10th anniversary of the Bend of the River Festival

July 2, 1986

The Bend of the River Festival was a weekslong celebration in the Mankato area for several years. On the 10th anniversary, there were some traditional elements and some new elements. Here are just a few:

Golf Tournament and Social at Minneopa Golf Club

BMX Bicycle Race

Radio-controlled model airplane demonstration by the Bald Eagle Club

Farmers’ Markets at Old Town Plaza and Madison East Center

Watercraft Parade on Lake Washington with prizes for most Patriotic, Prettiest, Most Humorous and Most Unusual

Buttons were available for $2 each and were good for discounts at several area merchants, plus prize drawings. A commemorative set was available for $5.

Capitol Days in St. Peter

July 3, 1964

St. Peter was to become the capital of the State of Minnesota until a scoundrel made off with the paperwork, and St. Paul won the honor and the Capitol building was built there. But St. Peter residents always have been proud of their “almost the home of the state Capitol” status. Capitol Days was celebrated for two days in 1964, culminating with a giant parade Sunday afternoon with 10,000 onlookers. A new Miss Capitol Days was crowned, and it was 17-year old Ann Martell. Ann was the daughter of the Martells who owned and operated the Holiday House just outside of St. Peter. She went on to attend Gustavus Adolphus College and then to marry John Denver, who wrote the hit song “Annie’s Song” for her.

The circus returns – at last

July 7, 1982

After a two-decade hiatus, the Carson and Barnes Circus visited LeS ueur, and on a Tuesday drew 4,000 people. There were elephants, lions and tigers (no bears, it was noted), plus a camel, a rhinoceros and a giraffe. There were giant snakes on display and performers of all sorts coaxing people out of their money. The show was set up in the Le Sueur airport for just one day. The day before the circus performed in Hutchinson and the day after in Faribault. The circus had a one-show-per town/day schedule for eight months of the year.

Sleepy Eye Jubilesta parade set

July 24, 1958

Long known for its musical units, the 1958 Jubilesta parade was set to offer the most ever. Corps were coming from all areas of Minnesota, plus Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Floats, clowns, saddle clubs and majorettes with the bands were scheduled to strut their stuff Sunday afternoon through the town, along with the Schell’s Hobo Band and other oompah bands. With a centennial theme, many queens representing area towns were expected to attend. And, of course, there was a midway with attractions from Merriam shows. The celebration was to start Friday night and end after the parade on Sunday.

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