Hay, Septemberfest Rings in a Gorgeous Summery Day

Huge range of activities musters scholarship funds for students

All week long local meteorologists fussed over the upcoming weekend’s weather, predicting rain for Saturday, Sept. 12, but unable to pin down the ultimate intent of an approaching front. As it turned out, rain took a holiday, allowing Dakota County Technical College’s Third Annual Septemberfest to illuminate and entertain 5,000-plus visitors under ideal conditions on the college’s Rosemount campus.

“We had basically nonstop rain during last year’s Septemberfest,” said Erin Larsen, DCTC director of marketing and communications, “so we were understandably worried. We were ecstatic with the weather for this year’s event, which helped bring out a record crowd of people who enjoyed some cool and exciting activities, both traditional and new.”

One of the traditional activities that captured a lot of attention was Scholarship in a Haystack, which involved hiding $500 scholarship medallions in a gigantic mound of fresh-cut straw. An onslaught of 60 or more scholarship seekers exploded into the pile during four different rounds, tossing armfuls of straw every which way as they tried to “make hay” while the sun shone.

Fourteen students came away with medallions. Funding was provided through the generosity of area businesses.

Round #1 Sponsored by Bituminous Roadways
  • Paula French
  • Ryan Leichty
  • Lacey Kotval
  • Rafeal Ibarra
Round #2 Sponsored by Cub Foods, Spire Federal Credit Union & Corner Piece Web
  • Kim Niedzielski & Jamie Niedzielski
  • Brad Knutson & Alia Pronke
  • Katie Loesch
Round #3 Sponsored by SKB Environmental
  • Travis Nesler
  • Clay Carlson
  • Awbre Henry
  • Joan Loesch
Round #4 Sponsored by Farmington Eagles, Gopher Resource &BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota
  • Adam Vogel
  • Mercedes Akinseye
  • McGill Knutson

Other traditional activities included a classic car show, an arts and crafts fair, children’s fun and games—including musical instrument lessons from the MacPhail Center for Music—family games sponsored by ISD 917 and Eagan Parks and Recreation, Down on the Farm Petting Zoo, Apple Valley Mobile Puppet Theater, marshmallow golf sponsored by Burnsville Parks and Recreation, and plenty to eat and drink.

The DCTC Dash, a 5K run/walk sponsored by Anchor Bank Apple Valley, was new this year, attracting some 50 runners of all age and skill levels. Eleven volunteers from Anchor showed up to help organize the USATF-certified race, including the bank’s president, Scott Ramsdale.

Overall female and male winners took home prize packages worth more than $200. All participants received a commemorative medallion and T-shirt.

  • Any of the top three finishers in each age group who did not receive a medal should contact Erin Larsen.
Female Overall

Erin Basavage, 34, Farmington, 21:53
Summer Groth, 19, Goodhue, 24:12
Kim Weiner, 23, Farmington, 26:32

Male Overall

Patrick Lisok, 21, Inver Grove Heights, 19:41
James Sirba, 20, Bloomington, 20:32
Brian Benson, 52, Apple Valley, 21:09

For the complete list of winners, visit DCTC Dash.

Bogart’s Nightclub in Apple Valley— with the expertise of Entertainment Director Todd Douglas—presented live music, featuring Young Lust and The Amy M Band. After performing, musicians from both bands said that they enjoyed the college atmosphere and the chance to play at a new venue. Feedback from Septemberfest visitors concluded that Young Lust and The Amy M Band are amazingly talented with nowhere to go but up.

Goat Dookie, a bingo-style game with live pygmy goats provided by DCTC General Repair Worker Don Myers, inspired feverish betting on grid squares that might be targeted by the first goat to do its duty. Onlookers put down $5 per square with the chance to win $50. All proceeds went to the DCTC Foundation for student scholarships.

The McKracken’s Pub Volleyball Tourney featured a $300 gift package to the winning six-person team, Heroes, which faced tough foes on the sand courts. The Decepticons took second with a $200 gift package, and Team Ramrod took third with a $100 gift package. Phil Marvets, the owner of McKracken’s Pub in Burnsville, was on hand to cheer on the teams.

DCTC faculty and staff squared off in a Dessert Silent Auction, putting on the oven mitts in a no-recipes-barred competition to produce the most inventive and delicious dessert. The winner, determined by the highest bid, received a catered lunch from Rascal’s in Apple Valley for up to 20 people.

The Dessert Silent Auction raised $725 in scholarship funds. Karianne Schmidt, an admissions representative, and Lori Carlson, campus nurse, tied for first place with identical $55 bids. Karianne baked a delectable double chocolate layer cake while Lori created an exceptional organic grape cheesecake.

Disc golf arrived on the DCTC campus in the form of two hard-fought battles with a political theme. The City of Hastings won the 1st Annual Disc Golf Mayors Challenge, bringing home a much-coveted traveling trophy. The DFL tossed in a victory in the 1st Annual Disc Golf South of the River Legislators Challenge, hustling the traveling trophy up to their offices at the Capitol complex in St. Paul.

Interviewed after the contest, the Republican team said, “It won’t stay on their desk for long.” Fairway Flyerz, the go-to location for everyone’s disc golfing needs, along with the Parks and Recreation department from the city of Rosemount, sponsored the challenges.

Lucas from the KDWB 101.3 afternoon show made an appearance for a few hours, playing music and signing autographs.

Another exciting activity new this year was a Pedal Pull sponsored by River Valley Pedal Pulls. Kids in different age brackets matched their leg strength and will power against a weight hooked behind a pedal-powered tractor. Winners received trophies and definite feeling of accomplishment.

A disgruntled Blue Sasquatch reported that two young humans discovered his medallion after only Clue 4 during the Blue Sasquatch Medallion Quest. The collegiate Bigfoot really was blue when he posed with the youngsters, Cole Gardner, 12, and his sister, Savannah Fortson, 13, both from Cannon Falls, Minn.

“I guess my medallion really is easier to find than I am,” Blue Sasquatch was heard muttering as he shuffled away to vanish into a nearby stand of trees.

Faculty were on hand to spotlight their programs and answer questions from prospective students as were admissions representatives. DCTC offers Customized Training along with degrees, diplomas and certificates in more than 50 academic programs as well as the opportunity to play collegiate sports in women and men’s soccer, baseball and fastpitch softball.

Septemberfest concluded with the showing of the barnyard classic, BABE, as the family outdoor movie. More than 150 parents and children spread out blankets on a grassy hillside, eating free popcorn and twirling glow sticks while Babe, Farmer Hoggett, Fly, Rex and Duchess the Cat performed their magic on the big screen. Loud applause and maybe a few tears greeted the immortal closing line, “That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do.”

“We were delighted by how 2009 Septemberfest unfolded,” said Sharon LaComb, DCTC vice president of institutional advancement. “We take pride in the fact that our students benefit tremendously from the funds we raise for scholarships at such events, which also give the college the perfect opportunity to meet and engage residents from our surrounding communities. We are looking forward to 2010 Septemberfest, which coincides with the college’s 40th anniversary and takes place Saturday, Sept. 11.”

Thanks to wonderful weather, lots of hard work and planning from DCTC staff, faculty, students and alumni plus the generosity of corporate and civic sponsors as well as the enthusiastic response from community members, 2009 Septemberfest was a grand success. Perhaps Helen Hunt Jackson, the American writer and poet, captured the spirit of the event most aptly with the following four lines from her poem“September.”

“By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.”

Septemberfest Sponsors