Dancing, tourneys are part of a busy River City Days weekend
RED WING — Thousands are expected to visit Red Wing this weekend for River City Days, the city's annual summer celebration. The festivities will begin and end with two favorites, each slightly tweaked for this year.
Dancing With the Goodhue County Stars has become a popular event. This year, Mayor Dennis Egan and Nebraska baseball recruit Pat Kelly are among the nine celebrity dancers paired with members of Fusion Dance Studio. The American Red Cross fundraiser has been added to the River City Days schedule this year and will help kick off the four-day celebration at 7 p.m. today.
The other change is more significant. After 28 years of crowning a queen and two princesses at the Miss Red Wing pageant, the volunteer committee decided to embrace a statewide push to simply embrace the three finalists as royal ambassadors for the city.
In many ways, it's only a change in semantics, according to Andrea Hanson, chairwoman of the freshly minted Red Wing Royal Ambassador Committee. The three girls have traveled together to events throughout the state and received the same $1,500 college scholarship. Hanson said the titles will now better match the duties.
"We have always treated them equally, but the community has always thought the queen was higher," she said.
The seven candidates, which is the smallest contingent ever, will be at River City Days events before coming together Sunday night for the coronation at 7 p.m. at Red Wing High School.
Music, as always, will be a big draw. Bands and musicians will perform on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The karaoke competition is typically a big draw on Saturday.
The 3-on-3 basketball tournament has nearly tripled in size since its inception in 2009, with 59 teams in grades 4-12 from throughout the region taking part.
At least three new events have been added. A disc golf tournament will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, and a Violence Awareness Walk is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. The inaugural pancake flipping contest is scheduled to begin 9 a.m. Sunday at the Red Wing Airport, with the finals expected to commence at 11:30 a.m.
"Oh, my goodness, we have been so busy all week," said Patty Brown, president of the Red Wing Chamber of Commerce. "Just at the Chamber, we have had over 200 people come in already. It's just wild. It's a huge boost to our tourism."
A list of events can be found at www.rivercitydays.org .