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Leprechaun Days features opportunities to give back

When Leprechaun Days kicks off this weekend in Rosemount, the focus for most will be on music and parades and throwing water balloons at men and women pushing bathtubs. But there's more going on than just fair food and water fights. There is also a chance to give back.

The biggest opportunity to help the community will come at Tuesday's bathtub races. The event has long raised money for community groups through the sale of water balloons, but organizers have something bigger in mind this year. They want to use the races plus a new carnival to help erase some of the shortfall from last spring's One Rosemount Feeding Families event.

The One Rosemount group still needs $26,000 to get the thousands of meals residents packed earlier this year out of a warehouse and on their way to Haitian refugees.

Tom Meaden, one of the group's organizers, doesn't expect the Leprechaun Days event to provide all of that money, but he hopes to make a dent. The group plans to fill 12,000 water balloons to sell at the bathtub races, and One Rosemount partnered with several local churches and other organizations to put on the carnival.

The carnival will feature food and games, temporary tattoos for kids and other activities for a small fee. Two hot dogs, chips and a bottle of water will cost a single $1 ticket.

There will be a dunk tank with plenty of familiar faces willing to take the plunge for a good cause.

"Just about anybody in Rosemount who's got any kind of position is taking a turn in the dunk tank," Meaden said. "The mayor, the police chief, Bill (Goodwin) and I are taking a turn. Mary Thompson from Rosemount Middle School."

Organizers are trying to turn the entire night into a celebration. Olympus 24 will hold a free Zumba class from 5 to 6:15 p.m. and ATA Karate will put on a demonstration from 6:15 to 6:30.

KARE 11 sportscaster Eric Perkins will emcee the bathtub races.

"It's really turning into a One Rosemount event," Meaden said. "Not quite to what the food packing event was, but we would kind of like to get that monkey off our back and get that food out of the warehouse."

Slightly lower key is Leprechaun Days' effort to fill local food shelves. Now in its sixth year, the Share-A-Can Food Drive provides donation bins at local businesses and at events at Central Park. This year volunteers from 360 Communities' youth group will push shopping carts to pick up donations during the July 27 parade.

Leprechaun Days president Diane Wellman said donations vary greatly from year to year. But she said there is a lot of need at the food shelves during the summer.

"It's really bare this time of year," she said. "People forget that kids don't get that opportunity to get a meal at school."

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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