Inver Grove Heights Days 2019


Inver Grove Heights Days 2019 - A Special Section published by Lillie Suburban Newspapers
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Hold onto summer just a bit longer at Inver Grove Heights Days

Summer ain’t over ‘til it’s over, as they say, especially in Inver Grove Heights, where area residents can stretch out one last weekend of summertime fun thanks to Inver Grove Heights Days Sept. 5 through 8.

The festival has something for everyone, from Family Fun Night on Friday to fireworks over Simley Island on Saturday night to the “Explore Inver Grove Heights” event on Sunday, says Inver Grove Heights Days President Mickey Difronzo.

“IGH Days really gets the whole community to come together to celebrate our city,” Difronzo says. “We believe it is a great way to wind down from the first week of school, and allows our community to enjoy their summer weekends with all the typical Minnesota activities.”


Just the beginning

Kicking off the celebration this year is the return of the Inver Grove Heights Treasure Hunt, sponsored by Car and Credit Connection of South St. Paul. The first clue will appear on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 10 a.m. at on “The Hunt” page. 

Rules and clues will be posted online each day at 10 a.m. until the last clue is released on Friday, Sept. 6. More information about the treasure hunt can be found on the Hunt Page at

Many of the festival events require a 2019 Inver Grove Heights Days button for admission. Buttons cost $3 and are available at a number of area businesses. Other button benefits include reduced-price admission to the disc golf tournament and more, as well as entry into Sunday’s button drawing for prizes. 

Difronzo says the button is always designed by a local fourth- or fifth-grader — this year’s button was designed by Aleah Friese.

Friese’s design was selected because it represents activities throughout the weekend. Difronzo says her button has a message the committee felt encompassed important aspects of the weekend: family, fun and community.


Start it up

Kick off the festivities on Thursday, Sept. 5, with a party under the big tent at Drkula’s, 6170 Cahill Ave., sponsored by Dakota County Commissioner Joe Atkins. 

This is the 10th year of the kickoff event. Atkins says he started it because he felt there should be a big event to help get things going in a fun and free way. It also started by accident — he found out the tent at Drkula’s was delivered on a Wednesday. He got to talking and joking around about maybe getting a band and having a party. Next thing Atkins knew, he says, there was a kickoff event that has grown ever since.

“This is easily our biggest and best year,” Atkins says, thanking additional sponsors for 2019.

Music will be provided by Timothy Howe and the first 150 people to show up get a free burger and chips. There will be inexpensive burger combo meals on sale throughout the night plus free t-shirts while they last.

For people who can afford it, Atkins says they will be collecting non-perishable food donations during the event.

At 7 p.m., before the band takes the stage, Atkins says there will be moment to call attention and say thank you to local public safety, active duty military and veterans.


A night for the family

The weekend festivities continue with Community Family Fun Night from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6, at Oakwood Park.

“We’re just excited to continue with the family-friendly theme that the festival is known for,” Difronzo says.

Friday night includes carnival games, a giant slide, a bouncy house and an obstacle course. Plus, there’s always hot dogs, pizza and beverages available for purchase. 

Bingo anyone? Grab a card and play a few rounds at the bingo tent in the Village Square parking lot from 6 to 9 p.m., sponsored by Moose Lodge #1088. If Lady Luck isn’t on your side, don’t worry: The bingo tent will be open again Saturday and Sunday. 


Giving back

The do-not-miss event of Saturday, Sept. 7, is the Inver Grove Heights Days Grand Parade, starting at 11 a.m. and going from Cahill Avenue to 80th and Buckley Way. Marching bands, clowns, floats and more will fill the streets with fun, and mouths with candy. 

Difronzo says this year’s grand marshal selection will be kept underwraps.

“We are not announcing the selection, as the person we have chosen is someone who does not like to be recognized publically for all his efforts,”  Difronzo says.

Atkins, Mayor George Tourville and other volunteers will be pushing shopping carts down the parade route collecting non-perishable food, household items and school supplies for Neighbors Inc., a nonprofit social service agency that serves the northern Dakota County communities.

Atkins says the food drive started over 20 years ago, after he was at Kaposia Days and there wasn’t a lot of fondness for elected officials in the parade.

