Clarkfield’s annual city celebration, Heart of the Prairie Days, is returning this year as a mid-week festival on Wednesday and Thursday June 6-7.
Since 2009 the celebration has been a Thursday through Saturday event, yet traditionally the celebration has occurred earlier in the week.
“We’ve always had the problem of: When do we hold this thing?” Said Clarkfield Civic and Commerce President Jeff Randall. “It always used to be like a Wednesday/Thursday thing. Then every other town had their celebrations on the weekends. We tried moving it to the weekend, but then the (YME) school—through no fault of their own—moved their graduation date to Friday instead of Sunday.”
Since 2009 and the city’s 125-year anniversary, the Civic and Commerce organization has held the event Thursday though Saturday.
This year, a Relay for Life event is planned to occur in Clarkfield on Friday night during the same week as Heart of the Prairie Days with Boyd Good Time Days being the likely area draw on Saturday night.
Last year, though both the parade and street dance were well attended, Civic and Commerce members expressed distress over a lack of volunteers and attendance at other ancillary functions.
“We know some people like (Heart of the Prairie Days) on the weekend for various reasons,” said Randall. “But last year we broke-even. And that’s our goal, really, it’s supposed to be an event for-the-people and by-the-people and all that, but we also need the money we raise at this event to subsidize other (Civic and Commerce) events throughout the year.”
So, the event has been cut down, with the street dance and carnival the most obvious deletions from this year’s program. The focus this year, instead, will shift back to the Heart of the Prairie Days parade, which will occur Thursday evening and a talent/karaoke/live band/game show event that will occur Thursday night. The Froemming Family, a bluegrass/gospel family band from Atwater, will be Thursday night’s featured performers immediately following the parade. Last year country/rock cover-band Steel Blue provided Friday and Saturday night’s musical entertainment.
At Monday night’s Civic and Commerce meeting the group also decided to add a blow-up theme park to this year’s offerings, in lieu of a traditional carnival. In 2010 the Civic and Commerce organization did the same and found it to be a success, yet thought the 50 volunteers needed to run the park wasn’t sustainable.
Randall stated that the traditional carnival was a “waste” of money with Civic and Commerce spending $2,000-$3,000 on the event in recent years and said he was thankful that this year they could feature an event specifically for children and seemed confident in volunteer support.
Civic and Commerce plans to have an official listing of events finalized by next week. “We’re just finishing up on the final details and waiting to have a few things ironed out,” said Randall.
Page 2 of 2 - “It’ll be toned down a little bit this year,” said Randall of this year’s celebration. “But it’ll still be a great time and a great celebration for our community.”