Weekend events get hearts racing

Runs, duck race, new challenge event fill two days with family fun

It’s a race-themed weekend in the St. Croix Valley featuring an “Amazing Race”-style fundraiser Saturday in Oak Park Heights for the St. Croix Valley Lumberjacks Special Olympics, runs to raise money for scholarships and small, plastic ducks floating down a creek for fund and prizes.
For those not interested in races, there are plenty of options to choose from this weekend.

Operation Valley Challenge

The race raises money for the SCV Lumberjacks Special Olympics Team for the upcoming year.

Teams of two to five people can sign up for the 10-challenge event that starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at Brekke Park in Oak Park Heights.

Two challenges are designed to give back to the community. One is an education-related, another is a physical exercise challenge, and another uses clues to find certain locations around Oak Park Heights. The course is designed to be completed in 90 minutes to two hours depending on who is involved.

Participants must get their clues signed as they go through the course. A missed task results in a 30-minute penalty added to their finishing time. Winners will receive prizes.

Cost to participate is $16 per person and includes a t-shirt that must be worn during the race, water, snacks and a race completion certificate. Those interested in participating can register at https://sites.google.com/site/operationvalleychallenge/home.

Derby Days

The annual Derby Days festival in Bayport offers an event-filled Saturday that includes the noon Duck Derby on Perro Creek. Other festival events include breakfast at the Hesley Jensen American Legion Post No. 491, medallion hunt, Pet Parade, Taste of Bayport, an ice cream social and fireworks in the evening.

The Bayport Fire Department also marks it’s 125th anniversary in conjunction with Derby Days Saturday. Stop by Lakeside Park and view a display of historic firefighting equipment, demonstrations and music. A Derby Days schedule can be found at www.bayportcommunityactionleague.com

Jon Francis Foundation Race

Rounding out the races is the annual Jon Francis Foundation running races that raise funds for scholarships. Starting at 9 a.m. at Square Lake Park, the 13.1-mile half-marathon follows a beautiful and challenging course on rolling hills and rural roads past lakes, farms, forest and open fields with breathtaking views and vistas. A shorter 8K race circles Square Lake and the PowerUp 1K Fun Run is a short course designed for families and young runners and is free for children under age 12 and their families.

The Jon Francis Foundation races directly benefit the St. Croix Valley by helping fund the work of the non-profit foundation and several community service organizations in the Twin Cities.
Garage sale

The St. Croix Valley Chapter of MCCL holds a fundraising garage sale until 5 p.m, today and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at 919 W. Myrtle St. across from Len’s Family Foods in Stillwater. Donations of sale items are accepted at the sale site. Proceeds support pro-life causes. Call 651-439-7976 for more information.

Oktoberfest time

The Ghasthaus Bavarian Hunter in Grant hosts ”Oktoberfest from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the restaurant and a family day from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The event features German food, imported German beer, and Ompha Music by the Artie Schaefer Band. Tickets are $5.