A wide array of entertainment and activities will be featured at Ox Cart Days on Aug. 12-18 in Crookston.
This year’s event, celebrating its 30th anniversary, offers something for everyone and has grown remarkably in recent years, said Jessica Bengtson, Ox Cart Days festival chair.
“We’ll have over 90 activities -- it’s just blown up. It’s so fun,” Bengtson said. “And a $5 button gets you into most things. You can’t do that anywhere. The button gets you into Johnny Holm and seven other bands. That’s pretty awesome.”
The Johnny Holm Band will be the headliner at the Aug. 17 evening street dance, which will be accompanied by a fireworks display.
Other musicians performing during Ox Cart Days include Tim Eggebraten, The Downtown Horns, The Island Time Band and The Jensen Sisters.
“We’re going to have a Friday night, laid-back luau, with The Island Time steel drum band,” Bengtson said. “There will be beer tasting, kids’ entertainment, a professional juggler and a Hawaiian shirt contest.”
At the Taste of Crookston event, about 25 businesses, clubs and organizations will offer samples of their food items Aug. 12 at the Eagles Club.
Eggebraten will entertain at that event.
“He’s kind of one-man band who plays rock, country and pop," Bengston said.
Some of the activities, familiar to those who have attended in the past, include the Kids Tractor Pull, Water Wars, Lip Sync Contest, 5K/10K/Kids Run, the Miss Crookston, Little Miss and Junior Miss pageants and the Torchlight Parade.
New this year are events such as an interactive BMX and skateboard show, a log-rolling contest, hypnotist, juggler, magician, a treasure hunt, Minnesota Twins bar trivia, daily patio party lunches and C-Town Mini Golf.
One of the highlights of the week is the chance to meet and ride the oxen team, Biscuits and Gravy, before the team leads the anniversary parade, Bengtson said.
Returning favorites include the Miss Tootsie Pageant, Supermarket Sweep, Grocery Bingo, a veterans ceremony with ice cream social, a classic car show, karaoke, pony rides, petting zoo, RibFest, Corn and Brat Feed and airboat rides.
The fire and police departments will host a pancake feed on Aug. 16 at the Crookston Fire Hall.
Several high school class reunions are planned during the week.
In recent years the festival, formerly known as Pioneer Days, has expanded from a few days to a week-long event.
“We found that people wanted more events and more things to do,” Bengtson said.
Organizers have seen increasing interest in the event with attendance growing steadily, from 1,200 to 5,000 in the past three years.
Most events take place at Downtown Square but other venues are the University of Minnesota Crookston campus, Central Park and some businesses.
The $5 buttons are available at Hugo’s grocery store, True Value Hardware and the Second Street Boutique in Crookston or from any committee member.
“Or people can leave a message on our website, and we’ll hold the tickets at will call,” Bengtson said.
For more information, go online to www.crookstonoxcartdays.com or call (701) 610-6454.