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St. Paul Park Heritage Days sizzles on Broadway

Taylen Johnson, 13, is stunned his mother Jackie Schnabel beat him in a carnival game Saturday during Heritage Days. Operator Lisa Doede laughs as the two compete for a stuffed animal. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)1 / 20
Hundreds of area residents braved the humidity to watch the annual St. Paul Park Heritage Days grand parade make its way down Summit Avenue Saturday. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)2 / 20
Members of Park High School's JROTC usher in the St. Paul Park Heritage Days parade Saturday. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)3 / 20
The St. Paul Park City Council threw candy to hundreds of area residents that came out for the Heritage Days parade Saturday. Mayor Keith Franke and council members Sandi Dingle, Jennifer Cheeseman, Jeff Swenson and Tim Jones rode a public works department vehicle. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)4 / 20
Mackenzie Sanders, 8, (left to right) Madalyn Sanders, 5, and Zoey Heller, 6, race for candy thrown from Heritage Days floats Saturday. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)5 / 20
The South Washington County Schools marching band played tunes for hundreds of area residents who gathered along Summit Avenue Saturday to watch the Heritage Days parade. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)6 / 20
Kids vie for candy being thrown from over 40 floats in the St. Paul Park Heritage Days parade Saturday. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)7 / 20
Khloe Giesenhoff, 5, waves to the St. Paul Park Fire Department as their fire trucks cruise by on Summit Avenue Saturday during the Heritage Days parade. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)8 / 20
Eddie Fellows, 23 months, snags a few suckers and a pencil Saturday during the Heritage Days parade in St. Paul Park. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)9 / 20
Greg Wilwert, realtor with Keller William Realty, drove a makeshift time machine down the St. Paul Park streets Saturday during the Heritage Days parade. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)10 / 20
With their sirens blasting, the Newport and St. Paul Park fire department rigs closed the Heritage Days parade. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)11 / 20
St. Paul Park firefighter Dustin Dziki hands out frozen treats to parade-goers Saturday during Heritage Days. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)12 / 20
The Saito sisters, Isabella, 9, and Madelyn, 5, took in the Heritage Days carnival Saturday. Their family recently moved from Alaska to Cottage Grove. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)13 / 20
Evan, 9, and Adalyn Thigpen, 5, slide down a ride Saturday during the Heritage Days carnival. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)14 / 20
Lindsay Ostarello hoses off Ricki Johns after a messy match of mud volleyball Saturday during a sweltering afternoon of tournaments during Heritage Days. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)15 / 20
Cami Bergson immerses herself in muddy water Saturday attempting to retrieve a pass from the opposing team. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)16 / 20
Brenda Bergson gets a face full of mud Saturday during a Heritage Days mud volleyball match. Teams from around the area got down and dirty for the annual tournament. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)17 / 20
St. Paul Park's annual festival kicks off Friday night with fireworks for the first time in several years. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)18 / 20
St. Paul Park's annual festival kicks off Friday night with fireworks for the first time in several years. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)19 / 20
St. Paul Park's annual festival kicks off Friday night with fireworks for the first time in several years. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)20 / 20

It was a hot one over Heritage Days weekend in St. Paul Park, but most festival-goers found ways to keep cool.

From frozen treats and cold water handed out by floats during the grand parade and diving into the cool mud volleyball pits to flying around on carnival rides, area residents made the three-day weekend a success.

Mayor Keith Franke said he heard some complaints about the shortcomings of the carnival, but heard more positive feedback about the return of the fireworks, first-ever medallion hunt and addition of more family-friendly activities.

Clear skies greeted the hundreds of people lined up Saturday morning who watched as over 40 candy-throwing floats shimmied their way up Summit Avenue. The “Back to the Future”-themed event drew several Delorean and Doc Brown sightings thanks to St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church and Keller Williams Realty.

The South Washington County Schools marching band, both Park and East Ridge high school cheerleading teams and royalty floats from Cottage Grove and around the area marched through the city. The heat and humidity didn’t affect the turnout, but the St. Paul Park Fire Department was one of many to hand out frozen treats to parade-goers.

Down on Broadway Avenue, a carnival live entertainment, petting zoo and plenty of fair food entertained those who braved the heat.

The three-day weekend is an annual trip for the Geisenhoff family, who now lives in Iowa. Former St. Paul Park residents, Linda Giesenhoff and her granddaughter, Khloe, 5, soaked up the parade and Saturday events.

“We’re St. Paul Park-ians at heart,” Linda said. “We come every year.”

When the sun went down, veteran festival rockers Rock Godz performed on the main stage. Police Chief Mike Monahan said attendance was slightly lower this year, adding the humid weather could have been a factor. Over the weekend, the St. Paul Park Police Department responded to only a handful of Heritage Days-related police calls. There were two arrests, seven citations given and one person sent to detox. The number is down significantly from prior years.

“It was actually quieter than I thought it would be,” he said.

Franke said he encourages people to get involved in the planning of Heritage Days with the hope of improving the event even more.

“Overall, despite the weather keeping some of our younger families and older citizens in the comfort and safety of air conditioning, I think we have a great turnout and active community participation in everything from mud volleyball to the egg toss to (the) tractor pulls. I hope everyone had a good, safe time, and our community is better for maintaining this loved tradition of Heritage Days.”

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