Saturday, where it's been the past two years, back to Sunday.

"I'm okay with what the majority wants, and I'm kind of thinking the majority wants the parade back on Sunday," Donnelly said.

Committee members also heard requests for carnival games and rides. Maybe someday, when the celebration is a little more financially stable, the committee will look at bringing those back, Donnelly said.

Organizers of this year's event included a core group of about 15 residents and business representatives from the community. They were assisted by dozens of volunteers representing several groups and organizations in Farmington.

"We really had a good group of people to work with," Donnelly said. "If anybody wants to get on board (for next year), we'd love to have them."

The committee is looking for input on this year's celebration and suggestions for next year, as well. Anyone who would like to provide comment may do so on the Dew Days website,

After a long night's sleep, Donnelly spent a good chunk of Monday just trying to catch up on other things.

"I'm just trying to clean out Dew Days headquarters," she said, "which would be my van."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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