You’ve probably seen the signs up around town: Woodbury Days is right around the corner.
Patch recently sat down with organizers Theresa and Jeff Janechek to get the scoop on the annual community festival, which is celebrating its 33rd year in 2011.
The event runs from Aug. 26-28 at Ojibway Park.
The Woodbury Days Council—comprised of about 25 volunteers—organizes the three-day event. Members average 5-7 years of experience on the body.
The majority of the people who attend Woodbury Days come from the city, though promotions and advertising are aimed at contiguous municipalities.
“People view it as kind of the end-of-the-year party,” Theresa said, noting that many families plan their annual reunions around Woodbury Days.
Likewise, the businesses involved are almost all based in Woodbury and include a wide range of services.
About 35,000 people attend the festival over three days last year.
The city has two staffers on the Woodbury Days Council and several sponsors help support the event.
“It’s a family-friendly community event,” Theresa said. “And we really put the emphasis on community.”
Organizers secure sponsors for many of the activities, and promote the businesses as the event draws near. “It’s a win-win for everybody,” Theresa said.
Nonprofits help with cleanup and other businesses help spruce up Ojibway Park beforehand. Nonprofits also handle many of the “fair foods” available at Woodbury Days.
“They’ll do the cheese curds,” Theresa said.
The Woodbury Days button is the main fundraising mechanism for the festival and provides discounts and deals in the days leading up to the event.
One new aspect of this year’s event is the Woodbury Days Challenge, which asks teams of four to go around the park answering Woodbury trivia questions or doing sit-ups or other physical or mental activities.
The festival runs Aug. 28-28.
Sunday starts with the Woodbury Country Mile and the parade steps off at 1 p.m. (Patch will do commentating during the parade and Patch editor Kris Janisch will be a parade judge.)
One post-event function of note: the coronation of the Little Miss/Miss Woodbury at 7 p.m. Monday at Woodbury Lutheran Church.
The event has been held at Ojibway Park for several years, but it originated as a fire muster at a smaller Woodbury park, Theresa said.
“It kind of started out as a picnic,” she said. “Obviously, the event has grown with the community.”
Planners a few years ago secured a loan to get permanent electricity at Ojibway Park, which negated the need for generators. “That’s really helped a lot,” Jeff said.
There are no any plans to move Woodbury Days to another venue.
“It’s really worked,” Theresa said. “We don’t need or necessarily want to be bigger—we just try to keep it high quality.”
Theresa wasn’t sure why the annual festival began, but said it’s nice to see the community come together.
People come to Woodbury Days, “because they can entertain their family in a fun and safe way for a relatively small amount of money,” she said.
Those who can get overwhelmed with the scope of the Minnesota State Fair often come to Woodbury Days for similar events and activities. And it’s surprising what people enjoy most: Theresa said one woman told her that her child most enjoys the business fair.
“It’s a nice way to finish off the year before the school season starts again,” Theresa said.
The Wednesday after each Woodbury Days, planners get together to go over what worked and what didn’t.
They continue to meet monthly, except sometimes December, to organize the next year’s event. In July and August they meet weekly. It takes a lot of work.
“Really, it’s all those 25 council members—and anyone they can recruit from their family,” Theresa said. “How we get things done is we really have each other’s backs.”
The city helps facilitate the event and organizers work with businesses to keep costs down for attendees. All money raised goes back into the festival.
“By partnering with these businesses, we can get so much more done,” Theresa said.
About 200 volunteers keep things running smoothly once the festival is underway.
“We couldn’t do it without the volunteers,” Theresa said.
What’s Theresa’s favorite part of Woodbury Days?
“Still the fireworks,” she said.
Added Jeff: “That’s the part of the event where you get tingles down your spine.”
The fireworks—put on by the same company that does them for Target Field—come when the festival is starting to wrap up.
“Then you get to sit back and take it all in,” Theresa said