The organizers of Boxelder Bug Days in Minneota take the phrase "something for everyone" very seriously. The plans for this weekend are jam-packed with events for everyone in the family, from kid-friendly activities like laser tag, to city traditions and even opportunities to revisit history.
Learning and sharing memories are a big part of several of this weekend's events and attractions. Charlie and Royal Hettling, the founders of the Vietnam Memorial Center in Minneota, are hoping that visitors will take advantage of the center's special hours on Saturday and Sunday.
"(Boxelder Bug Days) is one of the major activities for us," Royal Hettling said.
While memorials to Minneota servicemen who died during the Vietnam War still have a central place in the Memorial Center, Charlie Hettling has added several new displays. A wall-sized timeline and photo display shows the chronological history of the war, with space for community members to share some of their own photographs.
"We wanted to do something so that these people will not be forgotten," Royal Hettling said. In addition to the history of the war, other displays focus on the lives of Vietnamese people Charlie Hettling spoke with on trips to the country.
"It's stories of how people survived," Royal Hettling said. One story, illustrated in carvings, showed how one girl escaped from Viet Cong soldiers.
Local history will also be spotlighted during Boxelder Bug Days events. Author Scott Thoma will be reading from his book "Out of the Blue," which chronicles the 1968 Tracy tornado, and Clair Eckley will be present to talk about Icelandic heritage.
Of course, fun and entertainment are also two huge parts of Boxelder Bug Days.
"We always try to find something new and different," said Terri Myhre, one of the Boxelder Bug Days planners. "We have the kiddie parade and inflatables for the younger kids, and we have a beanbag tournament that's open to all ages."
This year, some of the new attractions include a zip line and laser tag.
"The zip line is 210 feet long. It should be fun," Myhre said
There should also be plenty to draw in music lovers throughout the weekend. Kayla Daniels, a capella group The Limestones, and Sheltered Reality will all be performing over the weekend. Bug Days will also include two street dances on Friday and Saturday night, featuring "The Other DJ" and BlackWater Band, respectively.
Bug Days traditions like the annual chili cookoff, the grand parade on Sunday afternoon, and the Boxelder Bug Days Queen coronation are also returning. This year, six local teens will be showing their poise and personality in hopes of representing Minneota as royalty.
"The girls are getting excited," said coronation organizer Joy Buysse. Buysse said taking part in the competition includes being present during festival events on Saturday, and being prepared for challenges like a public speaking question. "They work hard."
The coronation program will be at 7:30 Saturday night.
5:30-7 p.m. Community picnic at Minneota Health Care Center
7 p.m. Minneota football game vs. Lac Qui Parle Valley
9 p.m.-1 a.m. Kick-off Dance behind Bubba's Bar, featuring "The Other DJ"
6 a.m. 16th annual chili cookoff begins at Bubba's Bar side lot
7:45 a.m. Registration begins for 5K/10K run/walk and kiddie run
9 a.m. American Legion bingo tent
9 a.m. Golf tournament at the Countryside Golf Course
9 a.m.-2 p.m. FFA petting zoo
9 a.m.-2 p.m. Silver Spur Saddle Club fun show at the Minneota Arena
9 a.m.-3 p.m. Craft show and Boxelder Bug Market
9 a.m.-3 p.m. Barbecues and dessert at the Minneota Senior Center
9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friends of the Library huge $6 sale at the Big Store
10 a.m. Garden tractor pull in Memorial Park alley
10 a.m. Grade 5 and 6 football at KP Kompelien Field
10 a.m. Vietnam Memorial Center opens
10:30 a.m. Kiddie parade, registration starts at 10.
10:30 a.m. Beanbag tournament in Community Center parking lot. Registration starts at 10.
11 a.m. Chili cookoff judging
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Pork sandwiches from Minneota Dollars for Scholars
11:30 a.m. Boxelder bug races
11:30 a.m. Chili cookoff tasting
Noon-4 p.m. Clair Eckley and Scott Thoma at the Community Center
Noon-6 p.m. Inflatables on Jefferson Street
Noon-5 p.m. Zip line and laser tag
12:30 p.m. Sheltered Reality performance
1:30 p.m. Route 68 performance
2:30 p.m. Kids' pedal pull on Jefferson Street. Registration begins at 2.
2:30 p.m. The Limestones performance
3 p.m. Scott Thoma reading from "Out of the Blue" at the Community Center
3:30 p.m. Kayla Daniels performance
4:30 p.m. Sheltered Reality performance
5:30 p.m. Tug the Bug event on Highway 68. Registration begins at 5.
6 p.m. Emily Hoffmann and Reba Meyer
6:30 p.m. The Limestones performance
7:30 p.m. Queen coronation
8:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Street dance featuring BlackWater Band
8-11 a.m. Firemen's pancake breakfast at the fire hall
10 a.m. Community worship service
11 a.m. Vietnam Memorial Center opens
11 a.m. Hope Lutheran confirmation Whopper feed
11 a.m. Friends of the Library pie social
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friends of the Library huge $6 sale at the Big Store
11:30 a.m. Kayla Daniels performance
1 p.m. Grand parade
2 p.m. Kayla Daniels performance
2:30 p.m. Golf ball roll
3 p.m. Minnesota Xtreme Bull Riding at the Minneota Building Materials Arena