Did you hear?
Crazy Days is back.
Thirty years ago, folks flocked to 34th Avenue for the annual event on the first weekend of August. Bringing back a beloved East Nokomis tradition of sidewalk sales, music, good food and fun seemed like the perfect way to celebrate after a tough year, so local businesses started meeting in June to plan a rebirth of the event.
“This is a great neighborhood that has been so supportive and welcoming to our business and others. Bringing new life to an old tradition like Crazy Days is a way to get neighbors together to celebrate,” remarked Bull’s Horn co-owner Amy Greeley. She and her husband revamped the longtime Sunrise Inn (4563 S. 34th Ave.) in 2017, and also run Sandcastle at Lake Nokomis beach.
“Life has been hard and hopefully an event like this can be a time to relax and have fun. Walk out your door, see some music, talk to a neighbor, find a new favorite business, enjoy some food in an easy and positive environment.”
Bull’s Horn is collaborating with nearby Venn Brewing (3550 E 46th St.) on a special Crazy Days brew. Get a taste during their parking lot fish fry on Saturday from 1-5 p.m. Flashback to the 90s with rounds of musical chairs. Plus, there will be music at Bull’s Horn by DJ Truckstache along with other games and activities.
On Sunday, Sandcastle at Lake Nokomis’ main beach from noon to 6 p.m. will have live music and vendor tables, along with a yoga class by Fit to Live.
Dog rescue and music
Nokomis Shoe Shop (4950 S 34th Ave.) kept the memory of Crazy Days alive, continuing its annual sidewalk sale for the past three decades.
Talking to folks there gave Mike Welsh of Nokomis Tattoo (4933 S. 34th Ave.) the idea of bringing back Crazy Days in a big way. Welsh and his wife have lived in the neighborhood since 2013, opened their business in 2019, and are active in the Nokomis East Business Association (NEBA).
“It sounded like a great thing for Nokomis East in the past so why wouldn’t we want to bring it back?” Welsh asked. “Bringing people together all over Nokomis East and beyond to celebrate all things Nokomis is an awesome thing.”
Nokomis Tattoo is partnering with Under Dog Rescue on Saturday from 1-4 p.m. Meet your next pet, and start the adoption process. Folks can also chat with foster dog parents, buy snacks and gear for themselves and their pets, and learn more about the organization. Under Dog Rescue is one of three organization that Welsh and his wife do what they can to support, and that includes holding dog rescue events on a regular basis.
“Both of our dogs are rescues and it’s an important cause to my wife and I,” remarked Welsh. They adopted Cricket, their pit bull, from Under Dog eight years ago. Eleven-year-old Oliver, a boxer, is also a rescue dog. There’s a mural on the side of their building that features both of their dogs.
Nokomis Tattoo, Nokomis Surplus and MKT Law are hosting the kickoff event for Crazy Days on Friday from 5-9:30 p.m., which also happens to be the next in NEBA’s Outdoor Concert Series. Catch Miguel Goebel from 5-5:30 p.m., and acoustic guitar vocal duo Oake and Paine from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Doug Collins and Rob Genadek take to the stage with their mix of Beatle-esque pop and classic country from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Welsh’s wife, Jackie, is working on compiling the history of the buildings and businesses in the area, and she’s looking for interesting tidbits from folks.
The couple volunteers regularly with NEBA.
“Let me quote Jennie from the Workshop. ‘When one of us does better, we all do better.’ I’m a strong believer that if the businesses around mine do well then I have a better chance of doing well,” observed Welsh. “Last year when COVID-19 hit, NEBA did a t-shirt fundraiser to help some of the businesses that were decimated by the pandemic. The community came together and purchased a lot of shirts. If you look around our area we lost very few businesses in the last 18 months compared to other places. I feel there’s probably a connection.
“We’re very lucky to have such a supportive grass roots community.”
Welsh added, “My favorite thing about Nokomis East is how many working class people have made this their home for decades. I’ve tattooed all across the U.S. and there’s never been one community like Nokomis East. I’ve unfortunately seen places where working class people have been pushed out of an area through gentrification. I’m a newer resident and only lived in the area for eight years, but I absolutely love how many people have kept their homes and made this the place they want to raise a family.
“I love all things Nokomis.”
So does Greeley, who points to the good work being done by the local business association. “NEBA has been an important way to connect with other businesses, share resources, work on projects like this and stay connected to our community,” she observed.
“In recent years, NEBA has been trying to find fresh new ways to support our area businesses and the community. This effort became even more critical given the challenges we’ve all faced during the pandemic,” remarked NEBA Co-President Heidi Van Heel of hvh Engage!, who started a home-based business after working in public television for 14 years. “We started with a T-shirt sale fundraiser and ‘Nokomis Treasures’ medallion hunt last January. However, we knew from the very beginning of the shutdown that we wanted to have a special celebration as soon as we could, and when we learned about the Crazy Days legacy, we thought it was a perfect opportunity.”
She added, “It’s not easy running a business, pandemic or not. NEBA is a volunteer-run organization that is open to storefront, home-based, and service organizations. By working together, we can build a stronger, richer, and more vibrant community. You can learn more about NEBA by visiting nokomiseastba.com.”
There’s a lot happening along 34th on Saturday. Eat great food, drink local beer, take classes, and chat with artists as you stroll along the main avenue Of course, Nokomis Shoe Shop will be holding its three-day sidewalk sale.
The third generation McDonald’s Liquor (5010 S. 34th Ave.) is hosting wine tastings and a raffle from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, and is partnering with Town Hall Brewery across the street on beer pours. “We support bringing back Crazy Days to strengthen relationships with our patrons and local businesses,” remarked Nick Daugherty of McDonald’s. He’s glad to celebrate togetherness after a tough 2020.
“I love the myriad of options for dining, shopping and having a great day outside, but the people are what make this neighborhood so great,” Daugherty pointed out.
“Crazy Days is something that brought the neighborhood together,” remarked Mehtab Taylor of Town Hall (5019 S. 34th Ave.), a place known for its award-winning beer and entertainment. “After all that we have been through in the last one and a half years community is important more than ever. It really brought all the businesses and neighbors together and made us family.”
Parking lot parties at McDonald’s, Town Hall, Casa Maria (5001 S. 34th Ave.) and Oxendale’s (5025 S. 34th Ave.) will feature artists, home-based businessess, community groups, churches and more. Don’t miss A Great Pottery Throwdown at the Workshop (5004 S. 34th Ave.) on Saturday from 10-11:30 a.m. and classes at PaddleSculpt (5007 S 34th Ave.) in morning.
Grande Sunrise (5554 S. 34th Ave.) will have inflatables and specials, Nokomis Surplus (4935 S. 34th Ave.) is holding a three-day sale, Tipsy Steer (5000 Hiawatha Ave.) will have a lunchtime crawfish/seafood boil, Nokomis Hardware is giving away temporary tattoos (5155 S. 34th Ave,.) and you can get a free donut hole at Mel-O-Glaze (4800 S. 28th Ave.).
Learn about herbalism, farming and mushroom growing at the area’s new plant shop, Agrarian Seed and Garden (5152 Hiawatha Ave.) on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Find the complete schedule in the sidebar and at Nokomis.Rocks.
And mark your schedule for next year. Venn, Town Hall and others are already talking about a bigger, better beer collaboration.
“We think that everyone who lives, works, and owns a business in Nokomis East realizes that our neighborhood is special,” stated Van Heel. “Our hope is that by bringing this much-loved event back, we can continue strengthening the connections people have to the area.”