Whenever you see Scott Kozelka, the Mayor of the Midway, he is likely to greet you with the number of days until the Steele County Fair. Never in his wildest dreams would that number gone past 365. But with the cancellation of the 2020 fair due to the coronavirus pandemic, Kozelka has to count down to the 2021 fair.

In order to give folks a little taste of the fair and provide the Steele County American Dairy Association a chance to open up it's malt stand, the fairgrounds is hosting Drive-Thru Dairy Days June 27-28 from 10 am to 8 pm each day. In another odd twist, Kozelka finds himself asking people to not gather in groups as they enjoy a malt and food from the handful of regular Steele County Fair vendors that will also be on hand.

Vendors expected for Dairy Days:

  • Steele County ADA malt stand
  • Auntie L's, with deep fried desserts
  • El Rey Del Taco
  • Evan's Eatery, build a burger (only Sunday, June 28)
  • Godfather's Pizza
  • Kona shaved ice
  • Piggy Blues BBQ
  • Schroder's, cheese curds and corn dogs
  • Sherm's Kettle Corn
  • Tom Thumb Mini Donuts
  • Torey's Restaurant

Steele County ADA board member Gail Zollner told the Owatonna People's Press that the malt stand usually raises money for a variety of groups each summer, "The Malt Stand is basically one of our main fundraisers for the American Dairy Association, but it also serves as a fundraiser for other nonprofit groups that come in and help run it. We are just excited to be there and have an event in a safe and appropriate way, but while still giving everyone a taste of their favorite fair fare."

Members of the Steele County Dairy royalty will make an appearance during Dairy Days as well. AM 1390 KRFO radio will broadcast live from the evening on both Saturday and Sunday.

Kozelka is looking forward to the Dairy Days event. He told OPP, "We want to take some little steps toward bring the smiles back on people’s faces. We want to still be able to do what we always do up here — have fun."

During the OwatonnaLive.com "Straight Talk" program, Kozelka spoke about the drive thru graduation pictures and diploma presentation that Owatonna High School held in the Foundation Building, "It's just like being at the fair because everyone's smiling."

He also said the malt wagon would be on-site for the July 4th fireworks at the fairgrounds along with a few of the food vendors. Kozelka says the grandstand will not be open for the fireworks but people can use the green space around the fairgrounds. The Owatonna Early Edition Rotary Club presents the Patriot Skies show each year in Owatonna. Funds are now being raised for next year's presentation. You can round up your purchase at Fareway Foods and Ace Hardware in Owatonna to benefit the fireworks.