Stillwater Log Jam may be a new name for the festival hitherto known as “Lumberjack Days,” but this weekend’s event promises to be otherwise old school. After poor community response led to the festival’s cancellation in 2011, a grassroots nonprofit known as the Locals successfully petitioned the local government to resume the tradition this year, just in time for its 80th anniversary.
Now, the bill touts family-friendly events (a soap box derby, bingo, lumberjack demos) and bands (the Okee Dokee Brothers, the Cactus Blossoms)—a far cry from 2010’s video arcade and Smash Mouth.
Paul Creager, one of the festival organizers and the founder of the Square Lake Film and Music Festival, spoke with Andrea Swensson last year about the transition from Lumberjack Days to the Log Jam. “Between 1995-2010 the festival became music ticket sales driven and lost its sense of place,” he said. What he learned was that people would make the trip to Stillwater if the bill was good enough—but also that the festival should embrace its roots.
On Friday night, hometown darlings Ruben will rock the mainstage, and they are thrilled to participate in a festival they’ve attended nearly every summer. Via e-mail, Ruben member Sam Ziemer recalled the year Lynyrd Skynyrd played Lumberjack Days. “They absolutely tore the city and park up.” This weekend’s event, he hopes, will be an appreciation, rather than a desecration, of his hometown.
Friday, July 18
Teddy Bear Park
2:30 to 3 p.m. KarL AchiLLes Magic Show
3:15 to 4 p.m. Music Together
4:30 to 5:15 p.m. Crimson Horizon (Battle of the Bands winner)
5:45 to 6:30 p.m. Ruben
7 to 8 p.m. Galactic Cowboy Orchestra
8:30 to 10 p.m. Sonny Knight and the Lakers
Saturday, July 19
Teddy Bear Park
9:30 to 10 a.m. Music Together
10 to 10:30 a.m. St. Croix Chordsmen Barbershop Quartet
10:30 to 11 a.m. KarL AchiLLes Magic Show
2:15 to 2:45 p.m. KarL AchiLLes Magic Show
3 to 3:45 p.m. Music Together
1:30 to 2:15 p.m. PM Brian Miller
2:45 to 3:30 p.m. Croix Chordsmen Chorus
4:00 to 5 p.m. Thrift Store Sonata
5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The Brass Messengers
7:00 to 8 p.m. The Cactus Blossoms
8:30 to 10 p.m. Greg Brown & Bo Ramsey
Sunday, July 20
1 p.m. Parade
4 to 4:30 p.m. Blue Hazard
5 to 6 p.m. Okee Dokee Brothers
Nina Slesinger is a student at Macalester College.