Firefighters take reins for Stagecoach Days

Wyoming’s expanded celebration debuts Friday

 

Clint Riese
News Editor

Wyoming’s annual celebration in recent years has essentially been a one-day affair. Not anymore.

Three full days of community goodwill are in the works for Stagecoach Days this weekend.

The festival, which will run Friday through Sunday, is now in the willing hands of the Wyoming Fire Relief Association. The WFRA stepped up to the plate this year to host the event. Previously, the city of Wyoming was devoting time and money to it.

The new arrangement solves two dilemmas, said Stagecoach Days coordinator and fireman Jason Van Tassel: It frees the city from the responsibility and provides a fundraising mechanism for WFRA.

“We needed a venue (to raise money), this is already existing, and we have the manpower to help run this,” he said. “It seemed like a win-win for us and the community.”

WFRA’s purpose is to contribute to a retirement fund for the Wyoming Fire Department’s members, who volunteer most of their services. The association also gives back to the community through efforts like CPR classes and safety demonstrations.

Van Tassel took the reins for Stagecoach Days 2013 only four months ago, so he did not want to rock the boat too much too soon, he said. However, he hopes to further grow the celebration in coming years.

Festival schedule

The festival in recent years has included one or two Friday night activities. This year, vendors will open Friday noon and activities downtown will be in high gear by the end of the school day.

The Wyoming Area Creative Arts Community will kick off a three-day activity, “Kids Can be Artists, Too,” from 2-6 p.m. The local art-lovers will help children create original paintings using a palette of paint, an easel and a stretched canvas. Another session will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and the resulting art will be displayed starting Sunday noon. Judging and the awarding of prizes will be at 2 p.m. that day.

A movie in Goodview Park is another option for children Friday. “Wreck-It Ralph” will begin at dusk, sponsored by the Miller-Stevens law firm. A disc jockey, sponsored by Kicks N Flips Swim School, will play children’s tunes from 6 p.m. until the movie starts.

Adults can visit the beer garden at The Cornerstone from 6 p.m. to midnight. The alternative rock band “Simpson Road” will take the stage at 8 p.m. and play until midnight.

Early-risers on Saturday can take part in Maranatha’s Road Race, a 5K, half-marathon and fun run for children. Registration opens at 6 a.m. at the church, 24799 Forest Blvd. The half-marathon begins at 8 a.m. with the 5K following 30 minutes later. The fun run will be at 10 a.m. Find more information at www.maranathasroadrace.com.

The rock band Uncle Chunk will perform at Stagecoach Days Saturday night. (Photo submitted)

The rock band Uncle Chunk will perform at Stagecoach Days Saturday night. (Photo submitted)

Race finishers can refuel with free booya, pie and coffee starting at 11 a.m. at Wyoming United Methodist Church, 5459 E. Viking Blvd. Mayor Eric Peterson, Public Safety Director Paul Hoppe and Fire Chief J.J. Hastings will serve as celebrity judges for the pie-baking contest, which also starts at 11 a.m. A pie-eating contest follows at noon.

An old-fashioned car show from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. features no awards or entry fees, just muscular machines  on display. It will be held on East Viking Boulevard between Fenwick and Forli avenues.

The beer garden opens at noon Saturday to line up with a performance by singer-songwriter Marty Sonnek that will go until 4 p.m. The beer garden will be open until midnight.

Saturday night’s main downtown attraction is a performance by Uncle Chunk, a Twin Cities-based alternative rock group. The show will run from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Also at 8 p.m., a fireworks show will launch in Goodview Park.

Stagecoach Days will wrap up Sunday. Besides the art show and judging, a large petting zoo will visit downtown. Also, churches will host various activities, Van Tassel said.

The hunt for the hidden stagecoach is underway.

The hunt for the hidden stagecoach is underway.

Treasure hunt

The celebration’s treasure hunt started Monday. The finder of the stagecoach statue will receive $250 if they already owned a Stagecoach Days button. The stagecoach will be worth $100 if the finder does not have a button. Purchase buttons at The Cornerstone and Stars and Strikes Entertainment Center.

Daily clues are being posted at www.wyomingstagecoachdays.com and www.wyomingmn.org.

Monday’s clue: “Once near the center of all that was to be, today not forgotten as kids flock to me.”

Tuesday’s clue: “A lake I cannot see, but the water nearby is envious for me.”

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