Although this year’s Hopkins Raspberry Festival is altered due to COVID-19, its mission to connect the community continues.

Last year, the festival’s organizing committee discussed its mission of providing a space for people to gather and connect.

Lou Jean Gleason, the festival’s executive director, likened this connection to when the raspberry growers would bring the community together as they brought their harvest into town.

This year, the idea of connection looks a little different. The committee was tasked with finding an alternative format for people to still find a way to connect without the crowds and public gatherings long associated with the festival events.

Typically a nine-day event, much of which is in downtown Hopkins, this year’s festival will be mainly virtual from Wednesday through Sunday, July 15-19, with limited and modified events.

This year’s parade, for example, will be shortened as “the parade comes to you.”

The committee is encouraging backyard gatherings and having households register online to have the parade stop by their neighborhood on Sunday, July 19. The parade will include this year’s Grand Marshal Amy Saldanha, police and fire vehicles, Berry Berry and the Hopkins Royalty. Of course, there will be candy.

The event will also include an online fireworks montage starting at 10 p.m. Saturday, July 18.

“Just like Central Park – minus the mosquitoes,” Gleason said.

Another way to bring the community together is through a Sign the Banner event 3-7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, July 15-17, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 18-19, outside the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

Community members can sign the banner while social distancing.

“We’re hoping once it’s done we can give it to City Hall to display it,” Gleason said.

Added to the festival events this year will be street/chalk art at the Artery.

The Hopkins Historical Society will also provide a virtual tour for those who haven’t seen the “Raspberries & Parades” exhibit. The society will also host an online history lesson, where people can submit their stories related to Hopkins history. More on this at hopkinshistory.org.

Behind the button

Alan Schutte, a Hopkins resident and owner of Platt Hollow Road, a graphic design business in Hopkins, has been designing the button for six years.

Schutte shares his inspiration for this year’s Raspberry Festival button design.

What inspired this year’s design?

The Raspberry Festival has a great board of directors and they had a vision already in the works even before I came on board as a member last summer: the idea of the festival as a catalyst for connecting our community.

From a design standpoint, once you know what you’re trying to communicate, working out the actual design becomes the fun part for me. Plus, it always has to include at least one raspberry. It is the Raspberry Festival after all.

If and how did the design’s meaning change with the event’s COVID restrictions?

Actually, the pandemic was responsible for the creative you see. The plan was to take a year to work out connecting the creative into a bigger message. But with the pandemic, I think the opinion of everyone involved was that this year was the time.

What do you enjoy most about the design process and having a creative hand in the festival’s logo year after year?

I always think of graphic design as problem-solving and that’s the part of the process I enjoy the most. I’m a huge fan of Hopkins and the Raspberry Festival so I’ve always considered it an honor and privilege to design the festival creative. The board has always been great to work with and the festival is always so much fun. Being part of an experience like that is always enjoyable.

To purchase a button

The commemorative buttons will be available for purchase for $5 at participating businesses, along with a virtual button that can be purchased online. The committee will donate $1 of each button sale to the ICA Food Shelf.

For more information about this year’s festival, including how to register for the parade, visit raspberrycapital.com.

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Kristen Miller is the community editor for the Sun Sailor, covering the communities of Plymouth, Hopkins and Minnetonka. Email story ideas to kristen.miller@apgecm.com

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