Although Bar-B-Q Days has officially been called off due to the coronavirus, various activities associated with the annual Belle Plaine celebration are still coming together as the originally scheduled July 17-19 dates approach.
According to event organizer Sony Messenbring, planners are finalizing details for various facets of the celebration. Final plans will, of course, depend on health and safety guidelines from the state, but should everything fall into place, planners hope to host some version of some of the typical festivities.
As of Wednesday, June 17, event organizers were finalizing details of an annual fireworks celebration. The event will not take place at the typical Tiger Park location. Instead, organizers believe the display may take place near the Belle Plaine Athletic Complex in southern Belle Plaine.
The annual Bull Run will be going virtual this year. Instead of running in a pack, participants will register and run on their own schedule and run anytime between July 13-19. Times will then be tabulated and winners will be named.
Despite the less than ideal circumstances, 16 candidates have come forward in hopes of being crowned the next Miss Belle Plaine. Ahead of the July 19 virtual coronation, which will take place at Belle Plaine City Hall, the candidates have been hard at work with community outreach, according to Renee LeMieux, who coordinates royalty programming.
Some folks around town may be noticing surprise gifts showing up at their doorsteps. That may be the result of an effort by the Belle Plaine royalty to 'pay it forward,' LeMieux said.
Each of the candidates was give a bucket and $20 to fill it with treats and whatever other gifts they could get. Candidates then dropped the buckets off at strangers' homes around town with each bucket carrying a note that tasks recipients to 'pay it forward.' Since the process began about two weeks ago, LeMieux has been receiving social media notifications from people receiving buckets from a third layer of recipients stemming from royalty candidates' initial drop off. Some have even opted to purchase more than one bucket.
LeMieux said that seeing the community's positive reception of the girls' efforts has been encouraging amid the current circumstances.
"It's fun, and the girls are so excited," LeMieux said. "Those girls have already struggled a lot (after schools turned to distance learning), so we thought we could use this time for good."
In addition to the 'pay it forward' buckets, the Belle Plaine Royalty will also be engaged in princess visits in lieu of the annual Princess Tea Party. Princess visits last about 45 minutes and include games and arts and crafts for families with young children. A sign up and more information is available online at https://bit.ly/37Yrtee.
Just around the corner for the candidates is their annual banquet, which will be held on July 12 and is invite-only.
Coronation is set for Sunday, July 19. Prior to the event, the candidates will make a parade-style visit to The Lutheran Home. The coronation will be livestreamed at the City of Belle Plaine's website, LeMieux said.
Candidates for Miss Belle Plaine, in alphabetical order of last names, are:
Kadence Bran de Leon
According to longtime Bar-B-Q Days medallion hunt clue writer, the annual hunt will take place largely as usual. The first clue is set to appear in the July 1 issue of the Herald.