Big Friend Little Friend gearing up to host jam-packed Memorial Weekend in Mitchell, veterans to be honored

Among the activities that are planned for Saturday’s event include a cornhole tournament, poker run and a car show.

A group of people browse at the classic cars and trucks during the 2018 Memorial Weekend in Mitchell car show on Saturday in downtown Mitchell.
A group of people browse at the classic cars and trucks during the 2018 Memorial Weekend in Mitchell car show on Saturday in downtown Mitchell.
Sam Fosness / Republic

MITCHELL — With a jam-packed slate of events and good weather in the forecast, Saturday’s Memorial Weekend in Mitchell will have the south end of Main Street hopping.

In its second year hosting Memorial Weekend in Mitchell, the Mitchell area Big Friend Little Friend organization is bringing a full day of family fun activities to downtown Mitchell to kickoff this year’s Memorial Day holiday.

Among the activities that are planned include a cornhole tournament, poker run and a car show. In the spirit of Memorial Day, a veterans recognition program will take place toward the end of the event to honor all military veterans.

“We are very excited for the event and hope to see a big turnout like we did last year. We had around 1,000 people attend last year’s Memorial Weekend in Mitchell,” Big Friend Little Friend Executive Director Linda McEntee said.

The veteran program will also honor Mitchell military veteran Martin Christensen, who was chosen by Big Friend Little Friend as this year’s featured veteran. Paul Muth will also be honored during the award program as this year’s Big Friend Little Friend mentor of the year.


The nonprofit organization provides local youth with an adult mentor who engages in activities throughout each year. As Big Friend Little Friend continues to see growth, McEntee highlighted how vital the community support is for the organization to continue fostering youth in the right direction.

“Providing a mentor to a child who is a positive role model really helps our community in the long run. If we get to our young people while they are young, we are going to have a better community,” McEntee said. “Our mentors help our youth learn how to overcome challenges. The kids need the community’s support, and we are fortunate to have had that.”

McEntee said Memorial Weekend in Mitchell is one of the organization’s biggest fundraisers. After raising $12,000 during last year’s event, McEntee said she’s hopeful to see continued community support on Saturday.

The kid’s tractor pull competition will kick off at 11:30 a.m. on the south end of Main Street near The Depot. Kids ages 4-12 are eligible to participate in the competition that is free to register in.

The 92-mile poker run will also begin at 11:45 a.m. with a bike blessing. The car show is slated to take place from noon to 4 p.m. followed by an awards ceremony at 4:30 p.m.

New to this year’s event will be the social cornhole tournament that begins at 1 p.m. McEntee said the tournament structure will feature singles and doubles matchups. The cornhole tournament entry fee for doubles is $20, while the singles fee is $10. A 50% payout will be awarded to the winners of the tournament.

There will be plenty of food options on Saturday, as McEntee said six food trucks and vendors will be set up along the south end of Main Street.

A local couple, Jessica Callies and J Shelley, will be playing live music during Saturday’s event, bringing bluegrass and Indie sounds to downtown Mitchell.


Forecasters are calling for a sunny 90-degree day Saturday. McEntee said the weather is panning out to make way for a great event.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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