St. Paul Park Heritage Days sizzles on Broadway
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.”