The following day, he ran into the director of Neighbors Inc., who told him summer was the toughest time of year for the food shelf. 

“Those two [things] melded in my mind and I thought, ‘Well, maybe there is a way to make elected officials useful in a parade for something other than just waving at people,’” Atkins says.

To date, the parade drive has collected 34,300 pounds of donations.

“It’s just such a credit to the generosity of people in Inver Grove,” he says.

That first year, organizers used Atkins’ pickup truck to transport all the donations, but they quickly realized they needed something bigger.

They’ve been getting help from Bester Brothers, who carry everything in a moving truck to Neighbors, Inc.

Atkins says his wife wouldn’t describe him as the most sensitive guy but the drive brings tears to his eyes every year.

“I’ve known folks who’ve benefited from the food shelf over the years, and when I think of the impact this has on real people in our community, real families and kids, it’s a huge deal,” he says. 


Fun for all

After the parade, play another few rounds of bingo from noon to 9 p.m. at the bingo tent, or stop in at Drkula’s 32 Bowl anytime throughout the day for a variety of activities, including volleyball and bean bag tournaments. 

Register for the tournaments at Drkula’s or contact Chris at 651-451-1717 or to secure a spot. Pre-register and pre-pay by Wednesday, Sept. 5, to guarantee a spot in the tournaments. 

The disc golf tournament gets going at 2 p.m. at North Valley Park. Two-person teams will compete for first- and second-place prizes in one of three age divisions. Registration is $5 per person, or free with an Inver Grove Heights Days button. Registration begins at 1:30 p.m.

If you’re looking for a bit of physical activity, join the Bike the Bridges bike ride. The five-mile ride, which starts at 3 p.m., takes participants from the Swing Bridge to the Wakota Bridge and back. Riders must wear helmets, and children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The first 100 riders get a free t-shirt. An IGH Days button is required for the bike ride.

At 3:30 p.m., the royalty coronation pays tribute to the outgoing Inver Grove Heights Royal Family and crowns the new royalty at the Simley Performing Arts Center. Doors open at 3 p.m. Admission is $6. 

Cap off the night with fireworks at 8:30 p.m. Stop by Drkula’s from 8 p.m. to midnight for the street dance with a performance by Bad Girlfriends. There’s a $10 cover, but it gets dropped to $7 with an IGH Days button. 




Explore the community

Sunday encourages people to get out-and-about in the city with the theme “Explore Inver Grove Heights.” Activities will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in parking lots of local businesses on Cahill Avenue between 65th and 70th Streets. 

Kids of all ages can enjoy free games and activities presented by IGH Parks and Recreation at the Kids Court near Bremer Bank, including face painting, pony rides, paintball, mini golf, a scavenger hunt, egg hunt and more. 

While “Explore Inver Grove Heights” happens every year, no two years are ever the same.

“Even though the event is the same, there are always different people there to talk to and visit with,” Difrozno says. 

Discover what the Inver Grove Heights business and civic community has to offer at the Community Expo. The event will showcase businesses and community organizations in the area.

Check out the annual Classic Car Show hosted by Medallions Car Club, or peruse all makes of vintage tractors and engines at the annual Antique Power Equipment Show.

If you still haven’t had your fill of cars, check out the fire trucks, police cars and other city vehicles on display at the Public Safety Display, where the Inver Grove Heights police and fire departments will also be conducting public safety demonstrations and answering questions.


But wait, there’s more!

There’s even more to explore with a blood drive with the Memorial Blood Center Mobile by EyeWorks Optical. Pre-register for the blood drive by calling 651-451-1100.

At noon, creatures of all kinds can compete in the annual Pet Contest at Bremer Bank. There will be prizes for best trick, best costume and best pet-and-owner look-a-like. 

While exploring Inver Grove Heights, don’t forget to catch a few last games of bingo from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Don’t leave the bingo tent before the last event of the weekend’s festivities. At 4 p.m. there’s the button drawing. Winners’ names will be posted on

While the heat may linger, the close of Inver Grove Heights Days marks the end of summer. But don’t worry, it will be back next year to celebrate all things Inver Grove Heights.

For more information about Inver Grove Heights Days, visit

Click here for more information on the many Inver Grove Heights Days activities!


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