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43rd annual Beef Days begins Friday

SOLON– This Friday and Saturday, July 18 and 19, Solon Beef Days will hold its 43rd celebration. This two-day event, traditionally starting the third Friday in July, has collected and donated over $420,000 back into the community and surrounding area since 1971. This year alone the committee gave over $35,000.
The committee hopes to make this year’s celebration as special as last year with more activities than ever. One event that has become a tradition is the car raffle giving away a 2014 new car Saturday night around 10 p.m. at the bandstand. Tickets are available at the event and all proceeds from that raffle will help defer the celebration’s expenses to raise more money for community projects. As usual, Beef Days will feature Kid’s Corner, with games, clowns, magicians, dancers and many activities for the kids. The carnival will again be on the midway right down Main Street with Friday night wristbands to ride all night.
The food court this year features Beef Days’ signature rib eye steak dinners, steak sandwiches, pork burgers and various other sandwiches and treats will be provided by the bandstand by other non-profit groups. Other major events include the Hay Bale toss Friday night at 7 p.m., a two-person team Bean Bag tournament kicking off at 1 p.m. Saturday on Main Street in front of the bandstand. The first Beef Days youth kickball tournament will be held at Solon Recreation and Nature Area at noon Saturday, the Solon Optimist Beef Days Fishing Derby will again be at Brosh’s pond and the 5K run Saturday morning will feature some world-class runners. The Annual Beef Days Parade will start at 10 a.m., one of largest candy-throwing parades in Eastern Iowa. It’s a fun filled packed year of events always going on.
The Beef Days Committee has concentrated on having free live music throughout the entire weekend. This year is no exception, with six different bands or groups playing. It starts with a street dance Friday night with Lady Lowe at 5 p.m. before the famous Hay Bale toss at 7 p.m. Then at 9 p.m. will be a band new to Beef Days, Back Home Boys, to close out Friday evening. Saturday kicks off at the bandstand with the group River Bottom Ramblers starting right after the parade at 11 a.m. At 2 p.m. an old favorite, Terry McCauley, will be featured in the beer tent up close and personal. This will be followed by The Fez from 7 until 10 p.m. Saturday evening rounds out with the Pork Tornadoes from 10 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. The car raffle drawing will be held around 10 p.m. between band breaks.
What’s different about Beef Days is that it is a family-oriented event with most of the activities being free. There is no cover charge to listen to the bands, enter the children’s events, etc. And the profits from any money spent go right back into the community and surrounding area. Many activities are funded by local businesses through their donations to the Beef Days Committee and all of the food providers are area non-profit organizations that have taken much of their profits throughout the years and returned it to the area in some fashion or another. For many, the Solon Beef Days venue is their largest fundraiser. Solon Beef Days has become a tradition for Eastern Iowa and has provided a source of income to the community and area projects that may never have been funded if not for this annual celebration. Almost every activity or event in this two-day celebration is staffed and managed by 41 committees using 450 volunteers.
If you have questions, comments, please visit our web site to see the full schedule of events at BeefDays.com or if you would like to donate or get involved in this event, please feel free to contact me, Gary Bentrim, president of Solon Beef Days Committee at Beef Days.com or call at 319-560-3042.