First, the winner from last week’s drawing… *drum roll* is Amy Burke! Now, those of you who sent me a note and said you had trouble posting a comment, never fear – I put your names in too 🙂 Amy gets her choice of an 8×10 of any of the pictures posted, my compliments. Thanks for reading and keep checking back – I’ll be giving away more stuff in the future.
And now, onto my thoughts for this week…
The unveiling of the new Steamboat Days Festival button and the crowning of the Harbor Master starts the countdown to one of the most festive events of Winona’s summer – Steamboat Days. It also starts the countdown, for me anyway, to fat pants, because the festival site is less than 100 feet from my office.
I’m sorry, but I can’t help it. Who can resist those big fat brats the Ambassadors sell, or the loaded baked potatoes or the FFA milkshakes? It’s the kind of food you probably wouldn’t eat every day, but I know I’m not the only one drooling like one of Pavlov’s dogs when I see that corn roaster pull into town. A year is a long time to wait and I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do, and some new stretch waistbands to try out.
Aaaahhhh the food. But Steamboat Days is more than food. It’s pure, unadulterated revelry.
Every night of the festival live music fills up the night sky down on the levy, and the festival committee does a good job bringing in bands that pack Levee Park. For me the Beverage Garden is an opportunity to round up all those beer tokens I ended up finding in the bottom of my purse after last year, something of a Steamboat Days tradition of its own.
I love catching the boat races on Lake Winona – it’s the best display of raw power you’ll see in town all year. These boats are moving fast and playing for keeps – one year I even caught photos of one of the boats losing control on a turn, flying through the air and flipping upside down. It was really cool – well only cool because the driver was okay. His boat, not so much.
There is a kiddie parade and a fishing contest and plays and pancake breakfasts and a treasure hunt and a car show and a 5 K race – I seriously think Winona should just name those five days citywide vacation days, kinda like Europe in August. I’m going to talk to the mayor about that next time I see him. You should send him a letter too.
Sunday of Steamboat Days has my two favorite things, and if it’s rainy that day there is no one in town more depressed than me.The Grand Parade is this well-tooled spectacle that stretches on for hours and is purely delightful for its variety and quality. Then that night the sky over the Mississippi River will explode with a fireworks display that people crowd to the river, Levee Park and city rooftops to ogle.
That fireworks display seems like a fitting end to the festival because it looks a lot like Winona did for the five days leading up to it – vibrant, exciting and an awful lot of fun. Check out the schedule at www.winonasteamboatdays.com , and if you catch me at the Beverage Garden and ask me about all those tokens I’ll buy you a beer with one of them 🙂