Both new and traditional events will be featured at Monona Hay Days

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The kiddie tractor pull is one of many kid’s activities at Monona Hay Days, which will be held this Friday and Saturday, June 9 and 10. The event expanded from one to two days this year and will also include a parade, live music, car/truck show, tractor pull, hay bale toss, food and beer tent and many prize baskets. (Times-Register file photo)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

 

Hay Days, Monona’s annual summertime celebration, returns this weekend. With the addition of live music Friday night, June 9—the Rush Cleveland Trio is playing from 8 p.m. to midnight at Center Street Bar n’ Grill—the event expands from one to two days this year.

 

“We liked the idea of expanding into Friday. And in the past, Friday was a part of Hay Days. It was all weekend long,” said Hay Days committee chair Teresa Graham. “We’re bringing the band in to see if it’s going to work.”

 

Saturday, June 10 will then have a full slate of both traditional and new activities.

 

First up is the 5K color run sponsored by the MFL MarMac Dollars for Scholars. Registration is from 7 to 8 a.m. at the city park, with the race to follow.

 

From 7 to 10 a.m., head to the Monona Community Center to enjoy a pancake breakfast in support of the Monona Butterfly Garden and Trails.

 

The popular Hay Days parade will start at noon, proceeding down South Main Street, then turning at North Street. Graham said a highlight will be the Shriners, the lovable motorized clowns, who are sponsored by Dan DeSotel. Prizes will be awarded to the floats best decorated with hay.

 

Following the parade, festivities will move downtown. An opening ceremony will feature the national anthem sung by Legacy Show Choir, an introduction of parade honorees and a performance by the MFL MarMac Dance Team.

 

Other afternoon activities include a classic car/truck show, tractor show and tractor pull. There will also be bingo, a demonstration with Clayton County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matt Moser and K-9 Rexo, live music from the Buck Hollow Band and a performance by the Star Power Dance Team.

 

Veterans Memorial Hospital will perform blood sugar and blood pressure checks and offer a program called Be the Match, where people ages 18 to 40 can register to be a donor.

 

Graham said the beanbag tournament will return after a two-year hiatus and new this year will be a euchre tournament.

 

“That’s at 2 p.m. at the community center. We encourage you to have a partner, and it’s a payout of 50/50,” she explained.

 

Also new this year: a hay bale throwing contest. Sponsored by Croell, the event will start at 4 p.m. at center stage, with categories for men 15 to 49 years of age, women and then seniors 50 and over. There is a small registration fee and a payout of 75 percent, according to Graham. Participants are encouraged to pre-register to guarantee a T-shirt.

 

Graham is excited to bring another hay-centered event to Hay Days.

 

“The hay bale toss is a unique and challenging sport that requires coordination, skill, strength and technique. There is a technique to doing it,” she said.

 

Hay Days features countless activities for kids, including a money machine, face painting, ring toss, duck pond and fast food dream game.  

 

“We have some new games. Win that Cupcake is like a paddle wheel game. The cupcakes are made by Treats by Taylor from McGregor,” Graham said. 

 

The Euro bungee jump will return as well as a sanctioned kiddie tractor pull.

 

According to Graham, visitors should also come to Hay Days hungry.

 

“We have a lot of food choices. The pork chop on a stick is coming back, fish, brisket this year, cheese curds, breaded mushrooms and hamburgers, hot dogs and brats. The booster club is going to help us out with that. And of course the famous Spring Grove Pop,” she shared.

 

At 6 p.m., the prize basket drawing will be held downtown. Participants must be present to win any of the more than 60 baskets. Photos and descriptions are currently available on the Monona Hay Days Facebook page.

 

“The more you eat, the more you drink, the more you play, the more tickets you are going to get to win one of these baskets,” Graham said. “Fisk’s Farm and Home has donated another kayak, and we also have a youth kayak that we’re giving away.”

 

Hay Days will conclude Saturday night with a street dance and live music. Andy Koester and the Skunk River Band will play from 7 to 11 p.m.

 

Graham said a big focus of the committee this year has been making Hay Days events accessible to all. Handicap parking has been revised and will include space in the upper part of NAPA’s lot, directly in back of FreedomBank and at the lower end of West Center Street. 

 

“Some people would come, but they say, ‘You don’t have any parking that’s closer.’ We’re trying to get the parking closer,” she stated.

 

Graham credited a lengthy list of donors for making Hay Days successful. The event committee, which includes seven core members, is also key. Hay Days planning started as soon as last year’s event wrapped up, and has been a large focus since January.

 

“I’ve got some great helpers. But we always need new blood, new ideas, and we welcome that,” Graham said.

 

With everyone working together, the result is a fun event for the whole community. 

 

“We encourage everyone to come out and see us, and we think it’s going to be a great time,” she said. “I get a lot of positive feedback, and that feedback is the momentum to push forward.”

 

Find more Hay Days info on the Monona Hay Days Facebook page.

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