Discover Monona during Hay Days

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Discover Monona during its annual Hay Days celebration, Friday and Saturday, June 17-18. 

The fun begins Friday, June 18, with the Monona Volunteer Fire Department’s Glow Run 5K/1 mile Family Fun Run/Walk, now in its third year. Registration is from 8 to 9 p.m. at the city park. The Glow Run, which starts and finishes at the park, will begin at dusk. Stick around after the event for the After Glow Party. For those who need some food to fuel their running efforts, stop by the walking taco supper sponsored by the Smith and Bulldog Childcare and Learning Centers, held from 6 to 8 p.m.

Saturday’s activities will begin bright and early with the pancake breakfast benefitting the Monona Butterfly Garden and Trail. The event will run from 7 to 10 a.m. at the Monona Community Center. Bingo will be played from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

The Hay Days parade, with the theme “Discover Monona,” will start at 11 a.m. The parade line-up will begin at 10 a.m., in the Monona Wire (CVG) gravel parking lot. Classic cars and trucks will line up in the NEIT parking lot. The parade will travel down Main Street to the four-way stop, then take a right and another right on South Egbert Street, then head back to CVG.

Following the parade, downtown Monona will be a flurry of activity. Events will include children’s crafts and coloring at Murphy Helwig Library; live performances by the Monona Martial Arts and Guttenberg Karate Club; a classic car and truck show; children’s $300 sandpile dig; inflatable bounce houses; face painting; dunk tank; butterflies, birds and bugs group photo souvenir stand; sanctioned kiddie tractor pull and a bean bag tournament.

A new booth this year, noted Rogeta Halvorson, Monona Chamber and Economic Development Executive Director and one of the Hay Days organizers, is a booth by the Monona Police Department. It will feature a pie-in-the-face game and giveaways, while also giving people the opportunity to sit in a police car and meet a police dog.

Another new booth is the “Discover Monona” scavenger hunt, organized by QCSS’s Craig and Kerrill Schmidt, who will also share information about geocaching in Monona.

Adding to the festive atmosphere will be music provided by a DJ, as well as food and refreshments from local organizations and downtown restaurants.

“Most of the suppliers or operators of Hay Days activities, tournament games and food booths are Monona-area non-profit groups and school clubs just trying to make a bit of money for their group or project,” Halvorson said. “Our sponsors have helped make this possible for them by again bringing in great attractions and broader marketing efforts this year. I strongly encourage area folks to attend Hay Days and support these non-profit groups.”

For those who haven’t recently visited MFL MarMac, school tours will be given from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. and 1:15 to 2 p.m. Enter the school through the south high school auditorium door.

Another special aspect of this year’s Hay Days is the Monona Community Visioning design workshop and presentation. Beginning at 7 a.m., people are encouraged to stop by the Monona Community Center to offer their ideas for improving Monona. The workshop is a culmination of an input-gathering process to identify transportation needs and opportunities for enhancements in the city. Information collected at several public input-gathering sessions in the spring will be incorporated into a conceptual transportation and landscape enhancement plan. 

A design team from Iowa State University will work throughout the day to create preliminary designs. The workshop will conclude from 2 to 3 p.m., with a presentation of the preliminary designs created during the workshop. The review presentation is open to the public.

Later in the day, Hay Days attendees can enjoy a beer garden and free, live music, as the band American Standard plays in front of MJ’s and R Place. A 2016 MFL MarMac All-Class Reunion King and Queen will be crowned.

Halvorson said Hay Days wouldn’t be possible without volunteers.

“In this second year of the community committee leading the planning efforts, we’re blessed with over a dozen new volunteers from the Knights of Columbus, FreedomBank and more, who have come forward to help with the logistics of set-up and tear-down,” Halvorson said. “We hope this trend continues yearly so everyone may give a reasonable effort that collectively contributes to a larger, more successful event, especially one that is not a great burden on any one individual or committee. This will sustain a nice community festival for many years to come.”

Find more information and a more detailed schedule of events on page 8. Additional information and event contacts and sign-up details can also be found on the “Monona Hay Days” Facebook page.

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