Monona Hay Days to ‘welcome home’ attendees

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This year’s Monona Hay Days, held Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20, will look to “welcome home” attendees, whether it’s back to downtown or a welcome home to veterans and alumni. (NIT file photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

This year’s Monona Hay Days, held Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20, will look to “welcome home” attendees. The theme ties into the celebration in several ways, shared Monona Chamber and Economic Development Executive Director Rogeta Halvorson, who’s worked with the committee organizing the event.

“It’s a welcome home back to downtown, to veterans and to classes and alumni,” she explained.

In the past, Halvorson said, Hay Days was held downtown, but, in later years, moved to the city park. The committee initially considered holding events in both areas, but settled on downtown to keep activities centralized and allow for more space.

The only activity held at the city park this year will be the Monona Volunteer Fire Department Glow Run on Friday evening, which will start and end there. Around 200 people are expected to participate in the 5K run/1K walk. Registration will begin at 8 p.m. and the race itself will begin around 9:30 p.m.

The intersection of Center Street and Main Street will be “center stage” for Hay Days on Saturday. Several special presentations and performances are planned at the location, including the honoring of nine local Korean and Vietnam War veterans with Quilts of Valor just shortly after the parade, around 11:30 a.m. 

“How nice that [the theme] ties in with the Quilts of Valor presentation,” Halvorson said, noting that several of the quilts were made by local women. “The veterans are so deserving.”

The veterans will also ride on a special float through the parade, which will start at 10:30 a.m. The route will begin on Main Street, with line-up beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the CVG (Monona Wire) parking lot, then turn right at the four-way stop at Iowa Street. The parade will take another right onto South Egbert Street, then head back to CVG.

Other performances at “center stage” include live demonstrations by Brenda’s School of Dance at noon and the Monona Martial Arts and Guttenberg Karate Club at 1:30 p.m. The king and queen of the first all-class reunion, which is incorporated into Hay Days, will be crowned there as well.

Hay Days is the ideal place for classes to get together, said Halvorson, because activities, entertainment and refreshments are already provided. A photo booth provided by KT Photography of Luana will also give classmates the chance to commemorate the occasion. 

For those returning home after an extended period away, Hay Days will offer the opportunity to check out changes at the school. MFL MarMac Superintendent Dr. Dale Crozier will give two 45-minute tours of the high school at 1 and 2 p.m.

Back on the Hay Days grounds, Halvorson described West Center Street as “kiddie lane,” as it will be the location of the inflatable bouncy house and obstacle course, which kids can enjoy for a fee beginning at noon. A sand pile dig with $200 in quarters will also take place at noon.

Additional youth activities held throughout the day include a sanctioned kiddie tractor pull at 1:30 p.m. Chloe Landt and Katrina Ruff will offer face painting from noon to 2 p.m., while the MFL MarMac Basketball Club will hold basketball games and activities in the parking lot next to city hall at 1 p.m.

Another fun addition to Hay Days is a classic car and truck show and competition, which will be held on Main Street, near FreedomBank, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Participants are  welcome to drive through the parade as well.

Older attendees can also enjoy the sand volleyball tournament, which will take place in the parking lot north of MJ’s at noon. The NAPA parking lot will be home to a bean bag tournament beginning at 1:30 p.m. 

Food and drink will be plentiful at Hay Days, beginning with a pancake breakfast put on by Butterfly Garden and Trail volunteers at the community center from 7 to 10 a.m. While you’re there, take part in a rousing game of BINGO from 8:30 to 10 a.m. On East Center Street, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the MFL MarMac Basketball Club will run a food stand featuring Edgewood Locker brats. Living Faith United Methodist Church and St. Paul Lutheran Church will also have stands offering a variety of good eats. Local establishments MJ’s and R Place will have food, too. Tents will be open to purchase cold beer and other refreshments.

That area of Center Street will be home to music throughout the day, with RZ Soundtracks DJing from noon to 4 p.m. The band Massey Road will play some rock ‘n’ roll tunes from 4 to 8 p.m. A street dance with live country-rock music performed by the Cal Stage Band will be open to people 21 and over from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. 

Halvorson said she’s impressed with the community support of Hay Days, whether from individuals, organizations or businesses.

“There’s no way one group could put on an event like this,” she said. “Everything kept building and building. All these small groups came together to do their part, and I’m really proud of that.”

“There are a lot of things to do for youth and adults,” she added. “I hope people inside and outside Monona come and enjoy themselves.”

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