By Starrla Cray
WATERTOWN, MN Watertown is ready to experience the full flavor of summer this weekend, with its 17th annual Rails to Trails festivities.
One exciting attraction is the Watertown hold ‘em, which will take place Friday, July 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“That’s brand new this year,” Watertown city finance director Steven Wallner said. “Customers can go into different businesses and pick up a playing card from each one.”
Whoever gets the best hand will receive a prize. A second winner will be drawn at random from the participants.
Another event that gets the community involved is the “golden spike” treasure hunt.
The spike is hidden somewhere within the city limits of Watertown, and clues of its whereabouts will be given at local businesses, at www.railstotrails.ws, and on the Herald Journal blog website, www.hjblogs.com, throughout the week.
The person who finds the golden spike first will win Caleb’s Cash, which can be spent at local businesses.
The first event of the week is a golf tournament, Wednesday, July 21 from 1 to 6 p.m. For more information, contact River’s Edge Golf Course, 1455 County Road 27, at (952) 955-2223.
Friday, July 23, there will be plenty of Rails to Trails excitement, including good food, live raptors, waterball, and more.
The live raptor program at the Watertown Community Center will be at 1 p.m.
“We only have space for about 80 people, so get there early on that one,” Wallner said.
From 5 to 8 p.m., there will be a chili contest at Highland Park. Winners will be picked by public opinion.
New this year will be a minor little league baseball tournament at Highland Park, which will feature four teams of 10- and 11-year-old players from the Watertown-Mayer area.
Both evenings will feature live music. Fridays bands include The Bingos and Marshall Road.
Saturday morning will start with the 5k fun run and walk. Registration fee for the 5k is $18, and the youth fun run is $10. Online registration at www.wmcommunityed.com is available until Thursday, July 22. For more race details, call Gina Phearman at (952) 955-3513 or e-mail email@example.com.
Another highlight of the day will be the second annual motorcycle run, with signup at noon.
Paul Joswick, who lives west of Watertown, is excited about this year’s ride. Last year, about 35 people rode bikes in the event.
“I’m looking forward to sunny skies and wind in my face,” he noted. The ride is organized through the Watertown Lions’ Club, and will benefit the University of Minnesota eye bank.
“The U of M does amazing treatments for all kinds of eye diseases,” Joswick said.
Registration is $20 for riders, and $10 for passengers. The first 50 participates will receive a 2010 Rails to Trails polo shirt, a $12 value.
“We just have fun at it,” Joswick said. “This year, we will go south to a mystery destination, with a couple of stops to refresh on the trip.”
The 100-mile tour will start at B’s on the River, and end back at the Rails to Trails festival by 6 p.m.
For more information, call Joswick at (612) 369-3254.
One major change in this year’s Rails to Trails is the parade time change. In the past, it has started at 10 a.m., but this year, it will begin at 1 p.m., with the kid/pet parade downtown at 12:30 p.m.
“They wanted to compress the events to get people to stick around more,” Wallner said.
For more information about Rails to Trails, call Watertown City Hall at (952) 955-2681.
Week of July 19
• Golden spike contest Check local chamber member businesses for clues. Clues are also available online at www.railstotrails.ws and at www.hjblogs.com.
Wednesday, July 21
• 1 to 6 p.m. golf tournament at River’s Edge Golf Course
Thursday, July 22
• 8 p.m. to midnight movie night at Highland Park sponsored by Splatter. The event features live music and the PG-rated film “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.”
Friday, July 23
• 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Watertown hold ‘em
• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. food in City Center Park
• 1 p.m. live raptors at Watertown Community Center
• 1 to 8 p.m. the soldier history display
• 3 to 6 p.m. farmers’ market
• 8 to 10 p.m. band bingo
Highland Park events:
• 5 to 8 p.m. chili contest, kid’s fun zone, and royal flush dunk tank
• 5 p.m. to close Taste of Watertown and food court
• 6 p.m. waterball, and baseball tournament
• 6 to 8:45 p.m. The Bingos
• 9 p.m. to midnight Marshall Road
Saturday, July 24
• 8 a.m. 5k fun run and walk
• 9 a.m. sidewalk sales and craft fair
• 10 a.m. duck race
• 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. kids fishing contest
• 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. historical society display
• 12:30 p.m. kid/pet parade
• 1 p.m. bike run
• 1 p.m. grand parade
• 8 to 10 p.m. band bingo
Highland Park events:
• all day baseball tournament at Highland Park
• all day softball tournament (Evergreen Park)
• 2 to 6 p.m. antique tractor show, adult bean bag tourney, face painting, petting zoo and pony rides
• 2 to 8 p.m. kids’ fun zone
• 2 p.m. to close food court
• 5 p.m. to close 1980 class reunion
• 5:30 p.m. teddy bear push
• 7 p.m. toilet races
• 7 to 8 p.m. grocery giveaway drawings
• 2 to 8 p.m. Hillbilly Cadillac and DJ
• 8 p.m. to midnight Shaw Brothers