Kaposia Days 2018


Rosefest 2018 - A Special Section published by Lillie Suburban Newspapers
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Kaposia Days 2018: time to celebrate the city


The first Kaposia Days was organized more than 40 years ago with just a handful of activities designed to foster a sense of community in South St. Paul. 

These days, the event is bigger and better than ever, and includes street dances, fireworks and parades. This year, there are some new events to help make the weekend festival even more welcoming to residents of all ages.

Kaposia Days President Holly Cocchiarella said the new events include a movie in the park on June 22 after the Grande Parade. “The Love Bug” will be showing at Central Square Amphitheater.

“There’s usually nothing going on for kids after the parade. We’re just looking for something new on Friday,” Cocchiarella said.

On Sunday, June 24, there will be a skatepark set up at Sixth Avenue North and Marie Avenue, near Central Square. Running from noon to 5 p.m., skateboarders from 3rd Lair Skate Park and Skate Shop will be giving free skateboard lessons as well as performing demonstrations. A list of demo times can be found at www.kaposiadays.org.

“We’re always looking for more things for teenagers to do. Young kids are easy ... we’re looking to add things in that teenagers can enjoy as well,” Cocchiarella said. 

The medallion hunt is back again this year. Participants in the hunt use clues to search for a medallion the size of a hockey puck that’s hidden somewhere in South St. Paul. The hunt starts on Monday, June 18. There will be 10 clues in all, and the hunt ends at 5:30 p.m. on June 22 if the medallion is not found. In the event that the medallion is not found, the prize money will be added to next year’s prize. Complete rules can be found at www.kaposiadays.org.

While the medallion hunt requires deductive reasoning and slow, contemplative thinking in order to piece together clues, other events require survival instincts and quick reactions, such as the water balloon dodgeball tournament.

The dodgeball event will take place on Sunday, June 24, starting at 1 p.m. at Central Square, 100 Seventh Ave. N. The entry fee is $15 per team if registered before June 23. Entries on June 24 will be $20 per team.

For additional information, contact Deb Griffith at 651-554-3230 or deb.griffith@southstpaul.org. There will be a free hot dog picnic provided by the South St. Paul City Council following the tournament.

Opening Saturday, June 23, at 8 p.m., and wrapping up at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 24, the softball tournament will once again take place at Veterans and Kapoisa Landing fields. 

To register a softball team, contact tournament director Rich Rakness at 651-455-1725.

There are plenty more events to get your competitive spirit going. The bean-bag throwing cornhole tournament will take place at Kapoisa Landing on Saturday, June 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration will begin at 11 a.m., and the cost is $40 per team — cash and same-day registration only. 


What it’s all about

The various tournaments are entertaining events, but in reality, the festival is not all about pitting community members against each other. It’s actually about the opposite.

More than four decades ago, when civic leaders were searching for a name for the new festival, they didn’t have to look far. They picked Kaposia, the name of the Dakota settlement that existed when the first European explorers arrived. Kaposia was situated on the land where South St. Paul is now located.

Every summer, Kaposia welcomed more than 400 members of the Mdewakanton-band of Dakota. 

In the same spirit, Kaposia Days hopes to bring the community together for a weekend of friendship-building and family-friendly activities.

“The community of South St. Paul really enjoys getting together for its own events and own community,” Cocchiarella said. “Everyone always seems to stay in town.”

The festival is also steeped in traditions, featuring classic events at the VFW hall, the royalty coronation and the parades. 

Kaposia Native Village, which presents Native American culture displays and activities led by volunteers dressed in traditional clothing, will not be open this year.

“They are sad to not participate this year but are hoping to be back next year,” Cocchiarella said. 


There’s plenty to eat

Though the events could lead to exhaustion — and some people seek just that — there are plenty more relaxing things to sink your teeth into, including food.

Before, during, after and in between the parades, kite flying, classic car show, street dancing and bingo, there will be plenty of eating options.

A food court with concession vendors will be set up on Friday, June 22, from 5 to 9:30 p.m., at Southview Boulevard and Eighth Avenue. 

Don’t worry about cooking breakfast on Sunday, June 24. Fury Motors employees will be serving up pancakes and sausage from 9 a.m. to noon at the dealership, 1000 Concord St. S. The meal is complimentary with a Kaposia Days button. 


The honor goes to

Every year the Kaposia Days Button is designed by a local student.  

This year’s winner is Sbehidy Tapia Enciso, a student at Lincoln Center. She loves to dance, draw and participate in school events. She also enjoys going to Kaposia Days with her family every year.

The button, which costs $3, will help get you into the royalty coronation, Button Swim, Fury’s pancake breakfast, the Pro Wrestling America show and street dances at the VFW.

