NORTH MANKATO — This year’s Fun Days is an historic event.
Though North Mankato’s annual summer celebration is entering its 53rd year, the city is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year, prompting a few changes to the normal schedule in honor of its past and its future.
Fun Days doesn’t technically begin until Wednesday, but residents have the chance to celebrate early with a historic tour of lower North Mankato Tuesday afternoon. Walking tours begin at 2 p.m., while a double-decker bus tour is set to start at 4, 5 and 6 p.m. from the North Mankato City Hall at 1001 Belgrade Ave.
The biggest new event to start at Fun Days proper is the inaugural Miss Fun Days Coronation.
Organizers are planning for up to 15 female teens will compete for $500 in scholarship funds and the chance to represent North Mankato at city events and festivals or parades in other communities.
Contestants will perform talents as part of the coronation, which is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Wheeler Park. The newly crowned Miss Fun Days will reign over the festival, ride through the North Mankato Fun Days Parade and attend events throughout the year as a goodwill ambassador for the city.
Wednesday also marks the Fun Days Family Night, where residents can enjoy the annual carnival, bingo and food concessions. Thursday is Carnival Night, where participants can use all the rides for $20. Fun Days opens at 4 p.m. both days.
Things kick into high gear Friday as Fun Days opens at 1 p.m., with a special needs carnival taking place at 11 a.m. Bingo opens at 11 a.m. The celebrity horseshoe tournament starts up at 7 p.m. Friday, with the championship tournament set for 9 a.m. Saturday.
Also Saturday is the popular bean bag tournament, which begins at 1 p.m. at the Band Stand.
The annual Fun Days parade will start at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Pancakes in the Park will serve up fun starting at 10 a.m. Sunday and run until 1 p.m. Also at 10 a.m. is the car & motorcycle show and petting zoo.
The Mankato Baltics amateur baseball team will host Fun Days Fests at 2 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.
The Bandstand will host live music starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Neon Live will play Thursday, Powerhouse will rock the festival Friday and the Blue Ringers will close the show Saturday.
Fun Days ends with fireworks this year, starting at 10 p.m. Sunday.
For more information on this year’s festivities, go online at northmankatofundays.com.