by Peter Bodley
Four events this weekend kick off the 48th annual Coon Rapids Snowflake Days celebration.
Click here to view the schedule for the Coon Rapids Snowflake Days
While the official start of the 2012 Snowflake Days, which runs through Saturday, Feb. 11, is tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 28), one of the events begins this evening (Friday, Jan. 27).
And that’s a new Snowflake Days event – the inaugural Mayor’s Cup simulator golf tournament at the new Bunker Hills Clubhouse.
A field of 24, two-person teams will play an 18-hole scramble format at the four new state-of-art golf simulators which are located in the clubhouse with the top eight teams advancing to a nine-hole final round starting at 5 p.m. tomorrow evening.
Prizes include Bunker Hills gift cards, merchandise and rounds of golf.
“We quite excited about our new golf event this year,” said Diane Buszta, Coon Rapids Snowflake Association president.
“In 2014, Snowflake Days celebrates its 50th anniversary so we were hoping to add one or two new events over the next two years leading up to the anniversary.”
Coon Rapids Mayor Tim Howe and Tim Anderson, golf director at the Bunker Hills course, thought that highlighting the new facilities at Bunker Hills with the simulated golf tournament would be a great new addition, according to Buszta.
Events tomorrow (Jan. 28) start with the annual kids’ medallion hunt for children ages five to 10 at Al Flynn Park.
This year the event will also feature tours of Fire Station 1 on Egret Boulevard.
No parking is available at the fire station, so participants should park at Al Flynn Park near the playground equipment, then walk the trail to the fire station on Egret.
After the noon tour of the fire station, medallion hunters will walk back to the park for the two medallion hunts, the first for girls at 1 p.m. and the second for boys at 1:30 p.m.
Sponsored by Coon Rapids Professional Firefighters Local 1935, the winner of each group will receive a $100 gift card from Erik’s Bike Shop.
The children’s medallion hunt has undergone another change for this year’s celebration, according to Buszta.
The Coon Rapids Professional Firefighters Local 1935 wanted to become more involved in the celebration and stepped up to host this year’s hunt for the kids, Buszta said.
“Not only will the children be able to participate in the hunt for medallions and opportunity to win a $100 gift card to Erik’s Bike Shop, they will have the opportunity to spend time at Fire Station 1 with the firefighters touring the facility and checking out all the trucks and equipment, have some hot chocolate and then go look for the medallions,” Buszta said.
“Hiding the medallions this year will be a bit more challenging with the lack of snow so we’ll have to be pretty creative in looking for those secret spots at Al Flynn Park.”
Two Snowflake Days events will take place late tomorrow afternoon and evening (Jan. 28) at Church of the Epiphany.
Epiphany Knights of Columbus will host its annual chili and hot dog feed in the church cafeteria from 4 to 8 p.m. with all proceeds going to local foodshelves.
There is no charge, but a freewill donation will be taken. Each person is also asked to bring at least one non-perishable food item for the food shelf.
The menu includes chili, corn bread, hot dogs (plain and with chili) and salad.
“We are thrilled that the Epiphany Church KCs are back with their chili feed again this year,” Buszta said.
From 6 to 9 p.m. in the Epiphany School gymnasium, there will be a sock hop community dance, free of charge.
Miss Coon Rapids Megan Ehlert along with 2011 Junior Royalty and 2012 Junior Royalty contestants will be at the dance.
In addition, The ABC Newspapers/Anoka County Shopper will have a presence at the event with Mr. Potato Head, Buzz and Woody from “Toy Story” fame making appearances.
Children can have their photos taken with them and these will be published on the ABC Newspapers website (www.abcsnewspapers.com).
As well, children’s activity books will be handed out by ABC Newspapers/Anoka Shopper representatives.
“We are bringing back the sock hop,” Buszta said. “It’s been a number of years since we’ve had this event.
“After listening to feedback from the community we decided it was time to have a fun ‘family oriented’ event that young and old alike could come to and enjoy themselves for a few hours.
“We’ve paired the event up with the KC’s chili feed so families can come out for a great chili meal and then stop by and kick up their heels to some fun ‘50s and ‘60s music.”
During the week, there will be seniors only events hosted by Coon Rapids Senior Services at the Coon Rapids Civic Center Jan. 31, Feb. 1 and Feb. 2.
Snowflake Fest is scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 31, starting at 10:30 a.m., followed by Snowflake bingo Wednesday, Feb. 1, also starting at 10:30 a.m. and a dinner show featuring Coda (Scott Dorff and Malcolm Anderson) in concert at 11 a.m. followed by a noon meal.
Saturday, Feb. 4 is pageant day in the Coon Rapids High School auditorium.
The Junior Royalty Pageant is at 1 p.m. and will include a silent auction. Tickets are $8.
The Miss Coon Rapids Scholarship Pageant begins at 6 p.m. and there will also be a silent auction of special baskets provided by each contestant.
The pageant winner represents Coon Rapids at the Miss Minnesota Scholarship Pageant, which takes place in June and is a qualifier for the Miss America Scholarship Pageant.
Tickets are $15 main floor reserved or $9 balcony.
The next morning, Sunday, Feb. 5 from 8 a.m. to noon, the Coon Rapids North Star Lions Club will serve an all-you-can-eat Belgian waffle breakfast at the Coon Rapids VFW.
New for the waffle breakfast this year, the Snowflake Association will be donating the ticket proceeds to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) program at the high school, according to Buszta.
The 2012 Snowflake Days celebration ends Saturday, Feb. 11 with the annual children’s carnival at Epiphany School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hosted by the families of newly-crowned 2012 Coon Rapids Junior Royalty, the event will feature face painting, disc jockey, magic show, concessions, carnival games and prizes.
Coon Rapids Snowflake Days began in 1964 as a Coon Rapids Jaycees project.
According to the Coon Rapids Snowflake Days website, it was conceived of the notion that the city of Coon Rapids needed a civic celebration in which the entire community could participate.
All of the neighboring communities had summer celebrations so Coon Rapids thought it would try something in the winter so as not to compete with its neighbors, the website states.
By 1968, the celebration had grown enough to require broader sponsorship and the Coon Rapids Snowflake Association was created.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]