Buttons can be purchased at a variety of local businesses. For a full list go to www.kaposiadays.org/event-registration/button-design.


Fun for everyone

Festivities at the VFW Post 295, 111 South Concord Exchange, will wrap up Saturday night with a street dance, bonfire and live music at 8 p.m., on Saturday, June 23. Uncle Chunk will provide musical entertainment on the outside stage from 8 p.m. to midnight, with the band Strike 12 playing inside. The cost is $8 or $5 with a button.


A traditional kick off

If you happen to be driving south on 10th Avenue the night of Friday, June 22, you can expect to see lawn chairs arrayed beside the road. That evening South St. Paul’s Kaposia Days Grande Parade will be winding its way throughout town.

Cocchiarella says the parade on Friday night tends to be the most popular event.

“We get to kick-off our festival with the parade. Everyone gets to go home after work and set out their chairs and just gather with their family and friends,” she said. “It s a fun way to close out a Friday night.”

After the parade, head over to Concord Lanes, 365 Concord Exchange N., for the Friday Night Parking Lot Party. From 9 p.m. to midnight, the free event will feature beer and food for purchase. Music will be provided by MoJo Monks.


Deserving recognition 

This year’s parade grand marshal is Chad Sexauer, head coach of South St. Paul High School Packers football. The rest of the coaching staff will be honored as well. 

Cocchiarella said there were several nominations this year from board members and nominations from the public as well. Sexauer was chosen because of his achievement this year — he was selected as Coach of the Year by the Minnesota Vikings for the 2017 season.

“They spoke about football and the past ten years,” Sexauer said. “That’s when I said this is bigger than just one person — our entire football coaching staff should be the grand marshals. This is a great honor to our coaching staff, alumni and current football players.”

The 2018 Super Senior is Linda Jaeger. She was the Kaposia Days treasurer for many years and recently retired from the position. She also served as committee chair for the Kaposia Days button as well as for children’s games and activities. Jaeger is also a past royalty coordinator and president of Kaposia Days.

“The Board appreciates all of her years of volunteering and service to the board, Kaposia Days and the community,” Cocchiarella said.


What about the kids?

Kaposia Days is not just for adults.

Kids will be decked out for the Children’s Parade on Saturday, June 23, at 10:30 a.m. This year the kiddie parade is themed “Dress as your favorite construction worker,” and starts with entrants lining up at 10 a.m., at Fifth Avenue North and Southview Boulevard.

The parade concludes at Central Square, 100 Seventh Ave. N.

Back again is the Kite Fly on Sunday, June 24, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be free kites for everyone to fly at Roosevelt Field, 537 Fifth Ave. S.

Expect to see some new things going on with Kaposia Kids Stuff at Central Square on Saturday, June 23.

Whether you’re a South St. Paul native or a Twin Cities transplant, the City of South St. Paul invites you to come out and enjoy the 42nd celebration of Kaposia Days, June 22-24.


For a full list of events taking place during this year’s festival, go to www.kaposiadays.org. 


Waving goodbye

As Kaposia Days 2018 draws closer, 2017 Miss South St. Paul Kaposia Days Queen Kristen Coan looked back at her reign.

Coan, 18, decided to run last year because one of her friends from a long time ago was queen for the program previously. 

“I kind of forgot about it for a while until last year’s queen brought it up in a post on Instagram,” Coan said.

Coan was named queen out of six candidates and said she was surprised when she emerged from the field.

“I knew whoever got picked would be really good because all the girls that were running with me were just amazing people,” Coan said. “I was just really excited.”

For the last year, Coan has attended a variety of events fulfilling her role as Kaposia Days Queen. Coan said it has been amazing getting to meet so many people and says every activity and event has been so much fun because of it.

One activity that stands out to her from this past year is the spaghetti-eating contest at North Hudson Pepperfest.

“You don’t really think about all these royalty people shoving spaghetti in their mouth super fast,” she said.

As a South St. Paul resident, Coan has attended Kaposia Days for many years. She said her favorite part of the festival is the pancake breakfast on Sunday. She added the organizers do a really good job of making sure everyone is having a good time — “All of the community events are just amazing.”

As her reign comes to an end, she said the thing she will miss most is all the people she got to meet.

Coan, who is getting ready to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study biochemistry, had some advice for the next next queen: be yourself.

“Always try to have fun because it’s just an amazing experience,” she said.

This year’s royalty coronation is Saturday, June 23, at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at South St. Paul High School, 700 Second Ave. N. Entry is $3 with a Kaposia Days button and $5 without. Children younger than 5 get in free.


Click here for more information on the many Kaposia Days activities!


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