Glad Days to feature plenty of family fun

Expanding to three days, the Cologne Glad Days celebration features plenty of activities to enjoy in its 12th year.
A new contest devised by Roger Storms, Glad You’re My Neighbor, will kick off the event with the announcement of winners on Thursday, July 25.
Focused on recognizing well-designed and maintained landscapes and gardens, nominations have been taken the last month and can be made by contacting Storms at (952) 466-5991 or rstorms55318@aol.com.
Also on Thursday is a Garden Party under the big tent featuring wine and beer tasting with a guest speaker.
The cut flower and gladiolus contest will also be Thursday and stay up so people can enjoy them throughout Glad Days.
“The whole reason it’s called Glad Days is the gladiolus and peony gardens Cologne is known for,” said Betsy Pysick, former president of the Cologne Lions who organizes the event with a 10-member committee and members of the fire department. “It’s about taking pride in the town and getting to know your town.”
With the overall theme of “Under the Big Tent,” familiar Friday night Kids Fest activities, which remain free, will be at City Square Park at 6 p.m.
“We’ve always had the tent,” said Pysick. “But we’re moving our Kids Fest up under the tent to have it all in one area.”
The free hot dog dinner, bounce houses, fire truck rides, games and movie will all return. New events include a youth talent contest and the teen band Esylum will play from 7 to 10 p.m. The beer garden will be open along with food vendors and dunk tank. Lions Park will also open its food shack and beer garden for the start of the softball tournament at 5 p.m.
On Saturday, the fun continues with the annual 5K and Kids Fun Run, Kids Pedal Pull and Sheep-head tournament. Also, filling in the day will be bingo, bounce houses, dunk tank, beer garden, food vendors and ball tournaments. The kickball tournament will be at the VFW Park this year. The Zoo Mobile will also visit from 12 to 2 p.m.
Musically, under the tent this year will be Nancy Buckentine from 10 a.m. to noon and Black Water Alley, an acoustic rock band, from 2 to 4 p.m. There will also be demonstrations from local business during break times.
One of the attractions is the Timberworks Lumber Jack Show who have performed at the Minnesota State Fair. The three shows, at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. include log rolling, pole climbing, axe throwing, chainsaw carving and more.
Lions Park is open all Saturday with the softball tournament, beer garden and food. A bean bag tournament will start at noon and Blurred Vision will conclude festivities at Lions Park, playing from 8 p.m. to midnight.
“I’m praying for a big crowd and big weather,” said Pysick, who said the event has really grown since it’s inception 12 years ago. “We just need the community to come out and support it.”
While numbers are dwindling in terms of volunteers, Pysick is excited for the celebration.
“It’s a passion of mine keeping the city celebration going to hand down to your kids,” she said, hoping for thousands of attendees, before reconsidering. “Hundreds will do too. We have plenty of food and entertainment so we’re ready for a bigger crowd.”
For more information, call Pysick at (952) 466-2841 or visit Glad Days on Facebook or http://www.cologneGladdays.embarqspace.com.

Contact Adam Gruenewald at adam.gruenewald@ecm-inc.com.

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