“Community Celebration” certainly sums up what is in store for people and their family at Maple Grove Days this weekend. So smooth on some sunscreen, wear the best walking shoes find the stroller and lawn chair and come out for a weekend of fun-filled events celebrating the City of Maple Grove, July 10 to 14.
Maple Grove Days is not only an annual celebration, but is the city’s largest festival, each year the attendance grows with more than 30,000 people attending in 2012, bringing organizations, businesses, community volunteers, church and youth groups together in a common goal; celebrating being a part of this great community.
The Maple Grove Community Organization (MGCO) is the driving force behind this summer festival and with the help of the city of Maple Grove was started in the 1988 with a proposal from then Commissioner John Garritsen. The mission was to form a committee to explore the need for a city festival. Today the group has over 30 members and meets throughout the year to plan and is proud to celebrate its 25th year of organizing city family events.
“Maple Grove Days generates hundreds of volunteers every year and that count does not include the many city employees who perform duties preparing for the festival and those on hand throughout the entire weekend assisting to ensure its success and our safety,” said Deb Syhre, president of MGCO. “The success of Maple Grove Days reflects this area’s growing population and how prolific the Maple Grove business district has become.”
It all started with a simple parade in Grove Square and has grown to a four-day festival. Originally, Maple Grove Days was named “Pierre Bottineau Days” according Maple Grove Historical Society representative. The namesake, Pierre Bottineau, was an infamous fur-trader born in 1817 in North Dakota. He later settled in several other places including Maple Grove. The Maple Grove Days parade continues to be appropriately named the “Pierre Bottineau Parade” and the parade namesake portrayed by Kurt Palmer since 2009. He filled the position his father, Boyer Palmer, created in 1996. Boyer passed away in December 2012. The Pierre Bottineau Parade will step off with Political units and a plane flyover at 6:10 p.m. again this year followed by the remaining parade units at 6:30 p.m.
Syhre states MGCO functions as a catalyst and an umbrella for the other organizations involved in Maple Grove Days events. Included in the list of participating organizations are the Maple Grove Lions, Maple Grove Rotary, Maple Grove Ambassador Program, Maple Grove Historical Society, Weaver Lake Conservation Association, Maple Grove Arts Center, Rice Lake Mom’s Club, DragLINKS Car Club, Girl and Boy Scouts, area churches, school organizations, 40 Winks Foundation and many businesses who contribute time, sponsor dollars and products to the event.
“We try to add something new each year to Maple Grove Days and look for ways to improve events from previous years,” said Syhre.
Look for the Pickleball and Volleyball Tournament presented by MRPA, the all new look of the Garden Tours as they go beyond the garden this year. And of course the many old and favorite events from past years like Corn Hole Tournament, Capture the Flag game, Art Fair and the Friday night outdoor movie under the stars.
There’s lots of opportunity for competition, lots of great prizes to win and of course the fun of just competing. The Eighth Annual Tennis Tournament will take place this year with four days of competition by the Maple Grove Crimson Tennis Association. Youth can participate in the Junior Golf Tournament at French Lake Golf Course, and MCCC Teen Outreach brings 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, Capture the Flag and more. Each year the Medallion Hunt generates lots of excitement as the parks are searched high and low for the Bronze Maple Leaf. The finder wins a $500 prize from the Lookout Bar and Grill. Racing events abound with the Rice Lake Classic, Kids Fun Run and 40 Winks Foundation Bed Race by the Maple Grove Rotary.
The Maple Grove Ambassador Scholarship Program will crown three new ambassadors at coronation Friday night at Maple Grove Senior High School. Following the coronation the celebration heads to the Osseo Legion for Gala in the Grove as the community welcomes the new ambassadors, alumnae and friends and supporters of this scholarship program.
The Business Expo has been held in the Maple Grove Community Center since 2003, during that time it has seen an increase in growth of both exhibitors and visitors, from 80 to over 130 booths and attendance was more than 8,000 last year. This includes the perfect location to take a break and enjoy a piece of pie or a cool refreshing root beer float in Jan’s Sweet Shoppe. Stop by the children’s room for games, story time and crafts by Step by Step and a Novel Place. There are some items to check out just down the hall at the Showcase Silent Auction. The auction items are a collection of donations by local businesses and organizations, as well as items from around the metro area.
The festival offers over 40 different activities for all visitors to enjoy. At the Community Center, new to the fun this year is the Home Depot’s little builders booth, or stuff a teddy bear at Noah’s Critters. Check out the fun photo op at the FlashPortrait’s crazy photo booth. Children can get their face painted, get a crazy do at Fantastic Sam’s Crazy Hair booth or run from game to game and be energized with carnival rides, fun fair food and hands-on activities like the petting zoo or climb through the indoor maze. Sample treats and food from various vendors and eat all of that corn on the cob at the Maple Grove Lions booth.
Some special events are offered outside the community center area, including the Weaver Lake Fishing Clinic and Intro to Geocaching at Weaver Lake Elementary.
Nothing says community more than a Farmers Market or a Sidewalk Sale. Pick up a “Button of Savings” at the community center for extra shopping savings.
The Maple Grove Days Art Fair is located on Main Street. Maple Grove Arts Center and MGCO will host this event. Take time to check out the learning opportunities for the young artist present by Maple Grove Arts Center volunteers on the plaza by 3 Squares.
If people enjoy learning about the history of Maple Grove include a stop at the Pierre Bottineau Open House located at Elm Creek Park Reserve on Saturday or include a stop to the Maple Grove Historical Preservation Society’s new Museum located at 9030 Forestview Lane. Learn about the growth of Maple Grove, see a 1930 kitchen, look at pictures of the past. Open house will be Sunday, July 14, from 1 to 5 p.m.
Last year over 800 people visited the beautifully landscaped gardens offered on the Garden Tour. Learn about new gardening techniques, hardscapes, water features and so much more. Tours are Sunday only, July 14, from 1 to 5 p.m.
A very important addition to the festival the last few years was the placement of the offsite parking and free shuttle buses at the Maple Grove Transit Station. With assistance from the City of Maple Grove, an efficient route provides riders the opportunity to disembark at four locations: the Transit Station, Main Street/Arbor Lake Parkway, community center on Vinewood Lane and Main Street/Lakeview Drive. The shuttle will be available from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Fireworks are a huge draw for Maple Grove Days. People gather early Saturday evening and take their “spot” on the hillsides flanking West Arbor Lake. Be sure to adhere to the 500 foot fall zone for safe seating. Spectators can listen to BOB106.1 as the music features the sights and sounds of the fireworks.
Finally, Maple Grove Days is far bigger than what could be described here. Visit the website at www.maplegrovedays.org or check out the Osseo-Maple Grove Press, Maple Grove Days Edition, for more information and join us this year at any or all of the events offered during the festival.