Stockyard Days 2017


Stockyard Days 2017 - A Special Section published by Lillie Suburban Newspapers
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The Stories

Summer’s in full swing and it’s time to start getting ready for New Brighton’s annual Stockyard Days! This year will be the festival’s 36th year of celebrating the city and its heritage, with the festival kicking off on Sunday, Aug. 6, and concluding with the Ambassador Coronation on Monday, Aug. 14.  Under the theme “herding together,” all your favorite activities will be back this year, as well as some surprises.

Noting some new

Along with all the classic Stockyard Days events and activities, there are also some new things to take note of this year. 

For example, for the first time ever in the festival’s history, there will a junior grand marshal in the annual parade, in addition to the norm. 

That’s something to be excited about, says Brian Vickery, this year’s president of the Stockyard Days Committee. 

“We’ve never had a junior grand marshal before, but we thought this kid was pretty special so we wanted to honor him.”

Another thing Vickery says a lot of folks are excited about is that GB Leighton will be playing a set on the main stage this year.

With 11 albums, Leighton and his band are no stranger to festivals.

“He’s a big draw,” Vickery says of Leighton, who’s scheduled to play on Friday, Aug. 11, from 7 to 11 p.m. “Everybody around town knows who he is.”

New returners

Other things that were new last year proved popular and are coming back this year. 

On Sunday, Aug. 6, the Stockyard Days Bike Sprints, a cycling race, will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The race formed after Pat Whalen, owner of PJW Auto, decided to approach Stockyard Days organizers about creating a bike race last year. Whalen has been involved with the sport for more than 25 years.

The event is co-sponsored by Cars Bike Shop of Mounds View.

Registration is required and can be done no later than 45 minutes prior to each race. To register, folks can visit PJW Automotive at 2087 Old Highway 8 in New Brighton, or visit

Participating costs $30 if registered between July 22 and 28, or $35 on the day of the event. 

Interested in taking part in more than one race? It’s just an add-on of $10 for an adult or $5 for a junior participant.   

The course takes place on streets and paths, with racers doing multiple laps.

There will be a variety of categories for men, women and children.

Visit for more information on how to register for the different categories. 

Whalen thought it would be fun to give back to the communities that have supported his business with a fun, unusual and exciting event.

Also returning from last year is the New Brighton Corral Golf Tournament on Aug. 7 from 8 to 11 a.m.

The Denny Ross Memorial Softball Tournament will take place on Monday, Aug. 7, at 6 p.m. Visit the softball field at Veterans Park, 803 Old Highway 8, to watch the police and fire departments battle it out.

The “500” card tournament is back, happening on Friday, Aug. 11, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the New Brighton Community Center, 400 10 St. NW.

For those feeling athletic, a 5K, 10K and kids one-fourth mile fun run will take place Saturday, Aug. 12, at 8 a.m., at Long Lake Regional Park Pavilion.


Stockyard Days festival favorites

Parade • Thursday, Aug. 10, at 6 p.m. 

Festival organizers take pride in the annual Stockyard Days Parade, often heralded as one of the biggest parades in the entire state. This year’s Stockyard Days parade will feature all sorts of things, including clowns, bands and more than 40 parade floats that will wind their way through the streets of Old Town New Brighton.

This year, the Bartz brothers will be honored as the grand marshals. The three young men — Connor, Trevor and Austin — are well known and have even made national news for making giant snow sculptures in their parent’s front yard in the 2700 block of 16th Street N.W. over the past few winters. 

This year, organizers have also chosen to have a junior grand marshal: 11-year-old Eli Burton.

According to Vickery, Burton came up with a concept of helping the homeless, which impressed organizers so much that they thought he should be spotlighted in the parade. 

In 2015, Burton created Eli Packs, which are filled with necessities in an easy to carry pouch for people to have in their vehicles should they meet a person in need. Since 2015, 505 packs have been assembled.

Folks are encouraged to show up a little early to secure a good vantage point for your lawn chairs as the route fills up fast! The parade will follow the same route as former years, beginning on First Avenue between St. John The Baptist Catholic Church and New Brighton Health and Rehab. The route will head down 10th Street, then turn south onto Old Highway 8, past City Hall. The parade will then head west on Eighth Street, turn south on Eighth Avenue, before finally heading back onto Old Highway 8 for a final jaunt before ending at Oak Grove Community Housing.

Medallion Hunt • Sunday, Aug. 6, at 5 p.m., when the first clue is posted at New Brighton City Hall and on Facebook

All are welcome to try their hand at the Stockyard Days Medallion Hunt. Why not! There’s the possibility of walking away with the medallion, plus and some cash. 

The Stockyard Days medallion will be hidden somewhere in New Brighton city limits. It will be hidden on public property, not buried and will be no more than four feet off the ground. 

Organizers specify that it will not be hidden at Brightwood Hills Golf Course or in Long Lake Regional Park — you’re not going to find it in either of those places, so look elsewhere and look hard. It could be hidden at any one of the other 12 city parks or at the New Brighton Community Center.

Clues pertaining to where to find the medallion will be posted daily at New Brighton City Hall beginning Sunday, Aug. 6, at 5 p.m. Clues will be posted online with a one-day delay from when they go up at City Hall. 

Feeling lucky? If you buy a Stockyard Days button prior to Monday, Aug. 7, and find the medallion, you’ll win $250; if you haven’t bought a button but find the medallion, you will be awarded $125.

Karaoke Contest

• Friday, Aug. 4, for the final round of qualifiers at 7:30 p.m. at New Brighton Eagles Club, 563 Old Highway 8.

• Sunday, Aug. 13, for the semifinals in Long Lake Regional Park at noon, followed by the finals at 3:30 p.m. 

