Rose Fest 2019

Rose Fest runs Friday through Sunday this year in Kenyon. Along with a slate of returning events, new features this year include a community band performance, petting zoo and pop-up museum. (Anne Kopas/The Kenyon Leader)

The big white banner strung across Second Street can only mean one thing in Kenyon: Rose Fest is coming.

Kenyon’s annual celebration of the Boulevard of Roses kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday afternoon, with events throughout town all three days.

This year, the organizers brought back many of the event’s tried-and-true activities, said committee member Missy Sviggum.

“We’ve stuck with some of the things that seem to work. We tried to put more focus on things for the youth,” she said.

Ongoing events include citywide garage sales around town, along with a book sale in City Hall on Friday and Saturday. Veterans Memorial Park will also host the Field of Flags all weekend, remembering veterans who have died.


Friday afternoon brings a golf tournament supporting the K-W Knights Booster Club. Starting at 4 p.m., the VFW holds a hog roast, with bingo soon after. After dinner, stop in at the Gunderson House for a wine and beer tasting.

For the little ones, there’s a Friday Fun Night at the pool and nearby park, expanded from previous years. Kids can check out fire trucks and police cars (and meet the people who drive them). The pool party features several large bouncy castles and other inflatables — and new this year, a dunk tank.

The Kenyon Fire Department continues the tradition of setting up the Challenge Course, a kid-friendly obstacle course ending in a slip-and-slide down the hill.

For the adults, there’s a street dance outside the Muni featuring Kenyon-founded band Mountain Ash.


Saturday is Rose Fest’s busy day. Events start bright and early with a 5K and car show. The morning also includes a tractor pull (there’s also a kids’ version later) and model airplane demo. Stop by the Held Bus Garage for a vendor and craft market.

Returning this year is the road rally, where teams follow a series of clues to complete a course, competing for a cash prize. It’s a scavenger hunt with an added challenge: teams are judged based on both time and mileage, giving an advantage to the team with the fewest wrong turns.

Around midday, kids can head to Depot Park for more inflatables fun and a second chance at the dunk tank, along with Rose Fest’s first-ever petting zoo.

“From 10 to 3, there’s always something for kids to do in town,” said Heather Kerr, committee member.

That afternoon, the Gunderson House will offer its first ever pop-up museum. Anyone with artifacts, photos or memorabilia of days gone by — from Kenyon or otherwise — is invited to set up a show-and-tell type display, no expertise needed.

“It’s a way of getting people familiar with the history of Kenyon, especially for newer members of our community,” said Kevin Anderson, event organizer.

The day’s events pause for the grand parade at 4 p.m., featuring the K-W marching band and local floats. The parade also includes twice as many Shriner units as previous years, thanks to the family connections of Grand Marshals Heidi and Harris Haugen, who’ve been involved with the Shriners for three generations.

To finish out the evening, Wanamingo-based country band Lost Highway performs at an all-ages street dance featuring another local group, The Dads, as openers.

“It’s neat that we’re able to put on that much music and have those ties to the community,” said Sviggum.


Events wind down on Sunday with a performance by the Zumbrota Community Band (also new this year) and a closing ceremony for the Field of Flags, presented by the VFW and Kenyon Color Guard.

Reach Reporter Anne Kopas at 507-333-3148. Follow her on Twitter @NFNanne.

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