Govenaires return to Fun Days, crowds of hundreds gather for parade

·2 min read

Jul. 9—For their 95th anniversary season, the St. Peter-based Govenaires Drum and Bugle Corps decided to include some local events to their schedule this summer. One being the North Mankato Fun Days Parade that took place Saturday.

Due to a combination of the pandemic and unfortunate scheduling, the corps hasn't participated in the Fun Days Parade since approximately 2016. But after being flooded with requests to return to the event, Govenaires co-director Mike Hanzelka said he had to add it to their calendar.

"We're a group that mainly does field shows," he said. "But we're really excited to finally get back and do something near our hometown. Field shows are cool, but local events are what really matters."

The public seemed to agree as they cheered and clapped as the Govenaires marched by.

Abby Erickson, mom of 2, said her kids loved it. From his dad's lap, her youngest son waved to the Govenaires when he saw them coming.

"We're from out of town visiting a family friend for the weekend," the Rosemount native said. "We heard Fun Days was a good place to bring the kids and I'm glad we came early enough to catch the parade. It was really neat."

The annual parade consisted of about 90 floats from different businesses, nonprofits, religious organizations and about 9 bands this year.

As the floats drove by, candy was thrown into the crowd. Kids gladly accepted by running onto the road to retrieve as much as they could.

With as many participants and spectators Fun Days gets, committee member of the event and chairperson of the parade Jolinda Grabianowski said their main priority this year was safety.

"We've gone through every measure to ensure that we were going to have a really nice flowing parade," she said. "We wanted it to be fun for the spectators and fun for all of the people who are participating in the parade. We've done everything to make sure that it's a safe and family-friendly, fun event."

The rest of the annual summer celebration's Saturday consisted of a horseshoe tournament, a carnival, bingo, a bean bag tournament, a Mankato Baltics vintage base ball game and a live music performance by the Pop Rocks.