by AMELIA WEDEMEYER
It’s already mid-June, which means Winona’s annual Steamboat Days will be back starting Wednesday, June 17, and lasting until Monday, June 22. (Though, it should be noted that the annual car show will take place on Saturday, June 27).
“We do have a couple of new things this year,” said Steamboat Days President Christine Duellman. “One is our BMX bike show and we’re also doing the waterski show that we had set up last year.” At the 2014 Steamboat Days, the waterski show was cancelled due to water conditions and rain, but Duellman said that this year there will be a show, hopefully on the Mississippi River, but if not, it will be at East Lake Winona. “We’re going to do it on the river, so you can watch it at Levee Park on Saturday at 6 p.m.,” she added.
The BMX bike show is also planned for Levee Park, and will feature a group of bikers who will perform tricks for the crowd. “We’ve set up a course of fun tricks,” Duellman said. Also new this year, or at least not part of Steamboat Days in a long time, will be the Miss Winona Pageant. “Miss Winona is back and we’re going to hold it on Thursday night,” Duellman explained. “We’re actually one of the sponsors of Miss Winona, so it’s kind of nice having the event during Steamboat Days.”
As usual, Steamboat Days will bring a variety of music performances to the Beverage Garden. “I would say we’ve got a pretty good variety this year,” said Dave Pulk, who is in charge of the Beverage Tent entertainment. The nightly entertainment will kick off with the band Hairball on Wednesday. “They were here last year,” Pulk explained. “We had a fantastic group of people show up and they had a blast, so Hairball is coming back and doing it again.” Duellman, too, is a fan of the rock and roll band. “They are just a riot to watch,” she said. “They are so fun and they do a lot of costume changes.”
Another musical highlight includes the county band Georgia Clay, who will be making the trek from the Twin Cities to perform at Steamboat Days on Saturday night. “We haven’t done that in a long time,” Duellman noted, referring to the booking of a country music band. “I think we have quite the draw in Winona for it and it’s fun to listen to, especially in [our] atmosphere. We want people to come out and dance.”
Pulk enthused about the variety of music that will be offered at this year’s Beverage Tent, and said that this year’s lineup of bands was the most diversified yet. “Hairball plays rock and roll from the '70s and '80s, Johnny Holm plays a variety of stuff and Georgia Clay plays country,” he explained. “There will be oldies with The Executives and Rhino is a party hits band.”
Just like the musical offerings, the selection of entertainment and events to attend will be immense, with everything from several sports tournaments, a treasure hunt, and the craft and gift fair. “The big [event] for us is Sunday, which is the Grand Parade,” Duellman said. “We’re starting the parade half an hour earlier this year, so at 12:01 p.m., but we expect the parade to be just as fantastic again this year.”
“In my opinion, Steamboat Days is just a wonderful community event,” Duellmann explained. “There are so many different things to do. There is really something that appeals to everyone.”
For more information about this year’s Steamboat Days and a calendar of events, visit http://www.winonasteamboatdays.com/.