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Vergas is ready to get 'Looney,' as annual festival runs Thursday-Sunday

The Wiener Dog Nationals will once again be a part of this year’s Looney Days festivities in Vergas. The dogs will be racing on a track set up at the Vergas city baseball diamond on Saturday, Aug. 16. Hot laps start at 11 a.m., with the races set to take place from noon to 3 p.m. (Vicki Gerdes/DL Newspapers)1 / 2
The annual Loon Calling Contest is one of the more unique and popular events held each year at Vergas’s Looney Days festival. This year’s contest is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, with registration starting at 1:30 p.m. (Vicki Gerdes/DL Newspapers)2 / 2

Kids fishing, wiener dogs racing, old timers playing softball, loons calling… err, make that a contest for calling loons.

It’s all part of the fun of Vergas’s annual Looney Days festival, which kicks off Thursday with the crowning of Vergas “royalty,” who will preside over the weekend’s festivities.

The Miss Vergas, Princess Altona and Junior King & Queen pageants are all set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Vergas Event Center.

“We will intertwine all three (pageants),” said Renee Sonnenberg, chair of the Looney Days 2014 planning committee.

The festivities get underway in earnest Friday, with area-wide rummage sales going on all day Friday and Saturday (maps available at Goodman’s Supermarket). There will also be business sidewalk sales from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and a flea market in the Vergas United Methodist Church parking lot from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Looney Loon Egg Hunt also gets underway at 10 a.m. Friday, with clues being posted once every two hours outside local businesses and on Facebook.

Friday evening festivities will include a Road Rally departing from Loon Park at 6 p.m. (registration begins in the park at 5:30 p.m.).

Local softball and baseball legends will face off for bragging rights in the annual Old Timers Softball Game, which gets underway at 7:30 p.m. on the city baseball diamond.

Saturday is the festival’s busiest day, with activities going on from 7 a.m. until midnight, and beyond.

The church flea market and area-wide rummage sales continue, with the latter taking place throughout the day and the flea market continuing from 8 a.m. to noon.

“The Vergas Lions will be serving biscuits and gravy at the Event Center from 7 to 10 a.m.,” Sonnenberg added. Cost of the breakfast is $5 per person.

A Kids’ Fishing Tournament gets underway in Loon Park at 8 a.m., and the Street Fair on Vergas’s Main Street begins once the fishing tourney has concluded at 9:30 a.m.

The street fair continues until 4:30 p.m., while the Vergas Lions will be hosting Bingo in the Event Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

The Vergas Fire Department Open House gets underway at 10 a.m. in the fire station, continuing until 2 p.m.

But the day’s main event will be the second annual Wiener Dog Nationals, with registration getting underway at 10 a.m. at the city baseball diamond.

Hot laps begin at 11 a.m., with the races taking place from 12 to 2 p.m. Cost to enter is $10 per racing family, with up to three dogs allowed per entry.

Anytime Fun will also be setting up “bouncy games” next to the dog racing track, for kids to enjoy from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and there will be a beer garden running near the track from 10 a.m. to noon.

“Billy’s Corner Bar is hosting a Horseshoe Tournament at 1 p.m.,” Sonnenberg said. “They want people there at 12:30 to register.”

At the Main Street Stage, set up in front of Hanson’s Plumbing, the festivities begin with a Bean Bag Tournament at 2 p.m. (registration starts at 1 p.m. in the Vergas Liquor Store).

The annual Loon Calling Contest also begins at 2 p.m. on the main stage, with registration starting at 1:30. The Main Street beer garden opens at noon, and continues through the conclusion of the day’s festivities at 1 a.m.

The Main Street Stage will also be the setting for the Doo-Wop Divas show, which starts at 4 p.m. This group of talented ladies from Alexandria will perform pop hits from the 50s and 60s as well as a selection of military-themed tunes.

Main Street will also host the final event of the day, a Street Dance featuring music by the popular Fargo-Moorhead area band Tripwire. The dance runs from 8 p.m. to midnight, with a $5 cover charge for all attendees starting at 6 p.m.

Looney Days concludes on Sunday, as festivities get underway on Main Street with a Classic Car show running from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Registration for the car show is from 8 to 9 a.m. inside Goodman’s Supermarket.)

St. John’s Lutheran Church, located at 410 E. Scharf Ave., will host an outdoor church service on the church grounds at 10 a.m. (Those attending the service are asked to bring lawn chairs or blankets, as no additional seating will be provided.)

The Grand Parade gets underway at 2 p.m., with registration starting at noon at the intersection of Railway Avenue and Linden Street.

Following the parade, there will be Water Fights on Main Street, starting at approximately 2 p.m., and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church will be hosting a fundraiser from 3 to 6 p.m., serving up pulled pork sandwiches, pie and ice cream from 3 to 6 p.m. Musical entertainment will also be provided during the fundraiser.

The day’s events conclude with the annual Turn In Poachers (TIP) “100 Plus 10” Raffle, which starts at 8 p.m. inside Billy’s Corner Bar.

“They give away shotguns, four-wheelers, that kind of stuff,” Sonnenberg said.

A full schedule of activities is available at the Vergas city website,, or on the Vergas Looney Days Facebook page (under “Photos”).

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454