The Panorama of Progress is set to kick off in Lakeville for another year of crowd-pleasing events and activities.
For the uninitiated, and even for some of those who may have attended previous years, Lakeville’s Pan-O-Prog, as it’s now affectionately known, may be perplexing in name but it certainly doesn’t interfere with the fun of the week-long festival that is expected to attract approximately 80,000 revelers from July 4 through July 10.
“Some businessmen in the industrial park felt Lakeville needed a festival and that’s what they came up with,” said this years’ Pan-O-Prog president, Jim Dunn in cheeky reference to the unique moniker. “It doesn’t affect people from here as much as it affects people not from here,” he said.
The festival began in 1967 to help celebrate the success of the Airlake Industrial Park and, true to its name, has continued to progress for the last 45 years. Dunn says while the festival’s unusual name may raise a few eyebrows, the success of its legendary events year after year keep raising more.
This is Dunn’s second year as Pan-O-Prog’s president who says it takes the work of approximately 100 volunteers and many months of planning to help ensure the festival runs smoothly each year and continues growing.
“The majority of people think of cruise night and think of the parade,” said Dunn. “We want to put something out to keep the tradition alive, but we also want to keep progressing.”
As an example, Dunn said the prize for the annual medallion hunt has been doubled this year to a $1,000 savings bond or $500 cash. Clues will be posted for loyal detectives and new sleuths beginning at 9:00 a.m. on July 4 on the festival website, www.panoprog.org, as well as at a number of area businesses.
While the popularity of the medallion hunt continues to grow, so does attendance at many of the festival’s marquis events.
Dunn estimates crowds of more than 25,000 turn out for each of the cruise night and parade events. And those numbers continue to grow along with the participants. The classic car cruise sees more than 500 souped-up vehicles while the parade boasts a line-up of more than 120 units that focus on entertainment value and local business participants.
“Every night there’s something significant to do” in addition to the plethora of other events scheduled each day, said Dunn.
Some of the highlight events each day include:
Monday, July 4:
Annual Fourth of July Celebration: Lakeville North High School. Activities and entertainment begin at 6:30 p.m. Fireworks display shortly after dusk.
Boat Parade: Participate or watch the floating parade of decorated boats beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Lake Marion. Participants can register at the Casperson Park boat launch beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 5:
Orchestra in the Park: 75-piece orchestra and 50-voice chorale will give a free lakeside performance of summer pop favorites at Antlers Park beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 6:
Miss Lakeville Scholarship Pageant: Contestants vie for $2,000 in education scholarships and the crown of Miss Lakeville at Lakeville South High School from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Beach Bash: Free music and dance on the beach in Antlers Park 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 7:
Beer, Brats & Bingo: Belly up with some beer and brats and play bingo under the big tent in the V.F.W. parking lot from 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Battle of the Bands: Six area bands show off their skills beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Area Learning Center Parking Lot.
Movie Under the Stars: Bring a blanket and enjoy a free showing of “Jumanji” after dark on the grounds of the Lakeville Area Arts Center.
Neptune Cocktail: Babe’s hosts an indoor dance from 9:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. featuring the sounds of Neptune Cocktail.
Friday, July 8:
Cruise Night: More than 500 classic cars take over the streets with the annual car cruise beginning at 6:30 p.m. Music, food and beverages will be available during registration at Lakeville South High School from 3:30-6:30 p.m. as well as downtown during and after the cruise from 5:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.
G.B. Leighton: One of Minnesota’s favorite musical son’s takes the outdoor stage at Babe’s for a concert beginning at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 9:
Waffle Breakfast: Get your fill of Belgian waffles, breakfast sausage, coffee and juice from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Lakeville Fire Station #1 on Holyoke Ave.
Kiddie Parade: Decorate the tricycles, bikes, scooters and wagons and join in the procession downtown from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. This year’s theme is ‘cartoon characters’.
Grand Parade: More than 100 units take to the streets in one of Minnesota’s finest parades. The marching bands, clowns, floats and more kick off at 5:30 p.m.
Soul Asylum: Popular Minnesota rockers provide the entertainment at Babe’s tent party beginning at 8:00 p.m.
Dunn says his favorite part of the event is the constant appreciation he hears and smiles he sees from residents and event attendees throughout the week. He credits the festival’s robust sponsorship support from area businesses as well as the frequently-evidenced outpouring of community pride and spirit for contributing to the festival’s success. The sponsorships and button sales help to fund the more than 50 scheduled events that appeal to young and old alike.
“There have been some pretty decent sized festivals that have gone the way of the dinosaur,” said Dunn.
With dinosaur-sized crowds and a line-up of events longer than a brontosaurus’ neck, Lakeville’s Pan-O-Prog isn’t in danger of becoming extinct anytime soon.
For a complete listing of and details of all the Pan-O-Prog events, visit the festival website at www.panoprog.org.