After taking a year off due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the 18th annual Rapids River Days Festival in Sauk Rapids is back for 2021!

The three day celebration officially gets underway on Thursday, June 24 with the Sauk Rapids Community Ambassadors Pageant at 7 p.m. It's a chance for young women between 16 and 20 years old in Sauk Rapids to compete for the title of 'Miss Sauk Rapids' and win a scholarship.

The event will be held at the Love of Christ Church  at 1971 Pine Cone Road South in St. Cloud. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-10 and kids 4 and under are free.

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Friday's festivities pick up with the Rapids River Days Parade at 6 p.m. According to the Sauk Rapids River Days website, it's 'one of the most popular parades in central Minnesota' and features more than 85 floats and 15 marching bands.

The parade route starts at 6th Avenue near Pleasantview Elementary School and ends at the Sauk Rapids-Rice Middle School. You can find a parade map here.

On Saturday, Tanner's Team Foundation is hosting a 5K/run & 1K walk/run at Bob Cross Park in Sauk Rapids. The 1K walk/run starts at 8:30 a.m. There's a 15 registration fee which includes a t-shirt. The walk is open to those 10 and under.

The 5K run and 2-mile walk kicks off at 9 a.m. and is open to all ages. There's a $25 registration fee which includes a free t-shirt.

At 11 a.m. the annual Rapids River Food Fest gets into gear at the Municipal Park on Benton Drive North. The event features over 25 food vendors serving up everything from smoked turkey legs and twisted taters to pig wings and nachos. There's also live music from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and a beer garden. Food tokens are $1 each. Beer tokens are $3 each.

Other activities are a tranquil serenity massage, inflatable BB gun range, 3 inflatable bouncers, bungee trampolines, airbrush tattoos and water wars.

The Food Fest event wraps up at 8 p.m. on Saturday night.

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