Everything at Septemberfest Falls into Place

With help from new events like Dakota County’s Got Talent and Scholarship in a Haystack, vendors, exhibitors, performers and visitors shake off autumn drizzle and find sunbeams of fun at community festival.

Nobel prizewinner Albert Camus once said, “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” Held on the spacious and beautiful grounds of Dakota County Technical College’s Rosemount campus, 2008 Septemberfest, a classic weekend community festival, brought home that famous quote, leaving no blossom of excitement unturned.

Accented by new events like Dakota County’s Got Talent, a talent show with a diverse selection of impressive acts, and Scholarship in a Haystack, where DCTC students searched for $500 scholarship medallions in a hefty mound of fresh-cut straw, 2008 Septemberfestattracted more than 3,200 people despite weather conditions that rarely cooperated.

Lynda McPherson, the college’s operations secretary and festival coordinator, reported only positive feedback from participants.

“Everything went off as planned,” McPherson said. “We certainly could have used better weather, but the rain didn’t stop families from coming out. Kids especially enjoyed Dr. Bubbles, the Kite Professor and the Wizard’s Castle Jumpity Jump.”

McPherson pointed to a number of the festival’s successful attractions, including car and motorcycle shows, the Teddy Bear Band, DCTC academic and athletic program demos and clinics, Brenda’s School of Dance, arts and crafts vendors, and lots of delicious food and beverages. NASCAR driver Molly Rhoadsshowed off her racecar on Saturday, but was called away on Sunday to enter a race.

Sharon LaComb, the college’s vice president of institutional advancement, praised DCTC staff and faculty for making the festival a true community event.

“Everyone pulled together to spotlight our college’s commitment to our students,” LaComb said. “We were delighted to host an event that gave us the chance to connect with so many residents from area communities.”

Dakota County’s Got Talent

The talent show took place on both days of Septemberfest with six semifinalists selected from 17 acts that performed on Saturday. Sunday semifinalists included singer Larry Yates, singer Jenny Mezeritski, The Wild Rose Dancers, a clogging group, The Kalisch Family, a bluegrass instrumental group, The Neutron Boys, a tap dance troupe, and classical violinist Aria Stiles.

Original prize money was set at $1,000 for first place, $750 for second place and $500 for third place, but when judging scores were tallied, the three top acts turned out to be inseparably close, resulting in three $1,000 first-place awards.

“We were thrilled by the performances of all the contestants,” said Dr. Ron Thomas, DCTC president and MC of the talent show. “The finalists in particular really brought down the house. The sense of community and inclusiveness shown by all the contestants made everyone winners, performers and audience members alike.”

First Place Winners in Alphabetical Order
  • Aria Stiles, 14
    Played Mendelssohn Violin Concerto

    • accompanied on keyboard by her mother, Karen Stiles

  • The Kalisch Family
    Performed “Lee Highway Blues”

    • Hannah, 20, fiddle
    • Sam, 18, bass
    • Alex, 15, banjo
    • Ellason, 12, mandolin
    • Sandy, 46, guitar

  • The Neutron Boys
    Danced to “Neutron Dance”

    • Zach Fremder,15
    • Josh Fremder, 12
    • Tyler Goldstein, 16
    • Matt Wiegand, 16
    • Joey Weaver, 13
    • Erik Senst, 16
    • Andrew Jensen, 13
    • Kevin Kluegel, 16
    • Andrew Kohagen, 14

Scholarship in a Haystack

This event also took place on both days of Septemberfest with three $500 scholarship medallions hidden in a stack of straw and up for grabs each day. On Saturday, nearly two dozen students dove headlong into a mound made from 30 bales of straw donated by Fluegel Farm, Garden & Pets of Rosemount. A comparable number of students braved flying chaff and stalks on Sunday.

Saturday’s Winners
Sunday’s Winners
Car Show Winners

Class 1930-1959

1st Place: Ken Lawber, 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
2nd Place: Eugene Brockton, 1958 Plymouth Belvedere
3rd Place: George Dinzeo, 1933 Plymouth
Honorable Mention: Nick Loesch, 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

Class 1960-1988
1st Place: Kevin Kinney, 1966 Buick Riviera Gran Sport
2nd Place: Jim Tursso, 1970 Ford Mustang
3rd Place: Chris Kling, 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle
Honorable Mention: Rob Schweich, 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

Class 1989-2008
1st Place: Kevin Kinney, 1999 Buick Riviera Silver Arrow
2nd Place: Stew McKenna, 2000 BMW Z-3
3rd Place: Ronnie Rushing, 1997 Chevrolet Silverado Pick Up
Honorable Mention: Bill McCluskey 1991 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

People’s Choice
Jim Kellar, 1935 Ford Tudor

President’s Choice
Joel Bisser, 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

  • Best of Show
    Kevin Kinney, 1999 Buick Riviera Silver Arrow

Offering Free Parking & Free Admission at a location only minutes away from the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs, 2008 Septemberfest was sponsored by all Dakota County Chambers of Commerce as well as by Anchor Bank, Bituminous RoadwaysCub Foods, UPSSKB EnvironmentalSPIRE Federal Credit Union,Hidden Greens Golf Course, KoolKrafts, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Lancet Software,FairviewDunn Bros Coffee, Trophies Plus and Emerald Greens Golf Course.