Last updated on August 16th, 2019
When a town only has 60 residents, you need to do things a little differently. Parades are no exception. They park the parade displays in place and have the spectators do the walking. It’s known as the Whalan’s Stand Still Parade.
The Stand Still Parade in Whalan MN
How it all got started
This year marks the 23st year for the parade. Originally known as the Cycle Tur to celebrate the opening of the Root River bike trail opening up each spring. It was founded by ‘David Harrenstein to promote his Pie Shop and to get the community to work together’ said by Joan Johnson, Co-Chair of the Whalan Stand Still Parade.
Each year it lands on the Third Saturday of May. And with each year the spectators tend to grow as well. They expect to see around 2,000 spectators. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, the number goes down, but they still celebrate according to Joan. The town only takes up .41sq miles so parking can be challenging. Often the parking attendants will just quit trying because they’ve run out of space.
How a Stand Still Parade Works
With the dynamics of the parade stationary, participants in the parade are not required to be on wheels. While most try and keep with the theme, some come with tables and decorate accordingly. Each year the parade is based off a theme. Last year was Irish inspired to celebrate the roots of the Towns founder. This year the theme is the railroad. They are celebrating the original railroad that went through the town. The color guard takes their traditional place at the front of the lineup and the rest fall into place.
Some things you can expect to see are the local marching band, standing in place of course. Stan’s Still moonshine is off to the side. He dresses up like a hillbilly to entertain the crowds. Sorry, he doesn’t offer any samples. The classic fire trucks are on display. Local car clubs come out and display their babies. The Lions Club is out passing out treats for the kids. The area camp program comes to celebrate as well. There was even a clown out there for the kids.
While there is some candy, don’t expect to be coming home with buckets filled like other parades. It’s has more of a festival feel. Things move a little slower but you get to interact more with the locals which I loved.
The stand still parade is just one part of the day’s festivities. Live entertainment plays from 10am. -3pm. Along the bike path, artists have set up and are displaying some of their specialties. The town was showing demonstrations on Pickleball. It’s a cross between Tennis, Badminton, and Ping-Pong. It looked like everyone was having fun trying it out.
One of the most underrated parts of the festivities was the petting zoo. It was hidden off in the back. This petting zoo had kittens, ducklings, bunnies, a goat, a pony, and a cow. All of the animals were very friendly. The staff on hand was very nice and offered to get you any animal you might want to touch yourself. Unlike the petting zoos in the cities, you only had a hand of people there. This allowed everyone the opportunity to have a one on one experience with the animals. It was also probably the closest I have ever gotten to a calf before.
Traditional Minnesota Food
Cooked onsite by the community, the Food was excellent and was really well organized. Foods are purchased based on a ticket system. You may want to scope it out before deciding how many tickets o buy. The desert tent had a large variety of different baked goods. The local church was making brats with sourkrout. Under the gazebo they had Lefse.
For anyone not from MN or are just a city girl like me, who hasn’t tried it before, it was a treat. Lefse is a Norwegian bread made from Potatoes, Cream, Flour, and Butter. The roll it out similar to a really thin flaky tortilla and fry it up on a griddle. With some butter, cinnamon and sugar, it makes for a nice snack.
Pie Eating Contest
If you are really hungry, you can enter the Pie Eating Contest sponsored by Aroma Pie Shop. The Pie Shop is world famous for the delicious pies and other sweet treats. As a kid we’d stop in after a long bike ride and get a slice. I can’t image getting the chance to eat a whole pie or more!
Biking Through Whalan
I was amazed at how much they were able to offer the guests for such a small town. My favorite part was watching the bikers come in from the trail and realizing that they were being dumped into the middle of a celebration. Since the parade just wrapped up this weekend, check out what they have in store for next year. They start planning it out almost as soon as the parade ends.
Other things to check out
While in the area, make sure to check out some of the great caves. They are a great way to cool off for the year. There are also tons of other fun activities to do along the Root River Trail. If you love a good parade in Minnesota, you’ll want to visit the May Day Parade in Minneapolis. It’s on my list of 28 Things To Do in MN duirng Spring.
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