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Newport Pioneer Day celebrates city’s heritage under blue skies

Pioneer Memorial Park in Newport was filled with family friendly fun Sunday during the annual Pioneer Day celebration. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)1 / 8
Adults and children alike dodged and ran for candy during the Newport Pioneer Day grand parade Sunday. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)2 / 8
The Cottage Grove Strawberry Fest royalty revved up the crowds Sunday during the Newport Pioneer Day grand parade. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)3 / 8
The Newport Fire Department rigs chirped their horns and set off their sirens during the Newport Pioneer Day grand parade Sunday. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)4 / 8
Kale Larson, 11, left, and his brother Conner, 9, both of Hastings, show off their hip hop skills during the Newport Pioneer Day Sunday. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)5 / 8
An attraction that garnered a lot of spectators during Pioneer Day Sunday, the watermelon seed spitting contest tested the skills of many. Cottage Grove resident Lynn Kerber and her daughter Katee, 14, competed for the longest distance. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)6 / 8
Floats from around the area made their way down 4th Street Sunday during the annual Newport Pioneer Day. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)7 / 8
Anchor Bank of St. Paul Park employee Tammy Verdeja douses freshly shucked corn on the cob with butter Sunday during the annual Newport Pioneer Day celebration. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)8 / 8

Hundreds of area residents soaked up the sun and summer weather Sunday during the annual Newport Pioneer Day celebration at Pioneer Memorial Park.

The clouds broke shortly after the grand parade got under way as dozens of floats marched down 4th Street handing out candy, Frisbees, stick-on Elvis sideburns and other items.

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival Vulcans walked the parade route and tagged just about every spectator with a ‘V’ in black face paint.

Festival royalty from Cottage Grove, Woodbury and Oakdale and area fire rigs pumped up the crowds while Newport Elementary staff and area organizations handed out kid-friendly items.

Once the last float passed through town, the celebration continued as spectators filled Pioneer Memorial Park. All-you-can-eat corn on the cob, mini donuts, children’s games and free massages were just a handful of activities going on.

One event that garnered a lot of spectators, and even some funny looks, was the returning watermelon seed spitting contest, sponsored by the New-Park Lions Club. The first few participants, a mother and daughter duo from Cottage Grove, vied for the longest distance.

“My friend and I saw this and she said we had to try it,” Lynn Kerber said as she laughed watching her daughter, 14-year-old Katee, spit down the yellow plastic tarp.

In search of bragging rights, Katee arched back and let the seeds fly. Unfortunately, Lynn, who had quite the seed spitting technique, beat her.

Lynn walked away a winner with a total distance of 14.7 feet while Katee recorded a distance of just under 13 feet.

The one-day celebration also included a classic car show, beer and wine garden, an inflatable obstacle course and bounce house, food and craft vendors and a cakewalk sponsored by the Park-Port Lioness’.

Pioneer Day activities are going on through Sunday evening with an Elvis tribute artist taking the stage at 5:30 p.m., and activities will wrap up around 7 p.m.

Also, the Greater East Area Model Railroad Club will be open until 5 p.m. in the former railroad building next to the Newport City Hall.

For a complete list of events, visit the city's website.