Start exercising those vocal cords, and get ready to grab the mic for the Stockyard Days Karaoke Contest. Your final opportunity to qualify is Friday, Aug. 4, at 7:30 p.m., at the New Brighton Eagles Club, for a cost of $5. If you make it through the first round of grueling competition, some money will be on the line on Sunday, Aug. 13, when it all comes down to who rocks the most with the contest finals at Long Lake Regional Park. 

The first-place singer gets $250; second place nets $150; and third place garners $100; the best duet singers will split $200. Your $5 entry fee is good for as far as you make it in the contest.

Kids Night • Wednesday, Aug. 9, at 6:30 p.m. in Veterans Park

There’s a night dedicated to the little ones! Kids, dress up in your favorite costumes and hop on your decorated bike and head to Veterans Park. 

Prizes will be given out for best costume and best-decorated bike.

The Kiddie Parade starts at 6:30 p.m. in Veterans Park, which is located on Old Highway 8, just behind the New Brighton City Hall. 

Activities in Long Lake Regional Park

• Friday Aug. 11, from 5 to 11 p.m.

• Saturday Aug. 12, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

• Sunday Aug. 13, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Just like last year, Long Lake Regional Park at 1500 Old Highway 8 is the place to be for a majority of festival activities and as always, will be a beautiful and convenient venue to have all sorts of summer fun. 

For kids, there will be a whole host of inflatables and games. With the whole family in mind, Long Lake Park will also host a variety of craft and merchandise vendors along with a bunch of great food options as well. 

Show up to the park Friday and Saturday evenings for the street dances. The Antique Car Run will be finishing its tour with cars rolling in around 3 p.m. Saturday and will be on display after that. 

On Sunday morning, take in the Car Show & Swap meet.

On Sunday afternoon, Long Lake Park will also host the karaoke contest finals, starting at 3:30 p.m.

Car Run • Saturday, Aug. 12, antique cars will be on display from 2 to 5 p.m. in Long Lake Regional Park

Dozens of cars will arrive at New Brighton Stockyard Days for the 30th iteration of the festival’s popular Car Run, beginning at 2 p.m., on Saturday, Aug. 12. Having traveled 120 miles of Minnesota countryside since 7 a.m. that morning, drivers will arrive, grab some refreshments, socialize, and answer any questions Stockyard Days attendees may have for them. 

The run begins in New London and ends at New Brighton Stockyard Days festival in Long Lake Regional Park. 

Throughout the tour of rural Minnesota, drivers also take rest stops in five other small towns. For more information about the Run, visit

Street Dances

• Friday, Aug. 11, GB Leighton, Long Lake Regional Park from 7 to 11 p.m.

• Saturday, Aug. 12, Hitchville, Long Lake Regional Park from 7 to 11 p.m.

Come out and dance to a crowd favorite — GB Leighton — on Friday, Aug. 11, from 7 to 11 p.m. The band will perform a high-energy set of tunes, and do just what it’s known for: rock.

The next night, on Saturday, Aug. 12, from 7 to 11 p.m., head back over to the main stage at Long Lake Regional Park to see Hitchville, a band that’ll bring some country rock to the stage. 

Fireworks • Saturday, Aug. 12, at dusk

Head out for another wonderful Stockyard Days Fireworks display in Long Lake Regional Park on Saturday, Aug. 12, at dusk. 

Event organizers say they’re not using a high altitude display this year, but instead will be using one that takes place lower down, so the best viewing areas for fireworks are in Long Lake Park generally, but it may be best seen at or near the pavilion. 

If you were able to see the fireworks from your home in past years, organizers note that that may no longer be the case. So, grab a chair or blanket and hunker down for the summer tradition, which will even include some ground displays this year.

Car Show & Swap Meet • Sunday, Aug. 13, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Long Lake Park=

Growing out of the Stockyard Days Car Run, this year’s Stockyard Days 31th Annual Car Show & Swap Meet is put on by The Thunderbird Midwest Club and the Twin Cities Regional Group of the Early Ford V-8 Club. 

The event’s atmosphere is family friendly, set in Long Lake Park, and is a great place to look at some classic cars and chat up their proud owners. There will be 15 classes of entry, from stock to modified vehicles, and awards will be based on owner voting, along with a People’s Choice award that will be determined by spectators choosing their favorite ride. 

Admission to the Car Show & Swap Meet is $4, or $2 with a Stockyard Days button.

Duck Race • Sunday Aug. 13, around noon on Rice Creek in Long Lake Park

Mid-summer is gone and as the warm season wanes, the ducks are slowly preparing to migrate south, but they’ve also been fiercely preparing for this last hurrah — the Stockyard Days Duck Race. 

The duck race is a great way to support the festival for coming years and it’s also a great way to win a little bit of extra cash, too. You can buy Duck Raffle tickets for $5 and you don’t even have to be at the race in order to win. 

Tickets can be purchased before the festival at Beisswenger’s Hardware or at New Brighton City Hall or during the festival on Friday, Aug. 11, and Saturday, Aug. 12, at the Information Booth located in Long Lake Park. 

Be the lucky duck with the right number to be first to cross the finish line and take home $500. Second through fifth places win $100, while sixth through 10th places win $50. The last place duck takes home $100!

Access to the viewing area for the Duck Race on Rice Creek is on Mississippi Street between Silver Lake Road and Thorndale Avenue.

If you can’t make it to any of the in-person ticket sales areas, email and festival organizers will figure out how to get you a ticket.

Ambassador Coronation • Monday, Aug. 14, at 6 p.m. at Mounds View High School

New Stockyard Days ambassadors will be chosen during ceremonies at Mounds View High School, 1900 Lake Valentine Road, Arden Hills, at 6 p.m.

This is the final event of the festival, closing out the 2017 Stockyard Days until next year. 

For more information on the many Stockyard Days activities, visit


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