Monona Hay Days will transport attendees to the ‘Wild, Wild West’

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By Audrey Posten


Monona Hay Days will transport attendees to the “Wild, Wild West” this year.


“[The committee] just decided to do something different and bring back yesteryear, and we have,” said chair Teresa Graham.


The annual summertime celebration is back as a two-day event, Friday and Saturday, June 7 and 8. The “beefed up” Friday evening will include a euchre tournament at 6:30 p.m. at the Monona Community Center, with food and drinks served by the Monona Methodist Church.


The event was traditionally held with other festivities on Saturday, but Graham said this will allow more people to participate while enjoying other Saturday activities.


“There seems to be a lot of excitement about the euchre tournament. Because it usually takes three hours, it takes up a great part of one’s day, and if they want to see something else, they couldn’t do that,” she said.


Midnight Magic Karaoke at Center Street Bar ‘N Grill will cap off the night from 8 p.m. to midnight.


Hay Days activities will continue bright and early Saturday morning, with the Monona Butterfly Garden Pancake Breakfast in the community center from 7 to 10 a.m., as well as a 5K run/walk sponsored by the MFL MarMac Cross Country Team in the city park. Registration is at 7 a.m., and the race will follow at 8 a.m.


A bean bag tournament is planned for 11 a.m., which is also the start time for the Hay Days parade. Entries are encouraged to follow the “Wild, Wild West” theme, and a highlight will be 1880s street theater group Hole in the Sock Gang as well as an entourage of western wagons courtesy of Mike Ryan from Waukon. This includes an 1880s jail pulled by a team of white Percheron horses.


“The jail will be used in one of the games and our grand marshal will also be riding in the parade in the jail. Then we have a stagecoach that originally came from Arizona. He has had it refurbished to its original state, and it will be driven with a team of black Percheron mares. Then we have some covered wagons and a two-wheel wagon used for wood and water carrying crossing the prairie. This will be driven by a team of mules that’s extremely friendly,” Graham explained. “They are going to be in the parade, then we’re going to park them at the lower end of West Center Street, so they’ll be there awhile if people want a close view.”


 Following the parade on Main Street, attendees can head downtown for the Hay Days opening ceremony, with the presentation of colors and national anthem, introduction of parade honorees and a performance by the MFL MarMac dance team.


The tractor pull and classic car and truck show will get underway at 1 p.m., as will the judging for Little Mr. and Miss Buckaroo, a new feature this year. The entrants are all MFL MarMac first graders.


“That will be cute. They will ask them a panel of questions,” Graham said.


At 2 p.m., watch for the Star Power Dance Team performance, then ventriloquist D.C. Michan from 3 to 4 p.m. and bingo in the community center from 3 to 5 p.m. 


Also new in 2024 is a children’s hay bale toss for youth ages nine to 15, beginning at 4 p.m. The adult competition, back for its second year, has moved to 7 p.m. 


Throughout the afternoon, Hay Days attendees can enjoy food and drink vendors and the beer garden. There are also a variety of children’s activities, including facepainting, a money machine, ax throwing and games.


“We’ve got some new games this year along with our other games. You get nice prices,” Graham noted.


Woodshed Reboot will provide live music from noon to 4 p.m., a taste of entertainment to come that evening, when Anthony Koester and the Skunk River Band performs at the street dance from 8 p.m. to midnight.


Attendees can earn tickets for the popular basket drawings by participating in Hay Days activities. Seventy-eight baskets are available this year, according to Graham, posted on the Monona Hay Days Facebook page and visible in the Epic Wear windows.


“This year, we incorporated the library to do a scavenger hunt the week of Hay Days, starting Monday to 5 p.m. on Friday. This is for kids, and you’re looking for Sheriff Sherman. If they complete the scavenger hunt, they get 10 free tickets,” Graham shared. “Also, at center stage on Saturday, you can purchase a badge for $1 and get 10 extra tickets. You can get 10 free extra tickets by volunteering and working with us or you can get tickets by going to the euchre tournament Friday night or eating in the bar any time Friday.”


 Graham said the core Hay Days committee of around 10 people has met regularly since February to organize the event. 


“Everybody is really excited here. When you have a fairly good sized team, the ideas that come together just overwhelm you. Everybody brings their own expertise into this,” she said. 


For her specifically, “it’s something I can do to give back.”


Graham first got involved in 2018, and takes pride in the continual growth of Hay Days. It’s even more rewarding in 2024, as she plans to hand the chairmanship reins off to a new leader.


“Every year, we have tried to grow it and change it up, and I think we’ve been successful in doing that. Bringing back the two-day event is a big thing,” she remarked.


Find more event details in the ad on page 8, or check out the “Monona Hay Days” Facebook page.



Monona Hay Days to include Little Mr. and Miss Buckaroo contest


In conjunction with the upcoming Monona Hay Days on June 7 and 8, a Little Mr. and Little Miss Buckaroo Contest will take place on Saturday. The event is sponsored by the Monona Chamber and Economic Development Board. Students in the first grade at MFL MarMac were eligible for  the contest. 


The contestants will ride a float in the parade, which is at 11 a.m. The judging will take place at 1 p.m. at center stage, on Main Street. Contestants will be introduced and asked questions. A panel of three judges will decide the winners to be announced directly after.


Little Miss Buckaroo contestants are Adalynn Beatty, daughter of Nathan Beatty and Jennifer Nyen of McGregor; Remy Dahlstrom, daughter of Jodi Heins of Monona; Stephanie Gieseke, daughter of Levi Gieseke and Michelle Gieseke of McGregor; Ava Hendricks, daughter of Steve and Amber Hendricks of Monona; Elyannah Schultz, daughter of Noah and Crystal Schultz of Monona; Waverly Wagner, daughter of Randy and Samantha Wagner of Farmersburg; and Emery White, daughter of Arlis and Heather White of Luana.


The Little Mr. Buckaroo contestants are Canaan Corcoran, son of Michael and Heather Corcoran of Luana; Bodhi Jones, son of Pat and Caytee Jones of McGregor; Warren Lange, son of Matt and Shauna Lange of Farmersburg; Logan Ludwig, son of Josh and Kayla Ludwig of Monona; Brayton Schutte, son of Lance and Jonna Schutte of Monona; and Emmett Tuecke, son of Wayne and Katelyn Tuecke of Monona.


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