By Matt Bunke, Community Editor
This year’s annual summer celebration in Mayer may not be quite as large as it was last year, but organizers are confident it will still provide plenty of fun for the whole family.
Last year during the city’s 125th anniversary celebration, the annual Mayer Rising Community Festival was extended to two days, included a grand parade and even featured a popular Old West Society campfire show on Saturday night.
While this year’s sixth annual Mayer Rising Community Festival will go back to the one-day format, it will still bring back plenty of the activities and events that have made the festival popular in the past. The ever-growing car show and craft show both return, the youth parade is back, and there will once again be plenty of activities for youth of all ages. Festivities get under way Saturday, July 7, at 9 a.m., mostly at Old Schoolhouse Park near the Community Center on Blue Jay Avenue.
"There were a lot more events for everybody on the 125th, but we’re hoping we still have enough (events) to get people to come to town and visit," said Tom Stifter, a member of the organizing committee.
Stifter said the event’s overall appeal to people of all ages should be one of its biggest assets. Events like the car show – which last year grew to include more than 130 cars – and the craft show, which Stifter said is expected to have more than 20 venders this year, will largely appeal to adults. However, there will be plenty of nearby activities for children as well.
"The festival is usually a kids-first event, but the car show has definitely taken off, and the craft show should draw people too," Stifter said. "The festival is really for everybody, and that’s what we’re trying to cover."
Among the most popular activities for youth this year should be the return of the Minnesota Twins Youth Baseball Clinic, which has been a part of Mayer Rising festivals in the past, but not last year. That event will run from 9 a.m. to noon. Children ages 6-9 are invited to take part from 9-10:30 a.m., with a session for 10- to 16-year-olds from 10:30 a.m. until noon. No registration is required.
There will also be inflatable bouncers for younger children at Old Schoolhouse Park from 9 a.m. to noon. Stifter said older kids may be interested in the Army National Guard’s rock climbing wall, which will be at the park during those same hours.
Mayer Rising introduced a youth pedal tractor pull for the first time last year, a popular event that will return once again this year at 1 p.m. at the park. Crazy hair and face painting will also be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and there is a model airplane activity at noon. The always-popular youth parade will start at 12:30 p.m. The parade will start at the Old Schoolhouse and go through the Park to the Community Center.
Of course, the food is one of the biggest attractions for many festival-goers, and they’ll once again have plenty of options. The Fire Department will once again be grilling burgers, and the Mayer-Watertown Dandy Lions will be selling walking tacos. Cheese curds, funnel cakes, French fries, cotton candy, mini donuts, cookies and smoothies are among the other options that are expected to be available for purchase.
One of the biggest draws for the Mayer Rising festival in recent years has been the car show, now entering its fourth year. In its first year, the show drew only 17 cars, but jumped to 95 cars 2 years ago, and to 135 last year. Stifter said he hopes the show grows even bigger this year.
The show is for cars, trucks, and even antique tractors. Stifter said the latter were an especially big hit last year, with nearly 30 taking part in the show, and he hopes even more tractors come out for the show this year. There is no registration fee to enter the show at Old Schoolhouse Park, and the show will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The first 150 entrants receive a gift bag, and prizes will also be awarded. Registration forms and more details can be found at mayercarshow.com, or by calling 952-657-2119.
The craft show, which is being organized by Krista Goedel, is also expected to grow this year. Stifter said there are already more than 20 vendors registered, and organizers are still looking for more. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 952-657-2827 to register for the craft show or to seek more information. The craft show will also run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Organizers had also hoped to make the annual Beef Sunday baseball game – a fundraiser for the Mayer Blazers amateur baseball team – a part of the Mayer Rising Festival this year by turning it into a Beef Saturday game. However, the game date could not be changed in time, so the annual Beef Sunday game, featuring Mayer against St. Boni, will be held Sunday at 2 p.m.