Organizers hope changes will enhance weekend festivities
By Per Peterson
Box Car Days 2018 — the 91st version of the Labor Day weekend celebration — will feature a couple of institutional changes — one that will be celebrated by new parents and the other by anyone who enjoys an adult beverage or two.
First, a nursing and diaper changing station sponsored by Elysian Chiropractic Center will be located near the beer and bingo stand. The station will house chairs, a changing table, diapers and wipes.
“It’s a place for moms and their little ones to go,” said Jay Fultz, a lead BCD committee member. “A nice addition there.”
The other change will be in the beer tent, which will be serving canned beer and liquor such as rum and vodka. The beer tent will be open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday; from 8:30 a.m. (Kegs & Eggs and Bloody Mary bar) to 1 a.m. on Saturday; from noon to midnight on Sunday; and from noon to 6 p.m. on Monday.
“We’re now going to be offering vodka, whiskey and rum,” said Fultz. “So there will be mixed drinks as well as beer. With the liquor store — Box Car Days is all about supporting the community — and with the bar gone, we’re trying to pick up some of that business. And there’s some people who don’t like to drink beer.”
“I’m interested to see how well it works,” said Greg Carlson, chamber president. “It’s something different, and might be a new revenue-maker for us.”
The midway — provided by Midwest Rides and Concessions — opens at 4 p.m. Saturday, with Bracelet Night going from 7 to 11 p.m. ($20 for arm bands). The midway will re-open at noon Sunday, with Bracelet Day from 1 to 5 p.m. and will open again at noon Monday.
A look at the schedule
The four-day celebration kicks off Friday with Tracy Area Chamber Burger Night from 5 to 8 p.m. and the beer pong tournament at 8:30 p.m. in the beer tent (cost is $20 per team).
Things get going early Saturday with the BBQ Cook-off starting with 7:30 a.m. registration on Morgan Street. A cook’s meeting will be at 4 p.m., with judging at 7 p.m. More than $1,000 in awards are up for grabs.
The rib feed ($2 per ticket) follows the cook-off and will be complemented by music from Kayla Daniels.
The annual “400 Open Golf Tournament,” “Texas Hold ‘Em,” bean bag tournament and softball tournament will all also take place on Saturday. The Tracy Area Girls (TAG) softball club will be serving concessions at the sofbtall tournament as a fundraiser. Anyone interested in having a team in the tournament can call Greg at 259-0748 or Justin at 820-0459. Human foosball will take place at 11 a.m. ($60 per team) Call 629-4021 to enter a team.
Registration for the annual Kiddie Parade (for kids ages 4-12) sponsored by Tracy Publishing will take place at 4:30 p.m. at Central Park with the parade beginning at 5 p.m. The categories are Hollywood, Olden Days, Wheels, Storybook Characters and Animals.
Saturday culminates with a no-cover street dance, with HickTown Mafia playing from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
On Sunday, St. Mary’s Church will once again be home to Dad’s Belgian Waffles from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mud volleyball starts at 9 a.m. at The Caboose (call 629-4201 to enter), and a Horseshoe Tournament starts at 10 a.m. at Nehls Park (call 531-0364 to register). Morgan Street will be home to the Kids Pedal Pull (11:30 a.m.) and Human Foosball for anyone under 15 at 1 p.m.
The Fly-In Breakfast will start at 7 a.m. at the Tracy Municipal Airport and will feature the Sanford helicopter, airplane rides and the Vanguard Squadron. Cars, motorcycles and planes are all welcome. The Box Car Days Road Race is at 7:30 a.m. at Central Park, and anyone interested in running or walking can email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Miss Tracy Scholarship Program will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the TAHS gym.
Over at St. Mary’s on Monday will be the Arts & Crafts Fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and food stand from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We’re always looking to find new and different things without losing things that have worked in the past,” Carlson said. “Still, we can’t have too many things to do — then you start getting low attendance for some events. We just try to focus it around families as much as possible, especially during the day.”
The Grand Parade will start at 1 p.m. sharp Monday.
The bingo stand will be open all four days: 6:30 to 11 p.m. Friday; 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday; 1 to 11 p.m. Sunday; and 2:30 to 6 p.m. Monday.
The Wheels Across the Prairie Museum & Antique Tractor Show opens at 1 p.m. Friday and at 9 a.m. the following three days. Pork chops on a stick and root beer floats will be served with a free will donation from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. A prayer service will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday and blacksmith demonstrations on a 100-year-forge by Ron Boje will be showcased all weekend at the museum. The tractor show will take place Saturday-Monday (contact Jeff/John Meyer at 629-4095).
Button sales begin Friday, and buttons are good for three days. Buttons are $6 for adults, $2 for 4- 12-year-olds and free for those 3 and under. A free train ride is available for all who purchase a button. The museum will be open Monday, right after the parade, until 5 p.m.
The Lions food stand will be open Saturday-Monday.
“We offer a wide range of things to people with different interests and backgrounds — from the rib cook-off to rock painting for the kids,” Carlson said. “It’s just a wide spectrum of things to do. We have golf, softball, mud volleyball, human foosball. A lot going on.”