When: July 12, 3-9 p.m.
Tater Daze June 12-15
Tater Daze, now in its 50th year, harkens to the early days of Brooklyn Park. It was the potato that put the city on the map, says Diane Sannes, who is active with the Brooklyn Historical Society.
When the city was forming, potato farms were its main industry. Tater Daze gave farmers a chance to promote their business.
Sannes was a “Tater Spud,” or volunteer, at the 1968 festival. That year, though the city still had 18 potato growers, the area’s potato farms were already on the decline, and the landscape was changing, she said.
In its early years, the festival spanned eight days. Today, it’s only four, but there’s still plenty of action scheduled: baseball, bingo, live music including a Father’s Day Blues Fest, root beer float social, hot air balloon rides, movie screening, fireworks, carnival, talent show and Golden Spud Hunt — similar to St. Paul’s Winter Carnival medallion hunt.
A special fundraising effort is adding another layer, as well. Between now and the end of the festival, the city is trying to raise $75,000 for Brooklyn Avenues, a transitional housing project for homeless youth, said Mayor Jeff Lunde. The St. Paul-based Otto Bremer Foundation will match whatever the city raises up to that amount, said Lunde.
If the city reaches its goal by the festival’s last day, as a part of a game show-like “Couch Potato Challenge,” Lunde will perform 75 Stupid Human Trick-type feats — “within reason. I won’t break the law.”
Another project tied to the festival involves marching bands and the main parade. Last year, only the Park Center High School band marched in the parade, because of budgetary constraints, according to Denice Wojack, president of the Park Center Band Boosters. This year, the booster organization has been able to raise the more than $2,000 needed for the parade. Park Center will be joined by the Champlin Park and Osseo high school marching bands, and the group is trying to line up others, said Wojack, whose daughter is in the color guard in the Park Center band.
What: Tater Daze Festival
When: June 12-13, 5-11:30 p.m.; June 14, 7 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.; June 15, noon-5 p.m.
Where: 4701 Oak Grove Pkwy., Brooklyn Park
Information: www.brooklynpark.org/ tater-daze or call 763-493-8013.