OPINION

Scandinavian Days community thank you

Staff Writer
Story City Herald
Scandinavian Days community thank you

(The following “thank you” is from the co-chairs of this year’s Scandinavian Days and was supposed to have been printed in June following the event. It was inadvertently missed the past few weeks, and has now been “retrieved” and is finally published below. The Herald apologizes for the delay.)

The 51st observance of Scandinavian Days was a fantastic weekend of celebrating “A Family Tradition”. Many traditional events and locations from the past were revived and we loved seeing so many people listening to the music in the park, playing on the inflatables, wandering through the craft show, and enjoying the worship service in the park. It truly was a weekend of something for everyone.

We could not have even begun to plan and execute the weekend without the immeasurable time and effort that the core committee put in. The committee consisted of: Erica Watts, Jayme Kupka, Casey Kahl, Stacy Kilstofte, Michelle Cook, Molly Nagel, Charity Kreutz, Kathy Halleland, Jocee Lowe, Kate Feil, Craig and Nancy Sargent, Shannon and Lee Hayden, Lisa McIlrath, Barb Frohling, Rodney Bunn, Doug Ostrem, Carolyn Ahlstrom, Susan Amensen, Terry Hubby and Paul Clark. We also valued the support of the GCC Office-Shannon Hayden and Abby Huff. We truly could not have planned this weekend without the guidance and knowledge of the previous co-chairs, Nicole Engelhardt and Cindy Phelan.

The preparation for the weekend begins early and could not have been accomplished without the help of these people. John Moran, Randy Martindale and the Parks department for mowing, trimming trees and beautifying the park, Bruce Henrichs and the street crew who helped us with street closings, Jeff Ishmael and the Municipal electric department for installing new services, Brian Hafner and the Police department who advised us on numerous logistics, and especially Mark Jackson for coordinating the city team. The R-S Norsemen football team and Coach Stensland for helping to provide the muscle for moving the picnic tables, Ryerson VanWall Implement who provided the use of three gators for the weekend, Adam Wilkinson and EBY Trailers who lent us and moved the trailer used as the downtown stage and to Mark Tjernagel who towed the extra trailer in. The Underground Coffee Guys for getting the garbage cans ready and to our Boy Scouts and its Venture Crew for garbage detail all weekend. We know the garbage detail was not easy with the large crowds, but you never complained.

Our celebration started early this year on Thursday night with the addition of the Lil Mr/Miss event held at the rec center. We had 15 children participate and the judges had a difficult decision selecting the winners as all of the children were outstanding. Prizes for the event were donated by Monica Emmerson and Story City Floral, Cyclone Awards, Target, Walmart, McDonalds and the SC Dairy Queen. Thursday evening was also the opening night of Judge Story Theatrical Troupe’s production of Curtains. It was very well attended and enjoyed as the audience tried to solve the whodunit.

On Friday evening the return of the kiddie parade and the elementary heritage dancers to downtown was well received, as crowds lined the street. The kiddie parade had many entries and was spectacular to watch. Kate Hartzler announced the parade and Zach Hartzler assisted with the judging, they both did a great job. We are grateful for Jodi Friest and the RS Elementary School for continuing the tradition of teaching our elementary students the heritage dances, they are always enjoyed by all ages. The craft show also opened on Friday evening and we would like to thank Kenneth and Marjory Gookin for the use of their property. Another popular Friday night stop was the Story City Fire Department. They provided free hotdogs and fire truck rides to many excited children, and we really appreciate their involvement.

Later on Friday evening the first annual glow run for kids was held and was a huge success with 96 kids participating. It was a site to watch all of them run the Jacobson Park trail. The following people helped to make it a safe and fun event: Dawn Risdal, Robin Hink, Marcey Propp, Christie Thoreson, Shelly Ramus, Tammy Hansen, Nic Hansen, Laurie Thompson, Kaitlyn Kilstofte, Amy Rathmacher, Emily Berggren, Tyler Thompson, Wyatt Bunn, Dylan Ihle, Megan Sansgaard, Alex Retallick, Natalie Tryon, Lynette Wuebker, Megan Van Brocklin, Elli Jennings and Bruce and Seth Halleland.

Friday night’s activities are usually capped off with the fireworks display, but Mother Nature had other ideas with a sudden downpour. Terry Hubby and crew plus the Story City Firemen put a lot of time and effort in setting the fireworks up and had to redo it all again on Saturday night. Thank you for being so flexible. The display was spectacular!

The rain ended and Saturday morning dawned with perfect weather for the 5K run and parade. The Historical Society and Kate and Chris Feil always do a wonderful job organizing and running the 5K. The parade had 87 entries and was enjoyed by both young and old. It is always so nice to see the crowds lining the streets. Many families share the tradition of gathering in the same locations as they have for years to watch the parade. Assisting with the parade were Gerdena Stremick, Saul Hammond, Charity Kreutz, Erica Watts, Ashley Burns and Nicole DePenning. Thank you also to Paul Clark for announcing the parade and Riley Wilgenbusch for singing the national anthem. Our Heritage Hall, in the Community Center, opened in the morning and was busy all weekend with activities and great authentic food. We thank Carolyn Ahlstrom, Susan Amenson and the Sons for Norway for coordinating this wonderful display of culture.

