Mission of the Hopkins Raspberry Festival
The Hopkins Raspberry Association volunteers and Raspberry Royal Family dedicate their time and resources to continue the Hopkins Raspberry Festival tradition as conceived and cared for by our predecessors. The festival continues to bring residents and visitors from surrounding communities and from around the state of Minnesota to Hopkins to help boost the local economy and celebrate this tradition in the Hopkins. In particular:
- Serve as a centerpiece of a vibrant Downtown Hopkins
- Cultivate community pride & spirit
- Improve quality of life, makes Hopkins more attractive to businesses, and create a positive community image
- Orchestrate events to bring attention and visitors to Hopkins
The Hopkins Raspberry Festival is made possible by our volunteer’s dedication, local businesses donating their time, services and financial contributions and all those that continue to return to enjoy the events each year. To all of you, thank you!
Hopkins Raspberry Festival Royal Family
Each year people who work or live in Hopkins have the opportunity to participate in the festival and can choose to run as Raspberry Festival Royalty. This tradition began at the first Raspberry Festival with the crowning of a Raspberry Queen and her court, who were all daughters of a raspberry farmers. We now have a nine member Royal Family that includes three young women, ages 17-25, four children, ages 6-9, and two seniors who are over age 55. The Royal Family serves for an entire year traveling to other city’s celebrations representing the community of Hopkins and act as ambassadors encouraging them to visit Hopkins.
Why the Running of the Bulls?
The Hopkins Running of the Bulls commemorates the legendary day in Hopkins when the father of the raspberry industry in Hopkins, John Feltl, Jr., lost control of the bull that was pulling a cart of raspberries down Mainstreet. On this record harvest day, the raging bull ran down the street causing the citizens to scatter and run. It turns out the bull was just scared and went straight back to the farm. It created a lot of excitement that day, but nobody was harmed.
With enthusiasm, the Hopkins Raspberry Festival began during the depression as a way to boost business in Hopkins. Art Plankers, a pioneer Hopkins food merchant is credited with suggestion of “raspberries” for the theme. About 75 Hopkins businessmen and farmers were organized and July 21 was chosen as the day to hold the festival, to coincide with the peak of the raspberry-picking season.
Jim Markham, editor of the Hennepin County Review, got the word out. Minneapolis mayor Thomas Latimer issued a proclamation urging all citizens of Minneapolis to “motor to Hopkins Sunday to enjoy the hospitality of the Northwest’s greatest suburb, to enjoy the entertainment and to have some free raspberries and cream with the compliments of Hennepin County’s famous raspberry growers and the progressive businessmen of Hopkins.”
By all accounts, the day was a success for everyone, especially the raspberry growers, who were assigned places along the curbs to sell theirs wares. Perhaps sales went so well because the raspberry mixed with the local libations, or so Markham said: “We used to call it the big berry bust in those early days.”
The Hopkins Raspberry Festival has become a Twin Cities institution, held in the middle of July. The raspberry fields are long gone, but the town has cause to celebrate anyway and so it does.
Reproduced with permission from Bev Ewing, author of Hopkins Through the Years. Photos courtesy Hopkins Historical Society.
1955 Parade and Rodeo
What were festival parade floats made of 50 years ago? How have they changed? Did you know they actually had a Parade AND a Rodeo in Hopkins 50+ years ago? Watch video footage from 1955 »