Canadian Days 2018


Canadian Days 2018 - A Special Section published by Lillie Suburban Newspapers
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Canadian Days: Who are the real heroes?

This year’s Canadian Days theme is “Superhero Headquarters,” and there’s no doubt that plenty of well-known comic book and movie icons will show up at the weekend full of festivities, especially during the kiddie parade.

There’s little doubt, though, that the real heroes behind Canadian Days, now in its 42nd year, are the volunteers who selflessly make the festival go each year, this time from Thursday, Aug. 2 through Sunday, Aug. 5.

The community event has been volunteer-driven for all of its four decades.

Sue Nelson, Canadian Days treasurer, said she’s been involved for more than 25 years — she said she’d recently moved to Little Canada back when and just wanted to meet other people and volunteering sounded like a fun thing to.

She said she started out doing whatever she could to help out — cleaning up, manning a ticket booth — before taking on her current role. 

In all, Nelson said, some 20 people are on the Canadian Days volunteer committee at any given time, with folks coming and going as their time allows, with new faces swapping in.

“They’re committed to helping out,” Nelson said, pointing out too that plenty of other people volunteer time to making Canadian Days go, who aren’t an official part of the committee. 

“We have one member, Ray Hanson,” Nelson added. “He was one of the original members of Canadian Days. He occasionally comes to a meeting.”

That Hanson’s been involved since the inaugural festival in 1976 speaks volume’s to these heroes’ commitment.

As for this year and what the volunteers have put together, Nelson said the big news is the reworked entertainment.

The Bad Girlfriends are performing their crowd-pleasing combination of classic and current rock, country and pop music the night of Friday, Aug. 3, while an act with band members from Little Canada will be taking the stage the next evening.

Come Saturday afternoon, Six to Midnight will perform chart topping hits, beginning at 4 p.m., while Ben Johnson and the Road Beers, with its local musicians, will close out the night beginning at 7:30 p.m. — it’s the first time Canadian Days has had a straight-up country band, Nelson said.

While the bands might headline for adults, Nelson said a couple new kid-centric activities might occupy the young folk while their parents play Kittenball or they wait for the fireworks.

On Saturday there’ll be Cities Entertainment Karaoke for all ages from 1 to 3:30 p.m., while the Hooperina hula hoop extravaganza runs 1 to 4 p.m.

When asked if she’ll ever stop helping out with Canadian Days, Nelson said she’d feel incomplete if that ever happened. 

“It would be such a void if we stopped doing it!” she said.

Canadian Days 2018 highlights include:


Thursday, Aug. 2

• Head to the Spooner Park band shell for the Community Ice Cream Social 6 to 8 p.m., put on by the Little Canada Parks and Recreation Commission. There will be free custard and root beer, as well as fire trucks on display 6:30 to 7 p.m. and a magician 7 to 8 p.m.


Friday, Aug. 3

• Canadian Days festivities in Spooner Park, 351 Eli Road, begin at 5 p.m. All events are in Spooner Park unless otherwise noted.

• The 7 Cats Swing Band will perform 5 to 7 p.m.

• Get in on the annual Corn Feed, from 5 to 7 p.m., or until all the ears of corn are gone. Corn-lovers get a free ear of corn if they purchase a $3 Canadian Days 2018 button.

• There are lots of booths: Retailers will be open 5 to 7:30 p.m.; L.C.’s Playland goes 5 to 9 p.m.; the Stipe Shows Carnival is 5 to 11 p.m..; the beer garden, with pull tabs, is open 5 to 11:30 p.m.; and food vendors are open 5 to 11 p.m.

• Competitors can get in on the Little Canada Recreation Association Volleyball Tourney or the LCRA Bean Bag Tourney; both run 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. For more information head to

• Friday night’s music is courtesy of the Bad Girlfriends, performing from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.


Saturday, Aug. 4

• Get moving with the 5K Walk/Run, which departs from Pioneer Park on DeSoto Street at 8 a.m. Registration is at 7:30 a.m. and awards are at 9:45 a.m.

• The first musical act of the day is the Maple Street Ramblers, playing 8 to 9 a.m.

• Grab some free chow, once again, by showing off your Canadian Days button 8 to 10 a.m. at the Pancake Breakfast.

• A Canadian Days tradition since 1977, the Macgillivray Pipe Band performs 9 to 9:30 a.m.

• Backpacks for Kids is 8 a.m. to noon — it’s a program run by Roseville Area Schools that benefits kids in need at Little Canada Elementary School. Bring new school supplies to donate, including backpacks, wide-ruled notebooks, folders, pencils, pens, markers, glue and scissors.

• Just for kids from 9 a.m. to noon, there’s face painting and balloon animals. The best part is the fun is free!

• The LCRA Kittenball Tourney is 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Go to for more information.

