Despite drastically reduced in-person Defeat of Jesse James Days events intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Northfielders still enjoyed a limited parade, food in Bridge Square and a cruise-in Saturday.
The community parade format was changed to include parts of the entire city to ensure social distancing. At 4 p.m. Saturday, the Sundowners Car Club hosted a Classic Car Cruise starting at Northfield High School and winding its way throughout the city. Immediately following the cruise, ducks were dropped into the river from the Fourth Street Bridge. The first three sold ducks were expected to have cash prizes. Also on Saturday, the “Great Minnesota Take Out” took place in Bridge Square, bringing consistent foot traffic. Those who attended ate at local food booths in Ames Park. Local restaurants were encouraged to offer specials or sidewalk service.
In most years, the Defeat of Jesse James Days brings at least 200,000 people to Northfield over the four-day celebration the weekend after Labor Day.
Also, organizers hosted an in-person vintage DJJD button sale at Northfield Historical Society. The Historical Society has collected a number of duplicate DJJD buttons over the years, so it offered extras to the public. Proceeds from the sale were expected to go toward improving the Historical Society’s collection.
The Northfield Historical Society bank site and museum was open all weekend with limited capacity.
Organizers didn’t initially think any activities could be in-person but later became aware of the possibility while following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.