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Rivertown Days arrives this weekend

Three months ago, Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce president Michelle Jacobs posted on Facebook a very simple message.

“It was 90 days before Rivertown Days, and we still had snow on the ground,” Jacobs said. “I just said, ‘Remember, 90 days from now, everybody will be complaining about the heat.’”

Since it seemingly took forever for warm weather to arrive this summer, it’s probably coming as a shock to most people that Rivertown Days is just two weeks away. That said, the chamber is ready.

“It creeps up on you, but we’re pretty well organized,” Jacobs said.

The festival runs from July 19-21 this year.

A few new events have been added to the calendar, the parade is nailed down and the lineup for live music is set, too.

A complete schedule can be found here:

Here are some highlights from the schedule:

• The parade is Sunday, July 21. It runs along the same route as last year — north on Ramsey Street to downtown Hastings. The route runs along Second Street through downtown, and then turns left on Eddy Street. The parade stops at Fourth Street.

In the past, Jacobs said that people have set up chairs at Wilson Park to watch the parade. Since the parade actually ends at Fourth Street, those at Wilson Park end up not being able to see it, so she discourages people from setting up chairs at the park.

New this year will be shuttle service for the people who are taking part in the parade. Busses will run from Westview Center to the start of the parade, beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 21. The busses will run continuously until noon and will also be picking participants up after the parade to take them back to their cars.

The Hastings High School marching band, the HHS alumni band, a drum line, two clown groups and the Klondike Kates will all be in the parade. There will be 100 units again this year.

• Buttons sporting the theme of this year’s event, “A tale of two bridges,” are available for $3 and are required to access Jaycee Park along the riverfront. The funds from button sales are used to finance the fireworks show. This year, a new company has been hired for the fireworks, which are set to be shot off at 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 20.

• Live music is planned all weekend long at the riverfront and at several area bars.

On the riverfront stage, the band R Factor will play from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, July 19. They have an eight-piece band and six singers.

Concentual, a four-piece pop/rock band will play at the riverfront from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 20.

Rocket Club headlines the riverfront stage from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 20. They are led by Chris Hawkey, a KFAN radio personality who is their lead singer. Rocket Club plays country rock.

Live music continues along the riverfront on Sunday with Highbrow and the Shades playing from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The Hastings Sings finals are planned for 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. The final qualifying round for Hastings Sings is July 11 at Valley Chevrolet. For more information, visit

At the Coliseum, live music is held on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, the Street Kings play. On Saturday, the music will be provided by A Fistful of Ladies.

Under the tent at Dugarel’s, the Johnny Holm Band will play from 8 p.m. until midnight on Friday.

On Saturday, Kooky Uncle Tony will take the stage.

The Busted Nut in downtown Hastings has music planned, too. On Friday night, the Willy B Blues Band will play. On Saturday night, Nick Fox takes the stage.

• One of the new events is a sand volleyball tournament, which is being organized by Me and Julio and the Vermillion State Bank. The entry fee is $50. To register, call Ken Wilson at 651-438-2520.

The tournament will be coed with two men and two women on each team. The winning teams collect cash prizes up to $500 for the top team. It will be held across the street from Me and Julio.

• The pedal pull is back. Children ages 4 to 11 can compete in the event, which is held behind the music stage. No preregistration is required. The event is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 20.

• Magician Norm Barnhart is new to the event. He will be wandering through the Jaycee Park crowd on Friday evening as he performs tricks. He will then take the main stage at 5:45 p.m. to perform.

• Hastings K9 officer Mike Schmitz and his dog Ozzy will have a demonstrations on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Both demonstrations will be held in Jaycee Park.

• The arts and craft festival will be held along the riverfront at Levee Park (located east of the bridge) from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday.

• The three-on-three basketball tournament has been moved to the high school. It is still sponsored by the Green Mill.

The tournament is for boys and girls in grades three to 12. The entry fee is $50. To register, call Pete Zak at 651-248-5389 or send an email to

• From noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, the Minnesota Herpetological Society will be along the riverfront to show kids various reptiles and amphibians.

• DockDogs are back. See the separate story on Page 11A of this week’s issue for more information on a local family that competes in the event.

• The BMX and skateboard stunt show will have a number of performances along the river on Saturday.

• The public boat launch is closed July 19-21.

• A bass fishing tournament is planned to begin at 6 a.m. Sunday, July 21. Call Bernard Marzen for more information — 651-248-3944.

• The Eagles Club has bingo, a bake sale, a washer toss tournament and a euchre tournament planned.

• Fishing 4 Life has its trout fishing pond back along the riverfront. The pond runs all three days of Rivertown Days.

• The YMCA and the United Way of Hastings have planned two runs for Saturday morning, July 20. There is an 8k run that begins at 7:30 a.m. and a 2k run that begins at 8:30 a.m.

• A bingo tournament is planned at the senior center.

• The kittenball tournament is back for another year. To register call Scott Martinson at 612-803-6260.

• Downtown business have a sidewalk sale planned for the weekend.

• Teen night is Thursday, July 18, at the Hastings Family Aquatic Center. The event is free and runs from 8:30 p.m. until 11 p.m.

• River of Life Church at 800 Vermillion St. has a 10-cent kiddie carnival planned for Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

• No outside alcohol is permitted at Jaycee Park.

• Pets are discouraged from the event. Anyone who does bring a dog to the park is required to clean up after it.

• The Edina Realty Medallion Hunt kicks off this year’s Rivertown Days. The finder claims $500 with a Rivertown Days button

The first clue will be released at 8:30 a.m. Monday, July 15, at the Edina Realty office, 1640 South Frontage Road. The daily clues are faxed after that time to KDWA Radio. No clues will be given out by telephone.

The medallion is actually a piece of Plexiglas, about the size of a business envelope, with red letters, “Edina Realty” on one side and “Rivertown Days Medallion” on the opposite side. The medallion is hidden on public property within the city of Hastings. There is no climbing or digging involved. The finders of the medallion should take it to the Edina Realty office immediately.

Edina Realty has been sponsoring this hunt for more than 25 years.

• Mac McGoon Portrait Design Studio is sponsoring an amateur photography contest. The entries will be displayed during Rivertown Days at the Carriage Barn at the LeDuc Historic Estate.

Categories are landscape, animal, people and historic Hastings. All photos must be submitted to Mac McGoon Studio, 1100 Westview Drive by 5 p.m. July 17. And be accompanied by an entry form and $5 fee. Photos must be 8 x 10 and be unmounted. The winner in each category receives an 11x14 portrait of their entry. Entry forms are available at www.

• The Hastings Area YMCA is holding its annual duck race along the Vermillion River at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, July 21.

The plastic ducks (each has a number) are available for $5 at the Y, 85 Pleasant Drive. They “race” down the river. Prizes are awarded. Proceeds benefit the Y’s outreach programs.

• Volunteers are sought to help out during the event. Anyone interested can call the chamber at 651-437-6775.