The three-day Steamboat Days festival kicks off Friday, with the entertaining water fight challenges, and concludes Sunday with the Grande Day Parade through the city’s historic downtown district.

“Even though we don’t live in Carver, we come here every year because the people are so much fun; and we really like the parades,” said Sue Kerrigan of Chaska, during a recent visit to downtown Carver. “It’s the thing to do.”

The festivities, held primarily in downtown Carver, are “our chance to have fun, kick back and celebrate, and to show off our community,” said Carver Mayor Courtney Johnson.

“It’s an opportunity for people from different parts of the city to unite in a fun atmosphere,” she added. “It doesn’t make a difference where you live, whether in Carver or in surrounding areas, a lot of people show up for Steamboat Days.”

Laura Niesche, chair of the Steamboat Days committee, said the celebration is becoming more important because of the rapid population growth of the community.

“Our community is growing so fast because it gives new residents a chance to experience the city in a fun way,” she said. “It’s also a good way for those who have lived here a longer time the chance to meet some new faces.”


There is one big change at Steamboat Days.

The committee, “with a few voices from the past years,” decided against the burnout contest this year, Niesche said.

During the contest, stationary vehicles spin their tires, and the friction generates large amounts of “smoke” (actually vapor), often resulting on blown tires. The event attracts large crowds, who show up in advance to reserve space.

“I know this will be a huge upset for a lot of people,” Niesche said. “It was a very fun event, with a ton of spectators and contestants, but it is so dangerous and we have gone without an incident for so long that we do not want to wait for something to happen.”

Instead, a variety of children-related activities, including a petting zoo, pony rides and clowns, will be featured at Riverside Park.

The event officially kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday and concludes with the very popular Grande Day Parade early Sunday afternoon. In between, there is a variety of musical entertainment, a 5K run, and fireworks display among many other attractions.

“We never miss it,” said Bill Candor, 72, who recently moved to the Carver area from Minneapolis. “We have friends who got us coming to Steamboat Days many years ago and we’ve just always enjoyed it. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate the end of summer that way?”


Local churches are also celebrating with annual events during Steamboat Days.

The St. Nicholas Catholic Church Fall Festival, at 412 Fourth St. W., Carver, runs Saturday and Sunday and is highlighted by a traditional German dinner, pancake breakfast and polka mass.

The polka mass begins at 4 p.m. Saturday, with the band continuing to play under the beer tent after mass. The German dinner, which will include German sausage and potato salad, sauerkraut, warm cinnamon apples and other items, runs 4 to 8 p.m. in the parish center.

The cost is $11 for adults, $5 for children 6-12, and is free for those 5 and younger.

There will also be a silent auction both days and the raffle drawing is set for 3 p.m. Sunday.

Sunday’s pancake breakfast runs from 8 a.m. to noon at the newly-opened City Hall. The cost is $9 for adults, $5 for children 6-12, and is free for those 5 and younger.


Carver Trinity Lutheran Church, at 417 Oak St. N., Carver, hosts its annual bazaar during Steamboat Days 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 and 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8.

The Trinity Women Serving Christ will have baked goods, garden produce, plants, gifts, crafts, books, embroidered and sewed items for the Steamboat Days sale, according to the church’s website.

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.


Recommended for you