Monticello city crews play key role in getting Riverfest parks ready

Monticello Parks Superintendent Tom Pawelk’s master planning list for Riverfest contains a by-the-numbers approach to community celebration logistics.

The department spends time the full week prior to the event preparing for activities. In addition, one to two days following the festival are spent doing clean-up.

For example, in order to get Pioneer Park ready for Thursday’s night’s big opening celebration, Pawelk has to make sure at least 60 picnic tables are clean, painted and ready to go, there are enough garbage cans in place, the fire pit is cleaned, grass areas are weed-whipped and the park sprayed for pesky mosquitoes.

The next day, city crews clean up the park and haul tables, barrels and benches and start working to set up Ellison Park for Saturday’s events.

The Monticello Parks Department staff also assists with preparations the week prior to the Art in the Park and the Taste of Monticello, in addition to other Riverfest activities planned for Ellison Park.

Set-up work at Ellison includes hauling bleachers and tables, shutting off the park sprinkler system at its street connection and hanging up no parking and shuttle bus banners for the Monticello Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Saturday tasks include trash and bathroom clean-up.

On Riverfest Sunday, Pawelk recruits the assistance of four volunteers to blocking barricades and marking cones in the right locations along the parade route.

Monticello Public Works staff are involved with assisting in park preparation, event set-up and traffic control. City approval of the Riverfest special event permit is contingent on continued coordination with the Public Works Department on site planning and traffic control.

Monticello Streets Superintendent Tom Moores is a Riverfest committee member who also works with set-up and teardown activities as well as Friday’s fireworks. The Monticello Fire Department remains on-station during the community fireworks. Riverfest fireworks are budgeted out of the city’s liquor funds.

The city signed a new three year contract with its fireworks vendor in 2012. Insurance costs for the fireworks are included in the city’s insurance policies, and the fireworks vendor is required to name the city and the Monticello School District as an additional insured on their policies as well.

Throughout the festival, the Riverfest Committee coordinates other needed portable toilets and trash containers. The Riverfest Committee also works the Wright County Sheriff’s Department for traffic control and security all four days.

Contact Tim Hennagir at [email protected]