Festival of water towers loaded with activities


The 32nd annual Pipestone Water Tower Festival takes place from Thursday July 29th through Sunday August 1st.
This year’s theme is “Wild about Pipestone! Pipestone Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Erica Volkir said the theme encompasses the jungle and love for the community. Water Tower Festival t-shirts featuring the theme are available at SoJo’s Sportswear & Embroidery and the proceeds will be used to support the festival.
One “wild” feature that is new this year is the El Riad Sanctuary “Parade de Pote” which will be part of the regular Water Tower Festival parade on Saturdays. The shrine plans to bring parade units including mini sprint cars, motor body, clowns, fife and drum corps, oriental group, provosts, classic automobiles, chanters, hillbillies, rickshaws, a steel drum group, Harley Davidson motorcycles, miniature model T cars, a motorized pontoon, a train and maybe more.
The various parade units participate in parades in the Sioux Falls area and once a year the shrine takes them all on a parade.
Former Pipestone resident Les Kruse earned the title of Potentate of El Riad Shrine Temple in Sioux Falls after spending nine years at the shrine scale and one of the perks of the job, he said. said, is that the potentate chooses the location of the Pote’s Parade.
“I chose Pipestone because I grew up there,” Kruse said. “Class of 1970.”
He said businesses in the Pipestone area have always supported El Riad Shrine by purchasing tickets for elementary school students to attend the Shrine Circus for free, so the shrine wanted to give back to the community as well. Kruse said he would ride past the parade portion of the sanctuary in a convertible.
“We are super excited and honored that they have chosen our community,” Volkir said.
Before all this, the activities of the Water Tower Festival will begin, as usual, with the hunt for medallions. The clues will be released each morning at 7 a.m. starting Monday, July 26 until the locket is found. The clues will be available at www.pipestonestar.com, the Pipestone County Star Facebook page, the Pipestone Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page, the Chamber of Commerce website at pipestoneminnesota.com, and on KLOH radio.
The locket will be on public land within the city limits of Pipestone and will not require digging, climbing, or moving items to find. Whoever finds the locket can take it to the Pipestone Area Chamber of Commerce to claim a prize of $ 100 in chamber dollars. The locket is smaller than a quarter, made of real pipe stone and hand carved by local Native American artist, Pam Tellinghuisen.
Here is a summary of the many other activities planned during this year’s Water Tower Festival:
Thursday July 29
As usual, Thursday night is Kids’ Night with a variety of activities scheduled in the 100 block of South Hiawatha Avenue.
From 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. there will be a community fundraiser to feed the burgers. For $ 8 you can have a burger, baked beans, fries, a treat, and a Pepsi or Aquafina Water. All proceeds will be donated to the local Pipestone Area Chamber of Commerce to help fund their many youth and family events throughout the year. A Sno-Cone fundraiser will be hosted by the local Kiwanis organization from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Pedal traction for children aged 3 to 11 starts at 6 p.m. with registration from 5:30 p.m.
The Pipestone Jr. Ambassadors contest will start after the pedal kick at around 7:15 p.m. Children ages 5 to those who have completed grade five who live in Pipestone County can compete by answering questions about themselves and Pipestone. . The contest is free and people can enter their children by calling the House at 507-825-3316. A boy winner and a girl winner will receive prizes and participate in the parade on Saturday as Junior Grand Marshals.
Friday July 30
On Friday there will be a block party downtown on Block 100 of South Hiawatha Avenue starting with a community fundraising dinner from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dinner will include pork loin sandwiches, coleslaw, chips, cookies, and Pepsi or Aquafina water for $ 8 per person. Additional sandwiches are available for $ 4 each. All proceeds will be donated to the Pipestone Region Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. The beer garden opens at 5 p.m. and will serve until 12:45 a.m.
A beanbag tournament begins at 6 p.m. The tournament costs $ 20 per team, is limited to 16 teams, and will include cash prizes. People can pre-register by calling the House.
The free street dancing, featuring the band Rewinder from Sioux Falls, starts at 9 p.m. and lasts until 1 a.m. The group will perform “The Biggest Hits of the Cassette Age”, which Volkir says will include party music from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Saturday July 31
Saturday is the busiest day of the Water Tower Festival.
Activities begin with a show of arts, crafts and vendors, food vendors and a carnival game vendor on the lawn of the Pipestone County Courthouse from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Vendors must register in advance by calling the room.
The parade begins at 10 a.m., from the 500 block of West Main Street, continues to Hiawatha Avenue and ends at Hiawatha Avenue and Fifth Street SE / SW. Parade entrances must pre-register by calling the Chamber. Volkir expects the parade to last around 90 minutes.
She said they were looking for people to loan their golf carts or alligators in the House for the parade committee members. Anyone who can help should contact the Chamber.
The Grand Marshall for this year’s parade is the Pipestone County Sheriff’s Department. In making the announcement, Volkir commented; “In a year when many state and national media have demolished law enforcement, the Pipestone Area Chamber of Commerce wanted to strengthen our local law enforcement and show them our appreciation for the safety of our community. When we help welcome new residents, the safety and security of our city is often the number one reason for moving to our community and the Pipestone County Sheriff’s Department plays a huge role in that regard.
The Pipestone Cruizers’ Car Show will take place on the west side of the courthouse on Second Avenue SW from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the prizes will be handed out at 2 p.m. Registration costs $ 10 per vehicle and begins at 9 a.m. House executive director Tom Steffes has said there will be DC Dyno and performance testing at the auto show which, for a fee, will show the power of a vehicle.
Free inflatables for all ages will be set up on the courthouse lawn from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volkir said they will include a demolition game, a giant Twister, a basketball game, an obstacle course and a bouncy house / slide.
“Paper Plains,” an interactive activity presented by the Meinders Community Library in conjunction with the “We Are Water MN” exhibit, will also take place from 11 am to 3 pm on the courthouse lawn. Participants will make paper with seeds of native plants inside, so they can plant it and watch it grow.
At 11:30 am, Groove Inc. Drumline will perform “Gridiron Groove” near the large tent on the courthouse lawn. Around noon, the winners of the parade will be announced under the big top, and from noon to 3 p.m., the musical duo Elisabeth Hunstad from the Sioux Falls area will host the show under the big top.
Another new attraction for events on the courthouse lawn will be a petting zoo. Jessica’s Little Ponies & Rascals will have a variety of animals to see and pet. The attraction is free and will be available from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. A special sight to see is “Rainbow the Unicorn”. People of all ages can take photos for free with Rainbow on their own phone / camera.
At 1 p.m., the Pipestone Fire Department will be staging water battles on Third Street SW in front of the reservoir near the courthouse.
“We’re bringing this back,” Volkir said.
Sunday August 1
Water Tower Festival activities conclude Sunday morning with a community church service hosted by Cornerstone Free Church on the Law Courts Lawn at 10:30 am.
Volkir said the Water Tower Festival brings people together and provides an opportunity to celebrate the community. She said it was great to bring the festival back to its usual format after it was changed last year due to the pandemic.
“We’re really excited to be able to bring this back safely,” she said.

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