Gin Blossoms headline Merritt Days in Mountain Iron

Gin Blossoms at Merritt Days

This week the Iron Range city of Mountain Iron holds its annual celebration of Merritt Days, a series of fun summer events and live music in the “first city” of the Mesabi Iron Range.

The event is named in honor of the Duluth and Iron Range family that opened up the Mesabi Iron Range for logging and mining 125 years ago. While they lost their claims on the fortunes amid the forests of Northern Minnesota to the robber barons out East, the Merritts were nevertheless the inspiration that brought many people here to explore and settle the land.

In recent years, Merritt Days has come to be known for booking a band that would have been a very big deal when I was in high school. This year’s band is the Gin Blossoms. I don’t have any ready Gin Blossoms jokes or memories, so feel free to add your own in the comments.

Today, Mt. Iron hosts a free community picnic at the community center on Highway 169 between 4-7 p.m. Live music including the bands Pulse and Bittersweet. Full barbecue meal with bouncing house, cotton candy, popcorn, slushes, free photo booth sessions and balloon animals. “Open to all past, present and future Mt. Iron residents.”

On Wednesday, the city hosts activities downtown featuring the Amazing Charles comedy and magic show at 5 p.m., the Casey Aro show at 6 and Ron E. Cash at 7 p.m. Other activities include a bouncy house, popcorn, slushes, cotton candy, and other concessions.

On Thursday, the first ever Taste of Mountain Iron event will be held at the community center on Highway 169 from 4-7 p.m. (Admission $8). Visitors may try more than 30 Iron Range ethnic foods. At 7 p.m., the Blue Tear Drops will play live music of the 1950s-1970s in downtown Mt. Iron.

Friday heats up with a multitude of activities held downtown. From 4-6 p.m., cash bingo will be at the Mt. Iron Senior Center. At 6 p.m. there will be bean bag tournament at the American Legion while an all-class choir concert will be performed simultaneously at the high school gym. At 7 p.m., the band Yellow Journalism Submarine will play (featuring the Great Northern Radio Show’s own Jason Scorich). From 9 p.m. to midnight Kutdown will perform.

On Saturday, a pancake breakfast will be held downtown at at the senior center. At 9 a.m., a wooden bat softball tournament kicks off. From 9-11 a.m. there is a fire department open house on Slate Street.

Registration for the 5K/10K run and walk starts at 8, and that also begins at 9 a.m.

From noon to 5 p.m. the Mountain Iron Public Library will hold an open house. Also at noon a car show starts on Main Street, with a noon-4 p.m. kids corner. Bingo resumes from 1-3 p.m. The band Cowboy Angel Blue will play at 1 p.m. Preston Gunderson will perform at 3 p.m. The main street parade lines up at 4 p.m. with a 4:30 start.

In recent years, Merritt Days has come to be signified by its Saturday night combination of live music and fireworks. At 5 p.m. Vitamin Brown performers, followed by the Christopher David Hansen Band at 8 p.m. The fireworks are at dusk, followed by the the 1990s super band Gin Blossoms.


  1. Janet Hodnik says

    On which day, do the Gin Blossoms play?

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