North St. Paul gets ready to welcome the fall

Many familiar favorites marched, pedaled and drove down Seventh Avenue for the 2017 Fall Round-Up Parade in North St. Paul, including the United Marching Band, made up of students from School District 622. file photo

Last year, clowns from various clown clubs delighted children and adults alike as they made their way through downtown in the Fall Round-Up Parade. file photo

With Labor Day, the Minnesota State Fair and the first day of school all behind us, Minnesota has turned the corner toward autumn and its brightly colored leaves, pumpkin spice everything, and North St. Paul’s Fall Round-Up Parade. 

It’ll be marching through town Thursday, Sept. 13.

The parade will include 51 different groups from around the area, including the School District 622 United Marching Band, the Northern Lights Show Choir, local politicians and various local businesses that, in past years, have distributed plenty of candy and freebees to the crowd lining Seventh Avenue East.

It will also feature two grand marshals this year instead of one. World War II veterans Don Fitch and Bill Huot, who both live at Polar Ridge in downtown North St. Paul, will be honored in this year’s parade. 

“I was kind of pleased,” said Fitch of his reaction when he found out he’d be a grand marshal. “That was kind of nice of them.”

Fitch, 94, said he grew up on the East Side of St. Paul and was stationed in the South Pacific when he served in the Navy during World War II, his experiences there earning him eight battle stars. 

After returning from his service, Fitch attended St. Thomas College, where he was captain of the hockey team between 1949 and 1950. He was also an avid golfer for many years and is known in the area as an entrepreneur, having run several successful businesses including Fox & Hound, Donnie’s Supper Club and The Sherwood Lounge, among others.

Huot, 92, said he grew up in the Macalester/Groveland neighborhood of St. Paul before serving in the Army Air Corps during the war. While in the Air Corps, he was trained as a mechanic for B-24 airplanes and was stationed on Okinawa Island.

Years later he became president of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. He also became president of his family’s business, Huot Manufacturing, following his father and older brother. Huot said his son still runs the business.

He also noted he served as district governor for the Lions Club, and has been a member of the Wildwood Lions Club of Mahtomedi for many years.

“Last year was my only experience in seeing the parade,” Huot said, though he seemed excited to be a part of it this year.

The parade will again make its way through North St. Paul’s historic downtown, starting at 6:30 p.m. sharp at the intersection of Seventh Avenue East and First Street North. The parade will travel down Seventh Avenue until it reaches its conclusion at Henry Street North.

All the intersections on the route will be closed starting at 5:30 p.m. through the duration of the parade. Also closed will be North St. Paul Drive and Third and Second streets between North St. Paul Drive and Seventh Avenue East.


Last car show 

of the season

Along with the parade’s welcome of fall comes the send-off of summer, which is marked by the final History Cruze Car Show of the season on Friday, Sept. 14.

Car show organizer Bruce Fabio said that most of the evening will be filled with familiar car show favorites, but he highlighted a special film that will be shown “drive-in” style at dusk in the grassy lot near the intersection of Margaret Street and Seventh Avenue East, across from the post offfice.

Fabio said that organizers have opted to let the movie choice be a surprise, though he did hint that it will be a popular, family-oriented animated film.

“We would love to have all the families bring their blankets and spread them out in the grass,” he said, adding that the food vendors that will be stationed nearby know to come well supplied.

“The last car show is always one of our largest car shows, so we will have plenty of cars [and] lots of food,” he said.

Fabio added that this year’s series of shows has been very successful, with record attendance numbers. “We’ve had just a monster year. We attribute part of it to being on ‘Twin Cities Live.’ It always helps that the city put its best foot forward and was on television.”

Of course, organizing such a popular car show is an almost-year-round pursuit, so those interested in getting involved with next year’s show can visit the its website,, for more information.

Fabio added that organizers also love it when people find the group on Facebook and offer suggestions. In addition, the car show is always looking for new entertainment and bands to volunteer to perform.


– Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or

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