By Nancy Dashwood
HOWARD LAKE Howard Lake’s annual festival, Good Neighbor Days, celebrates the finest of small-town living in a very big way.
This year, the event, which takes place Thursday, June 21 through Sunday, June 24, features many longtime favorite events, and a few new surprises. And, as the celebration’s name suggests, everyone is welcome to join the party, whether they are from Howard Lake or not.
Most events are located near the Howard Lake Fire Station, 825 7th Ave. in Howard Lake.
Sunday’s coronation and Good Neighbor Days button raffle drawing, which has previously taken place at the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School auditorium, will take place under the large tent near the fire station Sunday evening.
Thursday, June 21
This year’s celebration kicks off with a Queen’s Tea at 2 p.m. This marks the 40th year of royalty being crowned in Howard Lake. Many former town royalty members are expected to attend.
A Townie Block Party is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m.
At 6:45 p.m., all Howard Lake royalty, current and past, will be introduced to the crowd, and cut a cake marking the 40th anniversary.
The newly-expanded farmers market will be open in its new location at Lion Park during its regular weekly hours from 3 to 6 pm.
Ventriloquist Kevin Doely is slated to present a family-friendly performance at 7:30 p.m.
A craft beer and wine tasting from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Friday, June 22
Friday evening features some exciting options for kids of all ages. Beginning at 5 p.m., a bounce house, a bungee trampoline, and bonker ball will be available across the street from city hall and the fire station.
The KRWC Road Show will perform from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The road show, out of Buffalo, plays tons of music, hosts contests, and gives away prizes
The Kiddie Parade, always a crowd favorite, begins at 6:15 p.m. (Participants should be prepared to line up at Troubles no later than 6 p.m.) The A&W Bear will be a special guest at the kiddie parade this year.
The parade route starting on 10th Avenue near Troubles Restaurant and Bar, goes south to 7th Street, heads south on 9th Avenue into the MAWSECO parking lot, and exits the north entrance and into the fire station parking lot.
Music by RIZE begins at 8 p.m. under the large tent. Prizes will be awarded to those with the most rad and tubular ‘80s outfits.
Friday concludes with a fireworks show at Memorial Park at approximately 10:15 p.m.
Saturday, June 23
Day three of the celebration starts early. Registration for the 36th annual fishing contest opens at 7 a.m. at Lions Park. The contest runs from 8 a.m. to noon. Fishing weigh-in takes place at Lions Park at noon.
The 5k, “Run for the Lakers” registration begins at 8:15 a.m. at Memorial Park. Participants will start running at 9 a.m.
The Friends of the Library will host a book sale beginning at 9 a.m. in the community center above the library, and members will be serving sloppy joes and strawberry shortcake.
The newly-expanded farmers market, and a craft and vendor fair will be open back at the downtown site from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
(The craft and vendor fair takes place inside the former middle school gymnasium, which is also right downtown in the festival area.)
Energetic attendees can kick it with a free refit dance fitness class with Tess at 10 a.m. in the open parking lot.
Famished participants can partake in goodies, such as brats, hot dogs, corn dogs, cotton candy, minidonuts, and beer, beginning at 11 a.m. and throughout the day.
The traditional goofy “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” One Block Run starts at the corner of Howard Lake City Hall at 11 a.m.
Professional foodie judges will be waiting under the large tent for BBQ contest samples promptly at 12:45 p.m.
Contestants must serve their best BBQ work.
Entries will be judged on taste, tenderness, and appearance. Prizes will be awarded to the top three BBQ masters.
The traditional turtle races begin at 1:30 p.m. at the parking lot, and a dunk tank, featuring local celebrities opens in the same vicinity at 2 p.m.
The Rods and Rides Car and Motorcycle Show begins at 2 p.m., and participation is free.
The annual Good Neighbor Day Award presentation will honor a community promoter at 6 p.m. under the large tent.
Rusted Revolver begins cranking tunes at 8 p.m., and closes the festivities for the day at midnight.
Sunday, June 24
The final segment of Good Neighbor Days begins at 10 a.m., with the Pee Wee Reese Baseball Tournament at Yager Field.
A cake walk, an old-style event that is new to the celebration this year, begins at 11:30 a.m. near the large tent.
The Grande Day Parade steps off at 2 p.m., although many people start scoping out spots much earlier in the day. The parade route is long enough to ensure everyone gets a good seat, and that kids can catch more candy than they need.
A silent auction and wine pull begin at 3 p.m. under the large tent, and the firemen’s waterball games follow at 3:30 p.m. in a location to be announced.
Little ones can wear off some of their energy by participating in the kids pedal tractor pull at 3:30 p.m. The event is designed for 4- to 11-year-olds.
A teen Solo Cup Challenge will take place 3:30 Sunday, and the Kids Saran Wrap Ball Challenge at 4:15 p.m.
Finally, a new Miss Howard Lake will be crowned at 6 p.m. under the big tent. She will reign and represent the City of Howard Lake until 2019’s Good Neighbor Days celebration only 365 days away.
Look for the special section about Good Neighbor Days in this week’s issue.