Great weather, new events forecast for 2018 Hay Days

Preparing for Hay Days 2018.

MONONA — New events and comfortable weather are forecast for Friday and Saturday as the 2018 edition of Hay Days takes to the streets of Monona.

Monona Chamber and Economic Development Director Rogeta Halvorson, who helped organize this year’s festival along with a committee that included several new faces, said this is an exciting year for a festival that is in its fourth year since being revived.

“We believe it’s really going to grow,” Halvorson said. “We changed the date this year and I think it’s going to be huge. Even if you had only 25 children that showed their stuff over at the (Big 4) Fair, that’s a family of four. That’s 100 people right there.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people and they’re happy (with the new date),” she said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

The biggest new events to this year’s festival are a new afternoon band performance as well as a tractor pull that is being sponsored by Freedom Bank of Monona.

Registration for the tractor pull, which will be held on Egbert Street, starts at 12:30 p.m. with the pull starting at 1. Free music will be provided by Smoking Gun Showdown, which will take the stage at 2 p.m. and will play until 5 p.m.

Also new this year is a trivia booth that will feature cash prizes and a professional face painter, both of whom will be located in the main festival area. Good time karaoke is also new, and will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. outside of MJ’s Bar and Grill.

Several annual Hay Days favorites have also been expanded or modified to bring even more fun to the event. Organizers of the Hay Days Parade will be picking the top three floats, with awards presented prior to the parade. “For the parade this year the theme is ‘All Trails Lead to Monona,’ and the way we came up with that is, Monona in the old day, the 19th century, was established at the junction of two military roads,” Halvorson said. “And also the scenic byways close by it – great motorcycle trails, bicycle trails, and also the butterfly trail that they’re building all around Monona.”

Those attending the event are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs, as available seating downtown will be limited. 

The award winners will be announced to the public during an expanded opening ceremony that will feature the annual Quilts of Valor ceremony as well as presentation of colors and introduction of the parade’s grand marshal, king and queen.

“You’re going to love the grand marshal,” Halvorson said. “You are just going to adore this person who’s had a lot of challenges in life and is overcoming them. It’s very inspiring.”

The king and queen are well known in the community as former local business owners. 

“They’re hard-working, good community people,” Halvorson said.

More prizes are also available to those who come to the festival. When you play games or purchase food, you receive tickets that can be placed in buckets that correspond with prize packages. This year no fewer than 24 prize packages will be awarded at 5 p.m. You must be present to win prizes.

“That’s kind of neat that everyone has a much bigger chance to win something this year,” Halvorson said.

Many favorite games are returning this year, including the bounce house and money machine. The number of food vendors will double from three a year ago to six this year.

“I think this is going to be the best (Hay Days) so far, and that’s how it should happen,” Halvorson said. 

Early weather forecasts for the weekend are encouraging, with temperatures expected in the low 80s and only a slight chance of rain.

 

For a full list of events check out the Wednesday, June 6, 2018 edition of The Outlook!