By Starrla Cray
WATERTOWN, MN Dance the night away at Rails to Trails in Watertown, with most events taking place Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21.
“The music is going to be exceptional this year,” coordinator Dr. Scott Jensen said. “This year, we’re bringing back the downtown street dance.”
The street dance, 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, will feature The Basement Band.
Highland Park will also be hopping, with My Global DJ from 5 to 9 p.m. in the tent.
Earlier that day, from 1 to 8 p.m., visitors can enjoy live performances and refreshments while learning about Watertown’s past musicians at a special Carver County Historical Society exhibit at the Watertown Community Center. The display, called “Yesterday’s Music,” will also be open Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.
The tunes continue Saturday, with Chopper the DJ at Highland Park 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by the JazzHounds from 5 to 7 p.m., and the Shaw Brothers from 7 to 11 p.m.
The excitement starts long before the weekend festivities, however.
Golden Spike contest
The Golden Spike treasure hunt, for example, is already taking place. Clues are available on the Herald Journal website (www.herald-journal.com) every morning starting today.
The Golden Spike is hidden on public property. The person who finds it should take it to city hall between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. After the Golden Spike has been verified, the winner will receive $300 in Caleb’s Cash, which is redeemable at participating Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce businesses.
Another pre-weekend activity is a golf tournament at River’s Edge Golf Course Wednesday, July 18 from 1 to 6 p.m. For more information, call (952) 955-2223.
A fantastic Friday
Most Rails to Trails events start Friday, July 20. The “downtown bonanza” includes Watertown hold ‘em from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., a farmers market from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., and bingo from 7 to 9 p.m.
Highland Park will feature a food court, kids’ fun zone, and royal flush dunk tank from 5 to 9 p.m., a waterball contest starting at 6 p.m., and a Red Devils baseball game at 7:30 p.m.
Local vineyards and a jumbo meat raffle will also be incorporated into the evening festivities.
From 6 to 8 p.m. will be a mixed couple’s beanbag tournament at Highland Park.
“It could be a father and a daughter, mother and a son, or two friends of the opposite sex,” Jensen said. “It just has to be a girl and a guy.”
A sensational Saturday
Another beanbag tournament, open to any two-person team, will take place Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m.
Both events have nominal registration fees, with a 100-percent prize payout. To register, call Kevin Schroeder at (952) 955-3968.
Downtown, a different type of competition will take place Saturday at 8 a.m. The adult 5K run/walk is $20, and the half-mile children’s race is $12. Both include a T-shirt. To register, contact Gina Phearman at (612) 201-9399 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the race, there will be a sidewalk sale and craft fair until noon. A children’s fishing contest (9 to 11 a.m.) and duck race (10:30 a.m.) will also add to the morning events downtown.
The grand parade will begin at noon, with lineup at the parks department by Snap Fitness. For more information, contact Dr. Heather Kary at (952) 955-2070 or e-mail email@example.com.
A car show promises to be a major highlight at Highland Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Registration will start at 8:30 a.m., and awards will be given at 2 p.m.
“It’s open to all makes and models,” car show chair Darwin Roy said. “We’re hoping to get 100 to 125. Last year we had 85 in the show, and another 15 to 20 that came after the registration period.”
Plaques will be given to the top 20 vehicles, as well as a people’s choice winner, and car show committee winner.
“We will also be giving away door prizes,” Roy said.
An “engine blow-up” contest will also provide entertainment, giving the public an opportunity to guess when a 1982 Cadillac hearse engine will stop running.
To learn more about the car show, contact Roy at (612) 483-2240.
Another prize-winning opportunity is the grocery giveaway drawing from 6 to 8 p.m., sponsored by Marketplace Foods in Watertown.
“There will be $500 worth of grocery prizes given away,” Jensen said. “You have to be present to win.”
All kinds of food (11 a.m. to close), children’s activities (noon to 8 p.m.), and a Watertown Mudcats senior men’s amateur baseball game (7 p.m.) will also be part of the Highland Park events.
In addition, toilet bowl races will start at 6 p.m., with registration at 5 p.m. at the corner of Hutchinson Street and High Street by Highland Park. Teams consist of three people (age 16 and over), with two people pushing and one person sitting on the porcelain toilet.
Entry fee is $15 per team. The first four teams registered will be entered in a drawing for a special prize. For more information, call Dawn at Watertown Floral & Formal Wear, (952) 955-3376.
To learn more about Rails to Trails, contact Watertown City Hall at (952) 955-2535 or go to www.railstotrails.ws.