People come from near and far to participate in the summertime activities that White Bear Lake has to offer. The charming downtown area attracts visitors from around the Twin Cities area. On Thursday evenings June through August, the downtown streets of the city teem with activity as folks enjoy Marketfest, sponsored by MainStreet, Inc. Visitors, munching homemade doughnuts and hearty burgers, wander from the farmer's market and petting zoo to arts and crafts booths, while street musicians fill the air with lively song. Marketfest has become one of the highlights of the warm summer months for White Bear folks as well as the many tourists who visit the area. The success of this event is that it fosters a hometown sense of family and community.
Aside from the weekly revelry of Marketfest, the area is also a stage for many local and national celebrations. On Memorial Day weekend, the American Legion and VFW sponsors a Memorial Day parade and ceremony to honor our veterans.
The streets are alive with excitement again the third weekend in June as Manitou Days festivities take place. One of the area's oldest celebrations, this popular event is sponsored by the White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce. Of course, it wouldn't be possible without the help of numerous volunteers who dedicate their time to help orchestrate many of the activities, which include a Grand Parade through downtown White Bear Lake. Local companies also sponsor activities such as the children's button contest, bed races, sporting tournaments, and an art festival.
Surrounding towns share their hometown pride in a variety of other festivals that take place throughout the summer. Carnivals and rodeos come to town during Hugo's Good Neighbor Days, which is held the first weekend in June. Sponsored by the Hugo Lions Club, the festival kicks off the summer with riding cowboys, bingo, raffles, live music, rides and concessions.
Just when the dog days of summer are starting to drag, Vadnais Heights Lions Club and the Park and Recreation department liven things up with a party to celebrate the town's past. Heritage Days begins with a children's parade on Friday evening, and continues to entertain guests with a kiddie carnival, petting zoo, beer garden, bingo, pageants, and sports tournaments. On Sunday, the festival comes to a fantastic finish as the Heritage Days parade, complete with floats and marching bands, takes over the streets of Vadnais Heights.
Pumpkins, plain and painted, take center stage at Pumpkinmania held during the second weekend of October in Mahtomedi. Sponsored by the Wildwood Lions Club and the Kramer-Berg American Legion Post, the event keeps visitors amused with a petting zoo, hayrides, face painting, a flea market, bake sale, and a menu of brats, hot dogs and chili.
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