Since 1935, the Raspberry Festival has been a celebration of Hopkins held the third weekend of July. The goal is to connect the community, support local businesses, and promote Hopkins.

How decades of Hopkins tradition began in 1935

With enthusiasm, the Hopkins Raspberry Festival began during the Great 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 their wares. Perhaps sales went so well because the raspberry mixed with the local libations, or as 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 annually 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. Historical 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?

Past Leadership

The Hopkins Raspberry Festival has had the great fortune of a long list of dedicated people who have carried the torch from the very beginning of the event until today. Below is a list of just a few of those people who have led the organization, guided the events, and been honored for their contributions to Hopkins, MN.

In Memoriam

Scores of people have served the Hopkins Raspberry Festival over its long history, and that spirit of service continues today. Over the years, certain individuals have left an indelible mark on the Raspberry Festival, and a few of those special people are noted here.

Kristi Klug

Always and forever, Kristi will be our 1996-1997 Hopkins Raspberry Festival Queen. Kristi represented her community as a true Queen does and will always remain in our hearts. She was taken from us much too early, but showed us how to be brave and how to love the world with all her heart. Her smile touched all the people she came in contact with, even as her battle with cancer brought her days that weren’t always easy to smile about. Kristi may be gone, but every Queen forward that has the honor to wear the crown that she wore can feel her spirit live on.

Lee Unze

The proud father of Queen Shannon Unze, Lee arrived at the float garage with an infectious smile and jovial personality, ready for another trip on the parade circuit. He was a talented woodworker and great “Mr. Fix-It” for those occasional problems with the Raspberry Royalty float that occur when the Royal Family is visiting another community. When it came time to incorporate the Senior Royalty into the float’s “Day at the Park” theme, Lee built a park bench for them to sit. He also built the Junior Royalty Coronation set pieces that were in use for over 10 years. Lee’s presence is sorely missed.

Jan Phillips

The Hopkins Raspberry Festival was blessed for a brief time to work with a new, committed volunteer, Jan Phillips. Jan planned and executed a beautiful Royalty Coronation and Royal Ball in 1994. Sadly, that fall, she passed away and the festival was left with only great memories of her drive and sparkling personality. Through her family, Jan’s memory lives! Because of her love for the Raspberry Festival, in 1995 three formal crowns were presented to the Festival to be used by the Queen and Princesses and be passed each year. They have been in continual service since being worn proudly by the Royalty during their reign at formal appearances, and passed on to the newly crowned Royalty each year at the Royalty Coronation. Jan was lost far too soon, but fortunately, her spirit endures!

Dee Lumley

The many volunteers at the Raspberry Festival whose lives she touched enjoyed Dee Lumley! Few events of the Raspberry Festival were untouched by her dedication and sense of humor. She especially treasured the relationships that she had with the Royalty Candidates and the Raspberry Royalty; watching them mature as young women brought her joy. Ensuring the Festival’s place in Hopkins’ history was important to Dee as she worked with the Hopkins Historical Society to provide festival memorabilia. On the other end of the spectrum, Dee enjoyed sports and was instrumental in making a Twins baseball game a festival event. This event is now known as “The Dee Lumley Raspberry Night at the Ballpark”. Dee was a treasure who will not be forgotten.

Laun E. Anderson

A Hopkins Police Officer with a big heart describes Laun Anderson. Every year, hundreds of children descend upon the shores of Shady Oak Lake to enjoy Laun’s “signature” Raspberry Festival event, the annual Kid’s Fishing Contest. Since its inception, Laun worked tirelessly to ensure that the kids had all of the supplies that were needed for a great morning of fishing. And, they did not go home hungry — the morning ended after lunch was served! This fun morning is successful, in large part, because of the relationships that Laun forged over the years with service organizations, retailers, and, of course, bait shops. Full of life himself, Laun was a very giving man and introducing children to the wonderful world of fishing was just one of his gifts!