THE LEGEND OF JOHN & PATCH
In 1886, John Feltl, Jr. became the father of the raspberry industry in Hopkins, Minnesota, by devising a way to help raspberry plants survive Minnesota’s harsh winters. Fetl survived many a harsh winter himself; he lived on his farm near Shady Oak Lake for 95 years.
In 1922, the day the Feltls hauled 248 cases of raspberries to Commission Row in Minneapolis, a legend was born because of a promise John had made to a local grocer.
What follows is the story of John Feltl, Jr. and his prized bull, Patch, as told to Dr. Pete L’Allier at the Hopkins Best Steak House in 1995 by an unnamed grandson of John Feltl. Jr.
It was two o’clock on a Saturday morning in 1922. Feltl had just finished loading 248 cases of raspberries onto buggies that were to be drawn by horse to Commission Row in Minneapolis. But John had a problem. The day before, he had promised a good friend who owned the grocery store in downtown Hopkins that he would bring him 10 cases of raspberries. But since this was the largest harvest he had ever prepared for Commission Row, all his buggies were overloaded and spoken for.
After the caravan of buggies left the farm early that morning, John devised a plan to make good on his promise to his friend. He put an ox yoke onto his bull, Patch, and tied it to an old harvesting cart so he could pull the 10 cases the two miles into town.
His plan worked perfectly . . . at first. He led Patch into downtown Hopkins with the harvesting cart in tow. As they made their way slowly down Mainstreet, the locals greeted them with waves, laughter and even a few cheers. It wasn’t every day they saw a bull pulling a cart of raspberries down Mainstreet!
Alas, a worker who hadn’t seen them coming threw an empty five-gallon tin bucket from the second floor of the Albert Pike Masonic lodge onto the sidewalk. The loud crash made Patch spook and he bolted free from John’s lead. John ran after Patch, desperately trying to catch him. Patch was running wildly with the harvest cart bouncing and spilling out raspberries as he went. Others joined John on the chase and soon there were a dozen people chasing the runaway bull. Patch kept running until the cart finally broke free. Then he abruptly stopped.
John and the townspeople caught up to Patch and approached him to settle him down. But Patch had other ideas. He scraped the ground with a front hoof and began chasing them. Back down Mainstreet everyone went, running for their lives. The mad dash ended when Patch ran right past the crowd and headed towards Shady Oak Lake. Upon returning to his farm on foot, John found Patch next to the barn, quietly eating grass as though nothing had ever happened. John felt terrible twice over. Poor Patch had been through a very scary experience and he didn’t deliver the 10 cases of raspberries to his friend as promised.
That evening he made things as right as he could by delivering a raspberry pie to his friend, and Patch got a nice bucket of grain.
Of course it's amazing to bask in the glory of completing the Hopkins Running of the Bulls, but you'll also be contributing to something awesome! Hopkins is the Raspberry Capital of the USA. Local businesses, Hopkins citizens and community leaders have combined their efforts to create a monument of world record proportions. The goal is to erect a statue of the world’s largest raspberry on 8th Avenue North, just north of Mainstreet near the trailhead of the Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail. At ten feet wide and eleven feet tall, this monument constructed of mostly recycled and repurposed materials will honor Hopkins rich history and serve as a landmark for visitors, residents and outdoors enthusiasts. Thank you for your support! To learn more about how to get involved or to volunteer, please click on the Sign Up tab.
15 8th Avenue North, Hopkins, Minnesota, 55343 | +1.612.508.9730 | email@example.com
CAN YOU SURVIVE?
Dressed in traditional white with a red bandana and flag hanging on your back, you will follow a half mile procession behind a bull through downtown Hopkins while being cheered on by a massive crowd of spectators. The energy is high as you and the crowd begin to anticipate the spectacle to come. The mayor delivers a proclamation in honor of the father of the raspberry industry in Hopkins and to signify the start of the Raspberry Festival. The mayor lights a rocket and the race starts with a thunderous boom that resonates through the entire town. You take off on a mad dash with the other runners. You can't fall behind the bull that's following crowd and you have to try and avoid getting the red flag taken from your back by one of the fast and relentless El Toros (Bull Runners dressed in red). If you make it to the finish line with your flag still hanging gloriously on your back, you have survived the Hopkins Running of the Bulls! An awards ceremony follows and then the San Fermin style party gets started complete with live music, beer and food! You don't want to miss this event!