by Dennis Dalman
Sartell SummerFest 2018 lacked sunshine, but it brimmed with fun for thousands of people, including many-out-of-towners who gathered to enjoy the 28th annual event.
It began with the Liberty Parade and its nearly 80 units, including eight marching bands that wowed the long lines of spectators. The parade also featured a surprise guest – Joyce (Yozamp) McCann, now in her 80s, who was the Sartell Winter Haven Queen of 1951.
During the entire parade, the overcast sky dripped down rain, but it was a slow and sparse dripping – more moist than soggy-wet – and no one seemed to mind. In fact, some said they were happy about the weather, remarking how nice it was to watch the parade without sweating and squinting under a hot sun.
One of the spectators was a young boy, about 3 years old, named Oliver and his parents who sat in folding chairs on Seventh Street N. next to Riverside Plaza. Across the street was a toddler who kept crying loudly, standing next to his older brother who was holding a bag of popcorn.
“That little boy is certainly not happy about something,” said Oliver’s mother.
“I know why he’s crying,” Oliver said. “It’s because he doesn’t have any teeth to eat that popcorn.”
Nearby spectators, overhearing Oliver’s remark, grinned and laughed with delight.
After the parade, there were historical guided trolley rides from city hall and a one-day historical exhibit in the city-hall lobby. There was also a bike-safety rodeo for children, a street dance and fireworks.
For the first time, the family-fun Libertyville party took place on the grounds of the new Sartell Community Center, which made for an ideal location. On part of the parking lot were row after row of picnic tables at which people munched food and socialized. Long lines of people waited to receive free hot dogs, chips and soda pop. About 1,500 hot dogs were served. On the north side of the parking lot were 10 fun booths for children – games like Wheel of Fortune, face-painting, and a man who made balloon animals and gave them to the children.
On the grassy lot next to Lake Francis were the ever popular assemblage of inflatables where giggling children, squealing with delight, climbed the bouncing structures and slid down to their waiting parents.
Throughout the day and night of SummerFest 2018, a good time was had by all.
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.