SOLON– Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21, Solon Beef Days will hold its 41st celebration. This two-day event, traditionally starting the third Friday in July, has collected and donated over $339,000 back into the community and surrounding area since 1971.
The Solon Beef Days 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 2013 Ford Fiesta 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 a Kid’s Corner with games, clowns, magicians and dancers. 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 is featuring signature ribeye steak dinners, steak sandwiches, pork burgers and various other sandwiches and treats will be provided by the bandstand, with seven different bands playing over the weekend. Other major events include a four-person best shot golf tournament at Lake MacBride Golf Course Friday at noon, the first-ever bike ride to Sutliff Friday afternoon, the Solon Optimist Beef Days Fishing Derby at Brosh’s pond and the 5K Run Saturday morning, featuring some world-class runners; and the Annual Beef Days Parade starting at 10 a.m., which has become one of largest candy-throwing parades in eastern Iowa.
In the last few years, we have expanded the celebration to include new things at Kid’s Corner which would be free events and activities both days for kids of all ages. Kid’s Corner has added many performing groups and activities from the surrounding area to provide new and different things to the celebration.
The Solon Beef Days Committee has also concentrated on having live music throughout the entire weekend. This year is no exception with a new high of eight different bands or groups playing. Other events added include a bags tournament Saturday at noon and at 6 p.m.; and on Friday, an adult Kickball Tournament at Legion Field.
The entertainment starts with a street dance Friday night with Terry McCauley at 5 p.m. before the famous hay bale toss at 7 p.m. Then at 9 p.m., a new band to Beef Days, Cedar Island Band, will close out the evening. Saturday kicks-off at the bandstand with the group Frisco starting right after the parade at 11 a.m. Then at 1 p.m. Scott Cochran and Flannel will be featured from 2 until 4 p.m. This will be followed by Lincoln Highway Band from 4:30 until 6 p.m. Then there will be the second annual Calf Classic auction at 6:15 p.m. Saturday evening rounds out with a Rod Stewart Concert Experience, a tribute featuring the Young Turks from 7 until 9:30 p.m. followed by the Car Raffle and an introduction to the closing band, a local favorite with Solon talent, Loaded.
What’s different about Solon Beef Days is that it is a family-oriented event with most of the activities free of charge. There is no cover charge to listen to the bands or enter the children’s events. And any money spent goes 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 groups, the Solon Beef Days venue is the largest annual fundraiser. Solon Beef Days has become a tradition for eastern Iowa and has provided a source of income to do 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 over 450 volunteers.
If you have questions or comments, visit the 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 give Gary Bentrim, president of Solon Beef Days Committee, a call at 319-624-2918.