Rondo Days is an annual weekend festival held in mid-July in Saint Paul, Minnesota that commemorates the Rondo neighborhood, an African-American community that was split in two by the construction of Interstate 94 in the mid-1960s. The festival has grown since its inception in 1982 to become the second largest African American sponsored festival in Minnesota.
Events that are held include a parade that is located on the old Rondo neighborhood that features a parade in the daytime where a number of drill teams participate prior to the evening's drill team competition.Also people from the community come and join to watch and have a fun time.
Drill Team Competition
The drill team competition is a highly anticipated event during the Rondo Days festival as several drill teams and drum lines, all of them having some kind of connection with the Rondo neighborhood, and from different locations across the United States, meet at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium located in downtown Saint Paul's Rivercentre in the evening. These drill teams and drum lines will perform in a somewhat similar manner to speech competitions. Each drill team is allowed only one 9:00 minute session which is then critiqued by a panel of judges, however, a team will be allowed to start over in the case of an unexpected interruption, such as a lighting failure. In 2005, a drum-off was added, where teams in sets of 4 would have 4:00 minutes to showcase their routine. Also in 2005, one of the most popular drill teams from Saint Paul, known as the "Half-Pintz", were forced to take a bye after winning the drill team competition for the previous three consecutive years. The Half-Pintz elected to be an exhibition group in 2006 to avoid criticism from out of state teams that the competition was being "fixed" in the home team's favor.
The Rondo Days festival has dealt with some problems in its history. In the 2004 drill team competition, a fight erupted in one of the auditorium's concession stand and ballooned to the point where police used mace to quell the fighting. This nearly led to the cancellation of the event, but the decision was later rescinded by the President of the Rondo Days festival (although he did warn the event would be stopped if another fight were to occur). The fight began in the middle of a Kansas City drill team's routine, and the team was granted a restart.
- Gill, N.S. "Rondo Days". About.com. About, Inc., The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2007-09-30.