The original pioneers who settled Newport probably didn't have this much fun. They didn't have cotton candy and Elvis impersonators back then.
The city's annual Pioneer Day, which marked the 125th anniversary of Newport, had all that and more. Sunday's event included a parade, food vendors, inflatables and bingo under the pavilion. The weather gave its blessing as visitors from around south Washington County descended on Pioneer Park for some late summer fun.
The Strawberry Fest Ambassadors from neighboring Cottage Grove provided free face-painting.
Jalynn Lund, 7, of Newport, sported a pink and blue butterfly.
“I’ll wear it until I get home,” she said. “Then I’ll take it off.”
For the the grown-ups, there was a beer and wine tent, hosted by the St. Paul Park-Newport Lions Club. The car show, a perennial favorite organized by Newport resident and car enthusiast Chris Vick, featured everything from antique roadsters to classic muscle cars.
Scott Bruce and his son, Anthony, both of Cottage Grove, checked out a green 1971 Ford Torino with ‘hideaway’ headlights. At 13, Anthony is some years away from getting his driver’s license, but Scott said they hope to find a car to restore so Anthony can have some wheels when the time comes.
“We’re going to get him a project car to work on, one of these days,” he said.
The celebration featured live music by rock and soul band Lolo’s Ghost and bluegrass by Saint Anyway, a trio from Duluth. An Elvis impersonator closed the festivities with a 5:30 p.m. performance.
Those who purchased a Pioneer Day button got to feast on the all-you-can-eat corn on the cob buffet.
Newport Executive Analyst Renee Eisenbeisz, who helped organize Pioneer Day, said they sold out of all 600 of their buttons. “The rain held off. I think that kept a lot of people there all day,” she said. “I think people really enjoyed the bands.”