On Saturday afternoon, Beckey Witthuhn, with help from her family and Loretta Parker, coordinated our always popular Kumla eating contest and new Kringla eating contest. The kumla was made and donated by the Sons of American Legion and the kringla was baked and donated by Tammy Arneson and Made with Love Bakery. This contest is always a crowd favorite and this year was no different. The kumla eating contest was actually decided by an eat-off between two young men that had already consumed 11 balls a piece. Uffda! Our newest contest, the lutefisk throw debuted after the eating contests. Molly Nagel designed and created the lutefisk and had help from Charity Kreutz, Erica Watts, Sam Sirna and Noah Krull running the contest. The object of the game was to see how far participants could heave the slightly, slimy fish down main street. The contestants thoroughly enjoyed themselves and some were even planning on practicing for next year. After the contests finished we were entertained by the Triple G Square Dance Club from Gilbert. They were fantastic to watch and we hope that they will return next year.

Spectators that were ready for a seat and some shade headed to the high school auditorium to watch the, ever popular, Bill Reilly Contest. Jill Brown continues to organize this event, and it is a favorite place to watch young rising talent. We were thrilled to have our very own committee member’s son, Heston McIlrath, qualify to compete in the state fair contest.

Down at the park on Saturday afternoon people were playing games, climbing on the inflatables, playing laser tag, riding rides, playing bingo, eating at the many food stands, getting their caricature drawn, enjoying free balloons, watching baseball, checking out the jeeps, visiting the petting zoo, and creating with Mel Shivvers. There was also a very busy group of high school students that included Kari Stephens, Isabel Sevde, Grace Teig, Lauren Hansen and Jillian Lykins who painted faces for free all afternoon. Many people enjoyed the live music that played Friday night and all day Saturday. There was a variety of music for everyone, and the bands that played were all excellent.

The live music and the beautiful setup of the beer garden could not have completed without the hard work of Jason Kupka, Chris and Lindsey Dietz, Jim Keigan, Levi Keech, Brian Kahl, Randy Kilstofte, Ron Cook, Bruce Halleland, Kara Keigan and Paul Ness who assisted in the constructing (and dismantling) of the stage and lights. Assisting in the operation of the beer garden throughout the weekend were: Jason Kupka, Brian Kahl, Mariah Keech, Levi Keech, Bambi Schrader, Jeanine and Paul Willems, John and Connie Pedersen, Val Gregori, Amy Grady, Laurie Thompson, Kim Birchmier, Kara Keigan, Lance, Angie and Kailee Keltner, John Hall, Jay Barker, Betty Grinde, Ron Cook, Ryan Doolittle and Katherine, Jamie Hetland, Rachel Hagedorn, Lane Brueland, Justin Hetland, Nathan Brownlee, Linda Young, Laura Pepin, Brian Wakefield, Jim Keigan, Levi Keech and Heath Brown. We could not have done it without them.

Sunday morning also provided us with beautiful weather and we had our first ever pancake fundraising breakfast. The meal and entertaining serving was provided by Chris Cakes. Thank you to Susan Dow, Ver Frohling, Al Hermanson, Scott Anderson, Paul Ness and Linda Young for serving the cakes. Also, that morning an outdoor church service was held in the band shell in the park. Jeff Tjelta provided the ministry and the beautiful music was contributed by Levi Faas and Kate Glenney. We had many compliments on the service and the glorious gospel music.

The tram that shuttles people from downtown to the park returned this year. We would like to thank the Hermanson Family for providing the tram, John and Karen Gookin and Gookin Ford for for loaning us the trucks to pull the tram and Chuck Semler, Kevin Keech, Dallas Kray, Dave Loupee and Mike and Brenda Lykins for donating their time to drive. We can’t forget to thank the information booth volunteers Keith Luikens, Glenda Mathre, Diane Larson, Bob Parker, Julie Gottlieb, Sonia Arellano Dodd, Denise Carlson, Karen Hermanson and Patty Hoversten. These people and businesses also contributed to the success of the weekend: Carissa Meyers, Kent Keech, Story City Comfort Inn and Compass Business Solutions, X-treme Team Tumbling, Zylstra Harley and the Iowa Wildlife Center. Please forgive us if we have forgotten to name you, we truly valued everyone’s contribution to this fantastic weekend.

This year’s celebration would not have been possible without all of the volunteers, business and individual donors and without the city of Story City supporting the celebration. We are very grateful to live in this community!

Mange tusen takk,

Diana Keech & Sherri Keigan

2016 Co-Chairs