The Blaine Festival returns to Aquatore Park June 27-30 to commemorate 50 years of celebration.
The festival was originally the city’s Fourth of July celebration, first held July 4-6, 1969.
The Blaine Jaycees organized a three day festival at Aquatore Park that included games for kids, a softball tournament, a street dance, a fireworks show and a parade, and at the Anoka County Airport an adult could take a plane ride for $2 or a helicopter ride for $3. There were also productions of William Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” and “Romeo and Juliet.”
“This year’s Fourth of July celebration is the community’s first effort at a community-wide celebration,” said Mayor M.E. Ramsdell’s proclamation in the July 4, 1969, edition of the Blaine Life, which is now the Blaine/Spring Lake Park Life. “I encourage all of the public minded groups who have helped organize and implement this type of community project to continue their good efforts and I would like to encourage all citizens of our fair community to participate in this effort ... Lets (sic) all have a great time, and I encourage all of you citizens to stay home and enjoy our local festivities.”
Although there was a Fourth of July parade, hosted by the Centennial Jaycees, that went through a portion of southeast Blaine in 1969, the first official Blaine Fourth of July parade wasn’t until 1970.
The Fourth of July celebration was later renamed to Blaine’s Blazin’ 4th.
“The Fourth of July celebration was created to give back to the community, and that’s what the Blaine Festival continues to do,” said Blaine Festival operations director Tim Duevel.
In 2012 Blaine’s Blazin’ 4th was renamed the Blaine Festival because the event rarely occurred on the Fourth of July due to a lack of volunteers during the holiday, Duevel said.
This year the Blaine Festival will host a four day grand celebration in Aquatore Park in honor of the event’s 50th anniversary.
The 2019 Blaine Festival will also be dedicated to longtime volunteer committee member Jim Ristine, 74, died of cancer Dec. 6, 2018.
Many of events and activities at the Blaine Festival are free, including all live music events at the Big Top Tent. Food, drink, carnival rides and games and vendor purchases are available for a fee.
The Blaine Festival kicks off at 5 p.m., Thursday, June 27, with a ribbon cutting ceremony honoring the 50th anniversary followed by 50 cent carnival rises, food and concessions, street dancing and live music.
The medallion hunt will take place June 28-30. Clues will be posted at twitter.com/BlaineParksMN.
The official opening of the Blaine Festival is at 5 p.m., Friday, June 28, with a flag raising featuring the Sgt. John Rice VFW Color Guard, Blaine High School Band and Choir and the Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Department. The ceremony will be followed by words from local officials.
The Blaine Festival parade will start at noon Saturday, June 29. Due to road construction the parade route was moved. It will start at the intersection of Paul Parkway and Oak Park Boulevard. The route will move southwest down Oak Park Boulevard and then will turn left to go south on Jefferson Street Northeast and end at the intersection of Jefferson and 113th Avenue Northeast.
The city of Blaine will host a fireworks show at 10 p.m., Saturday, June 29, at the National Sports Center, 1700 105th Ave. NE, Blaine.
“We work towards creating family friendly events,” the festival’s marketing and fundraising director Kat Smithe said. “There is something for everybody at the Blaine Festival.”
“You get to see and experience so many unique things at the festival,” Duevel added. “It’s a very fun event for the city. If you haven’t been to the Blaine Festival yet, be sure to come on out!”
Due to ongoing construction of a new Mary Ann Young Senior Center, parking is limited at Aquatore Park, located at 9191 Lincoln St. NE, Blaine.
Free off-site parking and a shuttle service will be offered at Westwood Middle School, 711 91st Ave. NE, Blaine. Buses will run every 15 minutes.
For more information, visit blainefestival.org.