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Racing through History: Celebrating Dan Patch Days Community and Tradition

Every year, the city of Savage, Minnesota, comes alive with the vibrant celebration of Dan Patch Days, a festival that has deep roots in the local heritage and community spirit. Named after Dan Patch, the legendary racehorse who set the world pacing record in 1906, the festival honors this equine celebrity who captivated the nation and brought fame to Savage. The event not only celebrates this historical figure but also fosters community pride and brings together residents and visitors for a weekend filled with fun, food, and festivity.

Dan Patch Days is more than just a local festival; it’s a culmination of community effort and celebration that dates back to its inception in 1953. After a brief hiatus in the late ’70s and early ’80s, the festival was revived by passionate citizens, making it a hallmark of community resilience and celebration​.

The festival spans several days and features a variety of events that cater to all ages, making it a perfect gathering spot for families, friends, and visitors. From thrilling live performances by local bands and artists to family-friendly activities like inflatables and a business expo, Dan Patch Days offers something for everyone. The event is managed by a dedicated committee of volunteers from the Savage/Prior Lake area, emphasizing its community-driven nature.

Dan Patch Days 2024

June 20-24, 2024
13500 Dakota Ave S.
Savage, MN 55378

Schedule of Events
Festival Website

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While the festival grounds of Dan Patch Days offer plenty of excitement, the city of Savage itself is a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be explored. Venturing beyond the hustle and bustle of the event reveals a quieter, charming side of Savage, filled with quaint eateries, lush parks, and unique local shops. Each corner of the city offers its own story, inviting festival-goers to discover the rich history and vibrant community life that thrive year-round. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or retail enthusiast, Savage provides an array of delightful spots that enhance the festive experience and make every visit memorable.


McHugh’s Public House

5715 Egan Dr, Savage, MN 55378

Tucked away in the heart of Savage, McHugh’s Public House is a beloved local favorite that exudes a warm, inviting atmosphere reminiscent of a traditional Irish pub. Known for its hearty comfort food and an impressive selection of beers and spirits, McHugh’s is the perfect spot to unwind after a day at Dan Patch Days. Whether you’re in the mood for a juicy burger, fish and chips, or just a pint of the finest ale, McHugh’s delivers with both quality and charm. The friendly staff and cozy decor make every visit feel like you’re stepping into a slice of Ireland right in Savage.

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Que Taco

5741 Egan Dr, Savage, MN 55378

Que Taco brings a vibrant taste of Mexican cuisine to Savage with its colorful decor and an authentic menu that promises to delight. From freshly made tacos and enchiladas to rich, flavorful salsas, every dish is a testament to traditional Mexican cooking. The restaurant prides itself on using high-quality, fresh ingredients, ensuring that each bite is as flavorful as it is satisfying. Perfect for family dining or a casual meet-up with friends, Que Taco offers a festive dining experience that complements the joyful spirit of Dan Patch Days.

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Buffalo Tap

4990 123rd St W, Savage, MN 55378

Buffalo Tap is a rustic eatery in Savage that specializes in American comfort food with a twist. Known for its extensive menu featuring everything from gourmet burgers and ribs to wild game, it’s a culinary adventure for the daring diner. The friendly, laid-back atmosphere makes it a great spot to relax and enjoy a meal with friends or family. With its emphasis on quality and local ingredients, Buffalo Tap not only serves up delicious food but also supports local farmers and producers, making it a community hub in its own right during Dan Patch Days and beyond.

May dan patch days - Skybrant Web Solutions

Coffee Shop & Bakery

Dunn Brothers

5801 Egan Dr, Savage, MN 55378

Dunn Brothers Coffee in Savage offers a unique blend of franchise consistency and local charm. As part of a franchise known for its commitment to freshly roasted coffee, the Savage location maintains this standard by roasting their beans right on site, ensuring each cup is as fresh as possible. Despite being part of a larger chain, each Dunn Brothers store is locally owned, allowing it to tailor its atmosphere and offerings to the community it serves. This local ownership means that while you enjoy the familiar quality of Dunn Brothers, you’re also supporting a local business that’s deeply invested in the community’s welfare. The cozy setting and the aroma of freshly roasted coffee make it an ideal spot for both relaxation and rejuvenation during the bustling Dan Patch Days or any day of the year.

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Outdoor Activities

Hidden Valley Park

5020 W 132nd St, Savage, MN 55378

Nestled within Savage, Hidden Valley Park offers a peaceful retreat with its 45 acres of natural beauty, perfect for those looking to take a breather from the bustling Dan Patch Days festivities. The park features meandering trails that invite you for a leisurely stroll, and the gentle flow of the Credit River adds a soothing backdrop to a day spent outdoors. With amenities like picnic shelters and a playground, it’s an ideal spot for families to unwind. If the excitement of the festival becomes overwhelming, Hidden Valley Park provides a serene escape where nature’s calm can rejuvenate your spirits, allowing you to return to Dan Patch Days refreshed and ready to enjoy more of the fun.

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Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

15501 Murphy Lake Blvd, Savage, MN 55378

Just a stone’s throw from the lively atmosphere of Dan Patch Days, Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve offers a spectacular change of pace for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. This expansive park is well-known for its challenging mountain bike trails that cater to both novice and experienced riders seeking adventure amid the beauty of Savage’s natural landscapes. Additionally, the park features a dedicated dog park where your furry friends can run free and socialize, making it a great spot for pet owners. Whether you’re pedaling through the wooded trails or watching your pup enjoy their freedom, Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve is a fantastic spot to reconnect with nature. If you find yourself needing a break from the festival’s excitement, this park provides the perfect natural escape during Dan Patch Days, allowing you to recharge in the tranquility of the great outdoors.