• Check out some beautiful old rides at the Classic Car Show, which runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with car awards given out at 3:30 p.m.

• The Kiddie Parade is 11 to 11:30 a.m., with sign-up at 10:30 a.m. There are prizes for the best costumes and food coupons/prizes for the first 100 entrants. You can pre-register online at

• Play some all-ages bingo — it’s going 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. with registration at 11 a.m.

• Booths open at 11 a.m.: L.C.’s Playland is open until 9 p.m. with an afternoon intermission from 1 to 5 p.m.; the Stipe Shows Carnival runs until 11 p.m.; food vendors go until 11 p.m.; the beer garden serves until 11:30 p.m.

• Cities Entertainment Karaoke runs from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

• Go see Owen’s Animals from 1 to 4 p.m. It’s great for the kids.

• The Hooperina hula hoop extravaganza runs from 1 to 4 p.m.

• The Gervais Lake Boat Parade shoves off at 4 p.m. — check it out from Gervais Lake Park, 2520 Edgerton St.

• Music: Six to Midnight will play 4 to 6 p.m. and Ben Johnson and the Road Beers take the stage 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.

• Saturday ends with a BANG! — fireworks are at 10 p.m.


Sunday, Aug. 5

• The LCRA Kittenball Tourney runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• The Canadian Days Parade sets off at noon from Saxon Lanes, 61 Little Canada Road, and heads to Spooner Park. It’s a trip of about a mile east down Little Canada Road then north on Centerville Road.

• Many booths open at 11 a.m., including food vendors, which are open until 5 p.m., and the Stipe Shows Carnival, which runs until 5 p.m. The beer garden runs 12 to 5 p.m. Retail booths are open 12 to 4 p.m.

• Bring out the kids for the Petting Zoo, which features llamas, yaks, camels and more, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.

• L.C.’s Playland is open 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

• Awards: both the medallion hunt reward and the button prize drawings are at 3 p.m.

• Music: Rubber Soul, playing The Beatles covers, performs 2 to 4:30 p.m.


A hero’s welcome to the parade

The Canadian Days volunteers aren’t the only superheroes who make the annual festival go. This year, the parade’s grand marshal is someone who represented her country heroically.

U.S women’s hockey Olympic gold medalist Lee Stecklein, a former Roseville Area High School Raider and University of Minnesota Golden Gopher, will be the guest of honor at the Canadian Days Parade on Sunday, Aug 5.

Stecklein, who is set to start her pro hockey career with the Minnesota Whitecaps of the National Women’s Hockey League, brought home a gold medal from this year’s winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Asked by festival organizers who her favorite superhero is, Stecklein said it was Captain America, though the hockey star said her mother is the real-life hero.

“My mom raised me well,” said Stecklein. “She is such a strong woman and incredibly athletic.”

Per organizers, this will be Stecklein’s first time attending Canadian Days, though the 24-year-old is no stranger to summer festivals in the north suburbs — in June she was grand marshal of Roseville’s Rose Parade.


Good luck hunting: Medallion details

The Canadian Days medallion will be hidden somewhere on Little Canada city property where it is accessible to all — that means no climbing, digging or chopping will be necessary to find it. As the Canadian Days committee reminds folks, “You may search and enjoy, but do not destroy the natural beauty of Little Canada.”

One other thing: The medallion won’t be hidden in Spooner Park.

The first clue in the medallion hunt will be posted Monday, July 30, at 8 a.m. on the main entrance to Little Canada City Center, 515 Little Canada Road, and at North Heights Hardware Hank, 2920 Rice St. The clue will also be posted on Clues will continue to be posted through Saturday, Aug. 4, or until the medallion is found.

The medallion prize will be awarded Sunday, Aug. 5 at 3 p.m. at Spooner Park — you must be there to collect the prize.

Register your $3 Canadian Days button prior to July 30 to win the $250 medallion prize; buttons registered after that date are eligible for $125. You must purchase a button to win either prize.


Get your buttons!

Little Canada Mayor John Keis, LC, the Canadian Days mascot, and members of the festival’s planning committee headed to Little Canada Elementary School on March 20 to congratulate second-grader Nina Faulkner on her winning design of this year’s Canadian Days button.

The annual button design contest is open to students in kindergarten through eighth grade and some 70 entries came in from kids at Little Canada Elementary, St. John the Evangelist School and Children’s Discovery Academy of Learning, depicting this year’s festival theme, “Canadian Days-Superhero Headquarters.”

For her efforts, Faulkner won $100 and will ride on a float in the Canadian Days Parade on Sunday, Aug. 5.

You can support Canadian Days by purchasing your button for $3 at Little Canada City Center, as well as businesses Donut Hut, Gas-N-Go, Gordie’s Place, MN Catholic Credit Union, North Heights Hardware Hank and Ryan’s Automotive.

Click here for more information on the many Canadian Days activities!


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