Marigold Days: 'It's all good'
Mantorville went from quaint hamlet to small metropolis and back to quaint in two days.
Parking was big city-like. People and dogs were everywhere, hundreds of them, and there was much to see and do: music and food and games and cars and crafts and fishing and music and Melodrama and food and reworks and the big parade.
“I think it’s been another amazing Marigold Days,” Paul Larsen, Mantorville’s Chamber of Commerce secretary, said during this past weekend’s event. “The 52nd is just as great as the ones before it. We’ve had a ton of people. The traffic was unbelievable on Highway 57. I saw lots of people walking around with packages and bags in their hands, so I know things sold.”
“I think it’s a great event,” he said. “It’s a family reunion. There are kids who live other places, playing in the yards, and picnics all over. It’s a good reason for families to get back together every year.”
Marigold Days began Thursday, Sept. 9 with tours of the Restoration House and the Log House, and the colorful Field of Flags celebration, and boogied on through to Sunday’s Grande Parade and the wet and wild Fire Fighters’ Water Fight.
In between, the music played (there was one band after another on the stage in Riverside Park; and even more music at the Mantorville Saloon and the city’s Fire Hall), antiquers antiqued at dozens of vendors’ tables, runners competed in the Stagecoach 5K, and people enjoyed the Flower Show, the Quilt Show, Melodrama at the historic Opera House, and all kinds of food.
“It’s all good,” said Linda Hetrick of River Falls, Wis., visiting with her husband, Darryl, and Jimmy Cricket, their Yorkshire Terrier.
Ayden Wagenknecht, 10, Kasson, caught two sh to win his age group title during the Kids’ Fishing Contest on Goat Island.
He earned two fishing poles and some nice gear. Ayden, a man of few words, said the tournament was fun.
“Fishing is his life,” said his aunt, Pat Bester of Eagan.
“He takes this very seriously.”
Alexa Evenson was named Miss Congeniality and Miss Mantorville on Saturday evening, earning a $500 scholarship.
Don Pappas, owner of the famed Hubbell House, was named “Gem of Mantorville.”
“That’s always something I enjoy about Marigold Days,” Mantorville Mayor Chuck Bradford said. “It’s a chance to recognize those people who are really active, and really, a lot of times, go without getting thanks, but still keep doing and keep volunteering. So it’s really fun to be able to recognize some of those individuals.”
Bradford said the Marigold Days committee tries to add new activities, events and attractions each year.
The Big Iron Classic rumbled through town on Saturday, on its parade route around the area.
“I’m always amazed at how many people I meet when I’m walking around, who say this is the first time they’ve been to this event,” he said. “That tells me that, not only are there people who have done this and have a habit of coming, but we’re also successfully attracting newer crowds.
“I’m really happy to see how successful it is, and all the vendors, of course, make a big contributions to it. And our volunteers. I couldn’t say enough about how many volunteers and how hard they work. Great event,” Bradford said.
Pat and Clyde Hinrichs, Zumbrota, were seated in a driveway near the start of the parade, which featured dozens of entrants - many of whom tossed candy to little ones waiting along the curbs.
Pat said she and Clyde have attended Marigold Days for about 25 years.
“We wouldn’t miss this for anything,” she said. “It’s a lot of people we know, from family and friends around– and it’s just really a good parade.
“This is the best.”
Bradford said Marigold Days provides a “huge” economic boost for his city.
Many businesses opened during the big event, he said, and thus probably earned 30 percent of their profit for the year.
“It gives us a chance to really highlight what Mantorville is,” he said. “I know lot of times I’ll talk to some people throughout the year at the Hubbell House, and they’re, ‘Oh, we came over for Marigold Days and we’re just so entranced with this community. We wanted to come back and see what it was like when it was a little quieter, and not so many people around, and take time and look at the antique shops and talk to some of the store owners.’
“I think it’s important, not only for the economic impact that it has for the weekend, but also the ongoing impact that it has throughout the year, to help us increase our awareness throughout the community,” Bradford said.