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45th annual Ox Cart Days runs through weekend

The 45th annual Ox Cart Days festival scheduled for Aug. 14-17 in Star Prairie will feature some new attractions while saying goodbye to a long-standing tradition.

After 40-plus years of sponsoring the festival, the Lions Club made the difficult decision to discontinue the royalty program. The Queen’s Tea scheduled for 11 a.m. at River Island Park will be the last scheduled appearance for members of the 2013-14 court, and it will mark the end of the program.

“It was a tough decision, very, very difficult,” said Chris Boardman, Lions Club member and Chair of Ox Cart Days.

However, if you are planning on attending the festival, do not despair, there will be plenty of fun for everyone from train rides and face painting to a classic car show and canoe race.

Festivities kick-off Thursday evening with a 5K or 10K walk/run at 6 p.m. followed by a demonstration by members of the St. Croix County K-9 unit. Everyone’s invited to a chicken dinner followed by Trigger Happy, a local country music band performing at 6 p.m. sponsored by New Richmond Area Ambulance Service and the Lions Club.

A weekend-long fastpitch softball tournament begins Friday night at 6 p.m. followed by bingo at 7 p.m. and the first street dance of the weekend featuring local favorite Ten Mile Creek at 8 p.m.

Get your arm in shape for the ever-popular bean bag toss tournament starting at 11 a.m. Saturday morning. A festival staple, the Classic Car Show gets started at 2 p.m in the community center parking lot. For $10 you can test your canoeing skills on the Apple River in the Canoe Race starting at 1 p.m. at the Church Road bridge.

“We’ve added a few more activities for kids on Saturday making the festival even more family friendly,” said Boardman.

The new lineup features train rides all day, along with face painting, a visit from Pickles the Clown, a petting zoo, bean bag toss just for kids, and an archery shoot between 2 and 5 p.m.

The famous rubber duck race sponsored by Star Prairie Fish & Game takes place at 4:30 p.m. in River Island Park, just a half hour before the kiddie tractor pull at 5 p.m.

New Richmond band Sunday’s Regret plays party rock and country on the main stage starting at 8 p.m. Saturday night.

Do not regret missing the pancake breakfast in the bingo building starting at 8 a.m. Sunday morning followed by a church service at the ballpark hosted by Bethany Lutheran Church.

Grand Marshall Helen Demulling will lead Sunday’s main event, the Grand Parade stepping off at 2 p.m. down Main Street. The winner of the Medallion Hunt will be announced at 4 p.m. and collect $100.

The Star Prairie Jam concludes the festival’s music ticket at 4:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon with the Grand Prize Raffle drawing scheduled for 7 p.m. All the proceeds from the raffle support the Star Prairie Lions Club.

“We’re always looking for people who are passionate about giving back and willing to be a volunteer,” said Boardman serving in her 12th year as Chair of Ox Cart Days.

Anyone interested in helping out with the festival can email the club at or call Boardman at 715-337-6915.

A special reminder to anyone planning on attending this year’s festival, the County Road M bridge leading into town is closed due to reconstruction. By Police order, overnight camping will not be allowed in the ballpark in order to provide more parking space for festival goers. Street parking will also be available on side streets Aaron, Marc and Park Streets off of County Road H.