Family fun to highlight Gilbert Days

Sarina RhinehartAmes
Tribune Staff Writersrhinehart@amestrib.com
Family fun to highlight Gilbert Days

After the successful return of a Gilbert community celebration last summer, this year’s Gilbert Days is expanding to a two-day celebration, which will include a street dance, a 5K run/walk, laser tag and a memorial cruise for a beloved longtime Gilbert resident.

Last year’s Gilbert Family Fest was a one-day celebration but this year, renamed Gilbert Days, the celebration will kick off this Friday at the fire station with a pulled pork dinner, bag tournament and a street dance featuring local country artist Danny Grause.

Events for the rest of the weekend are mostly held near the fire station and high school.

“(Last year) went really well. It was well received by the community,” said event organizer Joe Loonan Jr.

Loonan said the committee behind Gilbert Days began planning in November or December to pull together the schedule of events for this weekend, which will include many of the popular events of last year with new additions, including a screening of a movie at the high school and the youth dance Saturday night.

“We had enough stuff to do two days,” he said.

Loonan said the committee decided to move the street dance from Saturday to Friday this year so that people aren’t out in the sun all day and too exhausted for the dance. Gilbert Days is also a big weekend for high school reunions, and Loonan said many have made plans to meet up Friday and then go to the dance.

One special component of this year’s Gilbert Days is a memorial cruise at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday to honor longtime Gilbert resident Lindsay Ellingson.

Ellingson died unexpectedly at the age of 67 in November. He was a Gilbert High School graduate and former Ames firefighter and member of the Gilbert fire board.

“He was a grandfather to the community, well respected,” Loonan said. “An amazing person. Everyone liked Lindsey. We are expecting a huge crowd for that.”

Loonan said hosting an annual summer celebration is a great chance for former Gilbert High graduates to return to town and catch up with old friends.

“It seems like all small towns have a yearly celebration, and we want to be a part of that,” he said. “This gives us an opportunity to come together and celebrate Gilbert.”