After long drought, let festivities begin

The business runway will be a theme week again this summer at Marketfest. This 2016 file photo shows a GoodThings representative displaying an inflatable rubber ducky as she walks the red carpet.

WHITE BEAR LAKE — Marketfest’s fate will be decided June 1 as to whether the city’s summer festival is a go or no-go. However, the event’s director, Lisa Beecroft, is confident the Thursday evening festival will happen in 2021. Ditto for Manitou Days, which kicks off July 1.

Beecroft and this year’s Manitou Days Chair, Bill Weigel, briefed the City Council last week on plans for both community celebrations. 

Marketfest will be six Thursdays instead of seven and run July 1 to Aug. 5. Committees didn’t know what the governor’s rules would be for crowd gatherings when they started planning and felt it safer to delay the start dates, Beecroft said. “Things are opening up for outdoor events, so we’re confident things will move forward with a near-normal festival season,” she told council March 23. 

On the docket: two stages with live entertainment, as usual, the classic car show and vendors. The Kid’s Activity Zone will have crafts and a magician, but no inflatables, climbing wall or trampolines. The petting zoo moved to Maplewood Mall. Weekly themes like the popular cake walk, public safety night and the environmental expo will return, and hours remain 6 to 9 p.m. 

The event hopes to generate a net income of $9,450 after expenses. 

Beecroft also introduced a new co-chair this year who will join Dale Grambush. Dan Perry, with Edward Jones Financial, will take over the helm as Grambush transitions out of his longtime Marketfest role. 

Councilman Bill Walsh called the preparations “a great plan. The city needs this; the whole region needs this. If you’re looking for feedback, it looks like it’s going to be safe. Go and be not afraid.” 

Manitou Days will be downsized as far as events go, and the annual Boat Show likely won’t happen in 2021, according to Weigel. But there will be a parade July 2. Plan A is to hold a normal parade, as in the past. Plan B is to have a drive-by parade along Lake Avenue, depending on COVID restrictions. “We will plan for each and make the decision around June 1,” Weigel said. 

The post-parade beach dance is July 2 with plans to sell tickets online to restrict the number of people who attend. White Bear Rotary Club and Explore White Bear are sponsoring the dance. The medallion hunt and button contest is a go, and a pickleball tournament is a possibility. There will be fireworks.

“A lot of things will come back in 2022,” the chair added. “People are ready for something like this.”

— Debra Neutkens

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