Memorial Day might be considered the unofficial start of summer for most people, but in North Branch, Midsummer Days is the true beginning.
Always held close to the summer solstice, the annual festival — put on by North Branch American Legion Post #85 — not only serves as warm-weather entertainment, but as a fundraiser for the Legion, whose proceeds go towards such things as scholarships and other financial support for local veterans.
This year’s version of the city’s signature event will take place Wednesday, June 15, through Sunday, June 19. The ultra-popular carnival, with food, games and rides for all ages runs the entire five days in Central Park.
Thursday features two different Bingo sessions, with the adult version taking place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and a free kids game being held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adult Bingo will also be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday.
A concert featuring the band Two Shots Down will take place starting at 8:30 p.m. All Bingo and street dances will be held under the big tent set up in the Legion’s parking lot on Elm Street.
Saturday features a three-person golf tournament at North Branch Golf Course beginning at 8 a.m. Special kids events take place around town, starting with the Kiddie Olympics starting at 8:30 a.m. at Riverwalk Park. Kids are advised to dress in clothes they don’t mind getting dirty.
The Kiddie Parade, which kicks off at City Hall and circles the block, will take place at noon. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m.,with various prizes given out for parade entries.
From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Lions will offer a free lunch, also under the tent. Bingo will be held from 2 to 6 p.m.
The popular water fights, conducted by the North Branch Fire Department, is tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. in front of City Hall, depending on the availability of the firefighters.
Saturday’s street dance will be to country singer Sherwin Linton, beginning again at 8:30 p.m. There is a $10 admission.
Sunday features the grand finale of the weekend in the form of the parade, which, rain or shine, makes its way along downtown Highway 95 beginning at 2 p.m. Grand marshal for this year’s parade is former adjutant and gaming manager Glenn Pierce.
The final street dance, featuring the band On Top will take place following the parade.
For more information about this year’s Midsummer Days, contact the American Legion at 651-674-4810.