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Cleary Lake Regional Park

18106 Texas Ave, Prior Lake, MN 55372

Cleary Lake Regional Park is another gem near Savage that promises a delightful escape during Dan Patch Days, especially for those who appreciate both leisure and adventure. The park is home to a well-maintained nine-hole golf course, offering a relaxing golfing experience surrounded by scenic vistas—a perfect way to unwind and enjoy some peaceful time outdoors. For water enthusiasts, Cleary Lake itself is a haven for fishing, and the park offers rentals for canoes, paddleboards, and pedal boats, providing various ways to explore the water at your own pace. Additionally, the park’s camping facilities are ideal for those who wish to extend their stay and immerse themselves fully in the beauty of the area. Whether you’re teeing off on the green, gliding across the lake, or cozying up by a campfire, Cleary Lake Regional Park enhances the Dan Patch Days experience with its array of outdoor activities.

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Camp Savage

12329 Xenwood Ave, Savage, MN 55378

Camp Savage is a modest yet significant landmark in the city, offering a unique historical perspective right in the heart of Savage. While there isn’t much to see beyond the historical marker, taking a moment to read about the site’s past provides a deep appreciation for the area’s role during World War II as an important military intelligence school. This brief stop can be a poignant reminder of the rich history that shapes the community, making it a meaningful detour during your Dan Patch Days adventure.

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Heritage Museum

13090 Alabama Ave So; Savage, MN 55378

The Heritage Room, nestled within the Savage Branch of the Scott County Library System, stands as a captivating showcase of the city’s storied past. Established in 1997 through a collaborative effort between the library system, the City of Savage, and the Dan Patch Historical Society, this space was intentionally included in the new public library’s design to celebrate Savage’s rich history. Upon entering, visitors are greeted by a display featuring a sulky and a Dan Patch wagon, alongside artifacts from the International Stock Food Farm. Deeper into the room, two display cases house an array of intriguing items such as the M.W. Savage catalog, commemorative buttons from each Dan Patch Days, stationary, and various memorabilia including horseshoes, a Dan Patch collector whiskey bottle, a tobacco tin, and items from notable local entities like Cargill and Camp Savage. This museum offers a profound glimpse into the heritage that shaped Savage, making it a worthwhile visit for those attending Dan Patch Days who are eager to connect with the historical essence of the area.

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Local Shopping

Mainstream Boutique

14025 State Hwy 13, Savage, MN 55378

During your visit to Dan Patch Days, don’t miss out on a delightful shopping experience at Mainstream Boutique in Savage. This charming local boutique offers a unique and personal shopping experience with a carefully curated selection of women’s clothing and accessories that blend the latest trends with classic styles. Whether you’re looking for a fresh outfit for the festival or a special gift, Mainstream Boutique provides exceptional service and style advice to help you find just what you need. With its friendly atmosphere and distinctive fashion offerings, a stop at Mainstream Boutique is sure to enhance your Dan Patch Days experience, adding a touch of local flavor and flair to your day.

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Savage Farmers Market

4800 West 123rd Street Savage, MN 55378

Nestled in the heart of Savage, the local iteration of the St. Paul Farmers Market brings a slice of regional charm to the community, especially during Dan Patch Days. Although the Savage Farmers Market hasn’t been around as long as its St. Paul counterpart, it embodies the same spirit of local pride and commitment to freshness and quality. Here, you can explore a variety of stalls featuring produce, baked goods, and handcrafted items, all sourced from within 100 miles. This focus on local sourcing not only supports surrounding agricultural and craft communities but also offers festival-goers and residents a taste of the area’s best, right in their backyard. The market provides a perfect opportunity to enjoy the local flavors and crafts of Savage, enhancing the community-focused atmosphere of Dan Patch Days

May dan patch days - Skybrant Web Solutions

Embracing the Full Savage Experience During Dan Patch Days

Dan Patch Days in Savage offers a vibrant tapestry of activities that go beyond the traditional festival fare, providing a unique opportunity to explore and appreciate the local community and its hidden gems. The festival itself is a testament to the rich history and community spirit of Savage, celebrating the legacy of the legendary racehorse Dan Patch in a lively atmosphere filled with music, food, and fun. However, stepping beyond the festival grounds opens up a world of local attractions—from tranquil parks like Hidden Valley and Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve, offering peaceful nature escapes and active adventures, to cultural enrichments at the Heritage Room within the Savage Library, where the town’s history comes alive through fascinating exhibits.

As Dan Patch Days ignite the city with excitement, visitors are encouraged to delve deeper into what Savage has to offer. Explore local eateries such as McHugh’s Public House for a taste of Ireland or sample the fresh, locally sourced offerings at the Savage Farmers Market. Take a moment to unwind at Cleary Lake Regional Park, perhaps enjoying a round of golf or paddling across the calm waters. Each of these destinations contributes to the overall charm and appeal of Savage, ensuring that both residents and visitors can experience the full breadth of what this wonderful community has to offer. Whether you’re here for the festival or seeking a weekend getaway, Savage promises a memorable experience rich with local flavor and community pride.

As you explore Savage during Dan Patch Days, you encounter the city’s warm hospitality and the tight-knit community atmosphere that makes this event a highlight of the year. It’s a time when the city’s history, culture, and community spirit are on full display, inviting everyone to partake in the joy and community pride that Dan Patch Days brings to Savage, MN.

About the Author, Adam Johnson

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