Just as the city of Woodbury has blossomed over the past 30 years, so too has the city's premier event, Woodbury Days, which is expected to draw as many as 35,000 people for food, fun and shopping next weekend.

The volunteer-run fest has been the setting for merchants and restaurateurs who ran booths and then, seeing success, decided to open up shop in the city, said Theresa Janechek, president of a volunteer council that plans the event.

"It helps bring all aspects of the community together," she said of Woodbury Days, which this year will include 160 vendors plus 22 food booths run by local restaurateurs and non-profit organizations.

A wide selection of events includes a classic and hotrod car show and bingo at Ojibway Park. The band G.B. Leighton will play Friday at the bandshell and on Saturday night, the Dweebs will play and fireworks will light up the skies. The Radio Disney Road Crew will entertain kids on Sunday.

The Woodbury Challenge will enable older kids and others to form teams for physical and mental challenges over two hours.

Involving local nonprofit organizations by hiring them to help put on the event feeds a small-town feel, Janechek said. The Rotary Club, for example, runs a popular beer tent that helps Rotarians fund good works in the city throughout the year, and a girl's figure skating team helps with the cleanup to earn money for their organization, she said.

The local Nordic ski team will help collect trash during the event, too, to raise funds, she added.

Businesses that opened local storefronts after building a following at Woodbury Days include Mainstream Boutique, near Tamarack Road and Bielenberg Drive, and Angels 2 Divas, the clothing store that hung out its shingle at Radio Drive and Valley Creek Road, she said.

Other offerings include the 3M Rod & Custom Car Club show at Ojibway Park from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday. There is no pre-registration for car owners, who can bring old and new cars to show and vie for awards, said Dick Raths, a 3M retiree who is helping to put on the free show.

"Typically we have in excess of 200 cars, and there are awards for different classes. You've got street road and classics and different years [of cars]," he said.

Car enthusiasts will likely see "brass" cars, Model A's and possibly model T Fords, along with restored beauties, street rods and even the peculiar-looking rat rods.

"A rat rod is a ratty-looking car that you put together with all different car parts," and are usually not painted or waxed, Raths said.

"It's a thing that started a few years back when guys took whatever parts they had in their yards and made a car out of it. Some of those people are really creative."

Surveys this year will help measure the economic effect for the city, as well as where the attendees come from, Janechek said. The highest percentage of fest-goers come from Woodbury, but they also come from surrounding cities of Maplewood, Stillwater, Cottage Grove, Afton and beyond, she said.

This year, firefighters are inviting people to a free demonstration in hands-only CPR at the band shell at Ojibway Park from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. Saturday.

A royal "family" will be crowned the Monday after Woodbury Days, and will serve until next August, representing the city as ambassadors at various functions.

The festival is a good bargain for families, Janachek said. Bands and the car show are free, as are many offerings, Janechek said.

Carnival ride passes can be purchased in advance, ranging from a $15 one-day pass that can be used during certain hours, to a $45 "megapass" that can be used anytime during the three-day festival, she said.

Joy Powell • 651-925-5038