NEW BRIGHTON STOCKYARD DAYS

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New Brighton is a century-old City that is truly young at heart! This can easily be seen in the enthusiasm shown by the community volunteers at New Brighton’s historic festival called Stockyard Days, held annually over the second weekend of August.

The festival began in 1981 as a way to recall the early days of New Brighton as a center for the cattle industry including the stockyards, railroads, fashionable hotels and meatpacking plants. Initially promoted by New Brighton Historical Society and local Jaycees, the festival volunteers eventually incorporated as Stockyard days, Inc., and wrote bylaws requiring representation by all the volunteer service organizations in New Brighton. The event was riding on the coat tails of New Brighton’s 4th of July Celebration which involved games, food, and fireworks but lacked the special theme that community festival need to focus on.

Stockyard Days’ main attraction for several years was the arrival of the MN Transportation Museum’s Steam Locomotive #328. New Brighton and her 22,000 residents could enjoy rides on the restored steam engine, smell the diesel smoke, and hear the locomotive’s whistle for the three days of the annual festival. Gradually, as insurance costs made bringing the steam engine into town financially prohibitive, Stockyard Days’ theme evolved to emphasize “cowpunchers” and Stockyard Days took on a western look.

Today, Stockyard Days is a eight day event held throughout New Brighton. Area merchants, businesses, and hundreds of volunteers participate in concerts, tournaments, a parade, street dances, a carnival, live entertainment, food sampling, fireworks, the finish line of the Antique Car Run, a car show, and the Miss New Brighton & Junior Ambassador coronation. A medallion hunt is held. Thousands of commemorative buttons are sold. Prizes are raffled off. Goodwill Ambassadors are selected, and happy memories of times spent with family and friend are taken away.