This weekend’s Monona Hay Days celebration will feature new activities

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Monona Hay Days, held Friday and Saturday, June 16 and 17, will feature even more activities this year. (NIT file photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

This weekend’s Monona Hay Days celebration promises to offer more fun for the family than ever before.

Several new features, booths and food vendors have been added this year, to go along with the regular slate of activities, noted Rogeta Halvorson, executive director of Monona Chamber and Economic Development and a Hay Days committee member.

“All over, it’s expanded. There will be something for everybody,” she said. “Every year, it gets better.”

Festivities will begin Friday night, June 16, with the Monona Fire Department’s annual Glow Run, which will start at the Monona City Park around dusk. Smith and Bulldog Childcare Centers will sponsor a walking taco supper beforehand, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Hay Days will continue on Saturday, June 17, with a variety of activities in downtown Monona.

A pancake breakfast benefitting the Butterfly Garden and Trail will run from 7 to 10 a.m., in the community center. Children’s crafts and coloring will be held at Murphy Helwig Library beginning at 10 a.m. 

The Hay Days parade kicks off at 11 a.m., traveling down Main Street before turning onto East Iowa, then South Egbert.

The parade will have an announcer this year, which is a new feature, Halvorson said. Danny Torkelson, set up at the corner of Iowa and Main Streets, will do the honors.

“That will get people captivated,” she said, “then they will come right downtown.”

There, a Quilts of Valor presentation featuring both Korean and Vietnam War veterans will be held from noon to 1 p.m.

The popular classic car/truck show and competition will also begin at noon and run until 2 p.m.

The cars and trucks won’t be all that’s on display this year, Halvorson said, as a tractor show has also been added. Tractors will be on display from noon to 4 p.m., near NAPA. That’s also the general location of the kiddie tractor pull, which will go from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

During that same time, a bean bag tournament is planned, as well.

From noon to 4 p.m., activities downtown will include  food and drink provided by local non-profits and the bars/restaurants, music, bingo in the community center, face painting, a dunk tank, chalk drawing and an inflatable bounce house and obstacle course.

Three carnival games will be offered for the first time this year thanks to several new committee volunteers, Halvorson said. Games will include cow bag toss, burst your bale and cow pie in the face.

“Dr. Crozier has volunteered to sit in for a bit” for the pie in the face game, Halvorson said. “We will have some celebrities from the community. There are still some slots left.”

Also new this year, said Halvorson, is a souvenir photo booth. The Hay Days committee will provide themed props, allowing people to take a fun photo for a small fee. Funds will benefit a local non-profit group.

Another fun addition, Halvorson noted, will be a money machine.

“People will go inside and it will blow money in the air,” she explained. “You have 30 seconds to grab as much as you can.”

The MFL Ambulance Service will have a booth this year too, offering free blood pressure checks.

Halvorson said people are also invited to tour the nearby Monona Historical Museum or take their kids to the city park to play on the all-inclusive playground equipment.

“We want to expose people to a little bit more of Monona,” she remarked.

This year, two class reunions will run in conjunction with Hay Days, Halvorson said. Other graduates are encouraged to return, as well.

“Come home and meet up with someone you haven’t seen in awhile,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for everyone to get together.”

A highlight for those attendees will be 30-minute campus tours of the high school, one from 1:30 to 2 p.m. and another from 2 to 2:30 p.m.

Halvorson said an information booth will be set up downtown, helping people locate and learn about any of the offered activities. In addition, the booth will sell cowboy hats and give people the opportunity to win prizes.

That night, Hay Days festivities will wrap up near MJ’s Bar and Grill, with the beer tent, street dance and live music.

Halvorson estimated that around 120 people—from committee members and sponsors to vendors and non-profit organizations—help make Hay Days possible.

“Without them, it won’t go on,” she said. “The committee can’t do this on its own. It’s very much a group effort.”

“I’m so proud of the town,” Halvorson continued. “This is a Monona event. I think we will have a lot of happy people.”

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