River City Days is by the people, for the peopleRiver City Days may pack local restaurants and hotels and attract fans who follow their favorite bands from town to town, but at heart it’s a celebration by and for the people of Red Wing.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
River City Days may pack local restaurants and hotels and attract fans who follow their favorite bands from town to town, but at heart it’s a celebration by and for the people of Red Wing.
Kids come home from school to see their friends, and families and classes hold reunions on this annual event to take advantage of all the fun things to do.
“It’s really a local event for people to enjoy the parks and the river, the music and each other’s company,” said Joe Dube, chairman. “It’s not a tourist event or a retail event,” though tourists and shoppers are more than welcome.
River City Days, which for years had been run by Chamber of Commerce staff and volunteers, became an independent, volunteer-based association in 2007.
“It was a huge success,” Dube said. “There was phenomenal participation, and good word of mouth. … The free, live entertainment — compliments of local sponsors — was very popular.”
This year will be as big as that celebration, and better, he added.
“It’s totally funded, thanks to our 50-plus sponsors and all the
organizations and individuals who are helping.
“It’s half as difficult, thanks to the cooperation of people who came on board last year,” Dube said. “We have twice as many sponsors.”
Sponsorships are key to River City Days. Most of the sponsors, Dube said, are giving money to pay for free entertainment.
A bonus on the free stage this year will be an appearance by magician Kristoffer Olson at 6:30 p.m. Friday. He follows a performance geared to the senior crowd — the Boat House Band from 3 to 6 p.m. — and precedes a concert by the popular Brat Pack Radio.
Saturday’s music in Bay Point Park will start at 11 a.m. with music and dance by children. The Splatter Sisters follow at 2 p.m., then KCUE karaoke finals at 4 p.m. The evening show features guitarist Boday, aka Jeff Christensen, at 6:30 p.m., and the Back Channel Blues Band at 8:30 p.m.
Sunday’s free highlights at the park are the Rochester Water Ski Club show. The 75-member club will feature four tow boats, along with more music: “Feelin’ Groovy: Songs of Simon & Garfunkel” at 2 p.m., and the Killer Hayseeds from 5 to 9 p.m.
Another free feature will be the Bearing Burners Car Club from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Bay Point Park.
There are small charges for some things, like the children’s activities and parking at Bay Point, which is being handled by the Goodhue County Humane Society. It will cost $3 for a weekend pass so visitors won’t have to pay to return after an event elsewhere in town.
The Red Wing High School Student Council also has a fundraiser — the “Loud and Local” concert at 6 p.m. Thursday at Bay Point featuring at least eight local bands and solo acts. Admission is $5. Students fought to keep the concert alive after it was canceled last spring. It’s a major fundraiser for RWHS homecoming.
The volunteer component continues to grow as well. Groups like the Red Cross and the Kiwanis Club are taking responsibility for overseeing entire activities such as the children’s activity tent and the inflatable “bouncies” in Bay Point Park. Others are responsible for individual activities.
“If clubs are not participating,” Dube said, “it’s because they haven’t figured out a way to get involved.”
Anyone who would like to participate in 2009 can contact him at email@example.com.