Paul Kavan

Dressed as Big Vic, Paul Kavan hands out candy to people of all ages during the Ranier Daze parade.

In need of something to do next weekend? Join the community in celebrating Ranier Daze Aug. 10.

“A hometown quirky festival with something for everyone to enjoy from the arts, to the waterfront, to the live music and history,” is how city Administrator Sherril Gautreaux describes the event, for those who’ve never attended.“There are always different people participating in the parade, so it’s always a fun surprise,” she said.Gautreaux has been involved in Ranier Daze planning for just a few years, but believes the event has been going on for decades. In 2019, the city turns 111 years old.

She stressed the meaning that Ranier Daze holds for the community. “It is important to the community because it allows the community individuality and spirit to shine,” she said.

What to expect

Starting off the day, at 7:30 a.m., the annual Ranier Recreational Club pancake breakfast fundraiser will be held at the Ranier Community Hall. Local artists will also be set up in the hall until 3 p.m.The Ranier Rec Club will offer festivities for kids, including a bouncy house behind the hall from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and again after the parade until 3 p.m.

The parade, which is the main event, begins at 1 p.m. “We are inviting folks to decorate their golf carts and (four) wheelers or make a fun float,” she said. “Of course, the dog parade is always a highlight.”

The dog fashion show is a beloved staple of the Ranier Daze parade. According to Gautreaux, Ranier resident Naomi Woods originally had the idea for a dog parade in 2008. It was a fitting centennial celebration for the dog-friendly town – more than 100 dogs participated that year.

A relatively new, but beloved part of Ranier Daze is the Big Vic look-alike contest. Big Vic the Voyageur is the 30-foot-tall statue which stands near the entrance to Ranier and has been greeting visitors to the area for decades. He wears a red hat and dons a large beard.

The look-a-like contest started two years ago with a suggestion from a local resident. Since Voyageur Vic greets people driving into town from the highway, she thought it would be fun to get people to dress up like the familiar face and join the parade.

“One local resident, Paul Kavan, has his very own Big Vic costume that he dons from time to time and will surely participate in the festivities,” Gautreaux said.

At 8 p.m., The Ranier Municipal Liquor Store will host a live rock band, “Twist of Fate,” which performed at the event last year and drew a sizable crowd. Twist of Fate hails from Grand Rapids and plays mostly ‘80s, ‘90s and current rock.

If all of the fun and festivities leave you in need of nourishment, Rainy Lake Grill, the Ranier Muni and Tara’s Wharf Ice Cream Shop – which will be serving banana splits for the occasion– will be open during the day.

Vendors will be set up on Spruce Street on the south side of the train tracks. Booths will also be set up on Finstad Lane. The Finstad Historical Auto-Marine Shop will be open for tours.

If you’d like to get out and enjoy the water, Voyageurs National Park will have the voyageur canoe at the Spruce Street dock for rides. In addition, Voyageurs Outfitters will be offering free sailboat rides.

The Rainy Lake Community Orchestra will perform near Loony’s Brew after the parade. The Ranier Muni will have games for grown-ups outside after the parade, “which are always a hit” according to Gautreaux. A tiki bar will be set up outside for alcoholic beverages.

“As always, we are hoping for nice weather....but not too hot,” said Gautreaux.

Contact the Ranier city office at 286-3311 with questions or for more information about the event.

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