If it takes a village to raise a good child, it takes a city to put on a good festival.
And that is exactly what Sauk Rapids did June 25-27 for its annual Sauk Rapids River Days. The three-day festival was an unqualified success because elements of the entire city were involved in one way or another: organizers, volunteers, sponsors, contributors, contestants, participants and spectators.
Some anthropologists study city festivals, and the conclusions of the studies are the most successful festivals reflect the spirit of the city where it takes place. If judging by that criterion, Sauk Rapids earned an A-plus on its chart for Rapids River Days. The festival involved all levels of society, all walks of life, with something for everyone to do and enjoy – residents and out-of-town visitors alike. There was the ambassador pageant at which all six contestants shone with poise, intelligence and talent. There was the Tanner 5k and 1k Walk/Run in memory of a young Sartell boy who died tragically of cancer. There was the fun-filled, stirring parade with so many colorful units and dazzling marching bands. And last but not least there was the Rapids River Food Fest, a smashing success that combined delicious foods from 25 vendors, kiddie playgrounds and inflatables, lots of socializing and live music from three bands. The weather for all four events was “made to order,” perfectly pleasant summer days, warm but not too hot, gentle breezes, plenty of shade – especially at the Food Fest where people clearly enjoyed themselves snacking, sauntering around in beautiful Municipal Park, chatting with one another and with total strangers, enjoying the music that wafted through the park, along with the aroma of so many kinds of foods being cooked.
Sauk Rapids-Rice Newsleader staff members attended one or more of the River Days events and reported the events were a lot of fun and all involved seemed to be having the grandest time.
The City of Sauk Rapids deserves kudos for putting on such a great festival. Those who come to enjoy those events have no idea how much time, effort and unpaid hard work goes into making them so special. Deserving credit are the city itself and its workers, the hard-working organizers and coordinators, the police, traffic guards, organizations like the Lions, generous sponsors, food vendors, event participants, the marching bands, the ingenious and fun creators of the parade units and scores of volunteers. Last but not least, those who attended and enjoyed the festival events helped make them the big successes they were.
Our hats off to Sauk Rapids River Days; we are eagerly anticipating another family-fun blast next June.