Minnesota Now with Cathy Wurzer

Summer festival spotlight: Farmington Dew Days

People on the bed of a truck for a pardde
This year is the 45th anniversary of the Farmington Dew Days Festival. Each year features a parade.
Courtesy Kristie Kerr

This summer, Minnesota Now is featuring small town festivals across the state. We’re kicking it off with Farmington Dew Days.

Saturday marks the 45th year of the celebration. While the celebration isn’t completely focused on Mountain Dew these days, the celebration still tips its hat to its origin story.

Kristie Kerr, the committee chair for the festival joined the show to talk about it.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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Audio transcript

SPEAKER: Programming is supported by the University of Minnesota Foundation. University research helps to protect 10,000 of Minnesota's most precious assets, our lakes. More at give.umn.edu/mpr.

CATHY WURZER: Well, this show appears to have a theme today. It is festival time. This summer, Minnesota Now is going to be featuring small town festivals across the state. Why? Well, they're fun. That's why. We're kicking it off today with Farmington Dew Days. That's D-E-W.

This weekend will be the 45th year of the celebration. And yeah, the name does have something to do with the soft drink, Mountain Dew. Joining us right now is Kristie Kerr. She's the committee chair for this year's event. Hey, Kristie. Welcome.

KRISTIE KERR: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

CATHY WURZER: I love Diet Mountain Dew. So how did the festival--


How did the festival get the name Dew Days?

KRISTIE KERR: Yeah, well, it's a pretty unique story. In 1979, the Mountain Dew Company reached out to Farmington and let them know that Farmington residents drank more Mountain Dew per capita than any other city in the entire country.


KRISTIE KERR: Yes, so we apparently loved Mountain Dew here in Farmington. And so they reached out and wanted to have a-- sponsor a city festival. And so they became the sponsor. And it was Mountain Dew Days for a number of years and the Mountain Dew logo and everything there.

So as time went on, the sponsorship went away. But we kept part of the name at least. The Mountain part went away. And so now we're just dew days. So that's the history of how Mountain Dew Days and now Dew Days started in Farmington.

CATHY WURZER: I had no idea. No idea.

KRISTIE KERR: I didn't either.


CATHY WURZER: OK. So beyond maybe sipping a few Mountain Dews during the course of the festival, what else do you all do?

KRISTIE KERR: We have some really fun traditions that have been around for many, many, many years. So one of our favorite things that we have that I think is unique is we have bed races on Friday night.

I, again, don't know when it started. But we have old hospital beds. And we have teams from the community that come and race the beds up and down our downtown street. And we have prizes for that. So that's our kickoff event on Friday night that's unique to Farmington Dew Days.

But then on top of that, we have food trucks. And we have events for kids, lots of different things that happen throughout the week or the weekend. We have an artisan market where local vendors from around Farmington come and sell things. And it really is just a celebration of highlighting all of the amazing organizations and small businesses that are a part of Farmington.

Farmington is a unique community because we still-- we're a suburb. We've grown a lot. But it still has managed to retain its small town feel. So we really lean into that side of our community during Dew Days and get to show off all of the amazing things that make Farmington unique.

CATHY WURZER: Well, there are still some pretty decent firms in your area. Do you celebrate agriculture during this festival?

KRISTIE KERR: Yeah. So on Saturday especially, we're highlighting the agricultural side of Farmington. So we have a tractor drive and a tractor show that's going to be going around town sponsored by the future farmers of America alumni from our area.

And then our current FFA students are going to be hosting a petting zoo during the day. We have a kids tractor pull that's happening in the afternoon that kids can do. And then we're wrapping up the day on Saturday by having a good old-fashioned country street hoedown.

So right in the downtown area, we've got a live band. We've got a mechanical bull. We've got pony rides. So we're celebrating the amazing history of Farmington's agricultural community and their continued backbone, really, of this community.

CATHY WURZER: Have a beer, and then ride the bull.

KRISTIE KERR: Ride the bull.

CATHY WURZER: I bet you probably have a parade. I'm betting--


CATHY WURZER: Yes, good for you.

KRISTIE KERR: Yes, so our parade is Sunday. We start off at the Dakota County Fairgrounds and head through, again, through the downtown area. So the parade is on Sunday the 23rd, another big highlight where the community steps in and we get to celebrate all the great things about Farmington.

CATHY WURZER: I know you've been busy putting this whole thing together, of course. And I'm sure you've participated in past due days celebrations. What's your favorite thing to do or favorite food to eat? What are you looking forward to?

KRISTIE KERR: Oh, goodness. We have a rib cook-off. And so a lot of the locals come and they bring their best rib recipes. So you can't miss by that. So you can purchase tasting tickets and walk around and try all of their different things. That's pretty fun.

And then another one of my favorite events is called Kiss the Pig. Again, sounds so crazy. But it's been going on forever. We have a phenomenal senior center called the Rambling River Center in Farmington. And every year, the Rambling River Center, this is their big fundraiser.

So people donate to a certain person in Farmington. There's usually five candidates. And over the last couple of months, people are giving money to who they think should kiss the pig. So we have the ugliest big pig you've ever seen named Betty. And the winner, whoever has raised the most money to go towards our senior center, gets to or has to kiss the pig. I'm not sure which it is. But that's always a highlight as well.

CATHY WURZER: All right. Well, we wish you well, Kristie. Have a wonderful time. Thank you.

KRISTIE KERR: Wonderful. Thank you so much.

CATHY WURZER: Kristie Kerr is the Committee Chair of Farmington's Dew Days, which will be held this Thursday through Sunday.


1249 here on Minnesota Now. Glad you're with us. I'm Cathy Wurzer. You've probably heard of the Bush Fellows, right? The 2024 Bush Fellows have been announced. Each year, this is a program that recognizes people who are making a difference in their communities in Minnesota, the Dakotas, and 23 tribal nations in the region.

The Fellows receive up to $100,000 to learn and expand on their work. The work of this year's cohort includes art and food, housing, racial justice, and more. Many are focused on health care and healing like Mari Avaloz.

She's currently Director of Upward Bound, a program that prepares low income students for higher education at St. Olaf College. And she's putting the fellowship money toward a vision of getting Latino families better access to cancer care. I'm so happy that Mari's on the line. Congratulations.

MARI AVALOZ: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.

CATHY WURZER: What did you say when you were told you were a Bush Fellow? Because the process is rigorous.

MARI AVALOZ: It is. This was--

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