Rails to Trails is slated for July 29-30 in Watertown. (File photo)

Rails to Trails – Watertown’s premier summer festival – is back this year with some familiar offerings on tap for local funseekers.

Rails to Trails kicks off the annual festivities next week with the Golden Spike contest. The Golden Spike is hidden on public property somewhere within the city limits of Watertown.

Clues will be posted each day on the Rails to Trails website, Facebook page, and Instagram at 9 am each day beginning on Monday, July 26. New this year: the use of metal detectors is strictly prohibited and will result in disqualification. If you find the Golden Spike, call City Hall at (952) 955-2681 to make arrangements for verification.

The person who finds the Golden Spike will receive a $200 cash prize sponsored by the Watertown Lions Club.

On Thursday, the weekend festivities begin with a family movie night before the plethora of events slated for Friday and Saturday.

The Gary Burke Golf Tournament is also returning this year. This year’s event will be held at Timber Creek Golf Course in Watertown on Friday July 30. Register online at To be pandemic safe, there will be tee times from 10 a.m. -3 p.m. to avoid large groups congregating. It will still be a Scramble format. The cost per golfer is $85.00. Entry includes 18 holes of championship golf, use of practice facility with complimentary range balls, golf carts, one mulligan per player and complimentary dinner at the Rails to Trails Festival.

To register, please visit, or email You can contact Sue at 612-269-3571 with any questions. Once you’ve registered please call Timber Creek Golf Course at 952-955-3600 and ask for John to schedule your tee time. The tournament has sold out in the past so register soon. To pay by check please mail a check written to Gary Burke Golf Tournament and send to Sue Burke at 761 Somerwood Ln, Waconia, MN 55387. For more information, visit GaryBurkeGolf on Facebook or

The Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual duck race in the Crow River again this year, river conditions and weather permitting, following the Grand Parade.

While the Grand Parade is slated to make it’s way through Watertown at 11 a.m. on Saturday, the duck race will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 31. If the river level is low, the race will take place on the Crow River by the dam at Rick Johnson Park. If the water level is higher, then the race will be held between the Luce Line Trail bridge and the boardwalk next to City Center Park. Festival-goers are encouraged to come and watch!

Duck Race prizes are $200 for first place, $100 for second place, and $50 for third place. Prizes will be awarded as CHAMBER CHECK$, the Chamber’s gift certificate. CHAMBER CHECK$ are redeemable at all Watertown Area Chamber member businesses and are available for purchase at the service counter at Marketplace Foods. Ducks are on sale now, while supplies last!

Ducks can be purchased at Watertown Pharmacy, Watertown Subway, R&B Café and Marketplace Foods. You do not need to be present to win. Odds of winning depend on the number of Duck Tickets sold. Odds of winning will not be less than 1 in 1900. Winners will be notified by Wednesday, August 4, 2021.

Proceeds help fund community events such as the National Night Out, Educator’s Appreciation Dinner, Downtown Trick-or-Treat, and Easter Eggstravaganza.

Also slated for the day on Saturday is Watertown Rumble In Car Show. The Rumble In Car Show will be in the same location as past years: Watertown Community Center parking lot at 309 Lewis Avenue South in Watertown on Saturday, July 31 from 10 a.m - 2p.m. For more information on the car show, contact Chris Zwilling at or call/text (952) 476-7333.

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