Madelia moves Park Days downtown

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Main Street of Madelia was filled with artisan and craft vendors as part of their Park Days celebration. Due to recent rains the annual festival was moved out of the park and brought downtown.

MADELIA — Downtown Madelia was packed with crowds of people for 2018 Park Days.

The fun started with a 5K run/walk early morning. After the run, folks gathered on Main Street for the Rivers Edge Art & More Fair. Both sides of the street were filled with vendor tables selling a variety of craft works, but animal themed art was popular.

Rows of metal animal sculptures lined the sidewalk on Center Street near Sunshine Foods. Vendor Jose Quiroz said some of the sculptures came from Mexico, but others he made himself. The large metal catfish was the standout creation.

Along with a collection of metal signs, Bernadette Sterling was selling animal shaped grills. The pig and bull grills were made out of steel and the steam from the grill comes out the nose of the grill.

A block from Main Street near the Madelia Public Library, kids got into the fun with face painting, balloon animal and few lucky kids were able to meet Tinker Bell.

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Ileligh Lehman poses with Tinker Bell at the Kids Fun-Zone Carnival held near the Madelia Library. Lehman had a busy day. She later got her face painted like tiger and learned about balloon art.

For the adults, the Blues Festival was held next door in the American Legion parking lot. Audiences were listen music from Phil Kitze & the Resonators, Inside Straights Blue Band, Billy and the Bangers, Boom Boom Steve V and the Knockouts and Davy Knowles.

Unlike past Park Days celebrations, none of the events were held in Watona Park.

Madelia Chamber Board member Tim Flitter said the heavy rains this year had flooded Watona Park. There was talk about canceling the celebration this year, but Chamber Executive Kara Angus told the board southern Minnesota would be disappointed if Madelia cancelled the festivities because of a little water.

The board felt Madelia received so much support from the region following the downtown fire two years ago that they owned it to everyone to continue Park Days.

Overall the change went well. Flitter said a few roads were blocked to traffic, but everyone was adaptable. There was an advantage to relocating activities to the downtown area.

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt 3-year-old Aryana Roloff has fun competing in the kids tractor pedal pull event. Each kids who participated got a ribbon and soda for trying.

“When things were at the park, the Main Street businesses found downtown deserted,” Flitter said. “This brings visitor back to Main Street.”

Park Days always draws a large crowd. Many alumni from the Madelia High School return during the weekend for their summer vacation with family.

The highest turnout in Park Days history was in 2017. Flitter said they were seeing numbers comparable this year.

On Sunday, the Madelia Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the St. Mary’s School (223 1st St. NE).

A community worship service will be held at 10 a.m. Bethel Church (501 4th St. SW).