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Older, younger mix in Clarkfield’s celebration

Youth, 125th are big focus in event

June 8, 2009
By Rae Kruger

CLARKFIELD Youth was served in a town which celebrated its 125th anniversary during an annual celebration this weekend.

A group of residents younger than 50 manned and organized many of the events and many of those events were aimed at kids this weekend in the Heart of the Prairie celebration in Clarkfield.

"I think it's great," Mary Schmitt said of the youth participation as she took money at a food stand. "We need younger people to help and take over."

Article Photos

Photo by Rae Kruger
Jackie Overton of Clarkfield gets ready for the fight in a blow-up amusement game during Heart of the Prairie days in Clarkfield Friday afternoon.

Weekend events included minnow races, a kids theme park with blow-up amusement-style rides, a carnival, a planned kids pedal pull as well as activities to draw an older crowd.

"This keeps the community flowing," Jennifer Parsa said of the activities which started Thursday and ended Sunday and the willingness of a younger generation to get involved.

Jason McCoy and Adam Isaacs were in charge of this year's celebration. McCoy's girlfriend, Tera Roskens, said that drew younger volunteers.

"(McCoy) really wanted to do something for the city," Roskens said. "He wanted to have a weekend (celebration). A band, things to draw people into town."

The festival is typically held on weekdays.

Organizers used Facebook, an Internet social exchange account, to draw younger participants and folks back to Clarkfield.

A combination of some new ideas and youth involvement and the 125th appeared to work.

The evening parade has always been popular, but "I think the parade had the most people I'd ever seen," volunteer Tim Berg said.

Berg was working at the Assembly of God sponsored blow-up theme park at a city park Friday afternoon.

The theme park featured giant blow-up style rides such as slides, an obstacle course and others.

"I am very impressed with the blow-up park," Parsa said. "It's terrific."

But even the older, more familiar games drew crowds.

Parsa's son Logan Barat and Betty Severson sat across from each other to play bingo.

"I've won twice," Barat said. "She (Severson) won twice today so I better sit here."

"I didn't win yesterday," Severson said. "This is a good deal. One dollar for three cards. That's a good game."

The two players hadn't met each until bingo.

Barat moved to Clarkfield last summer and Severson has lived in Clarkfield since 1953.

Barat sat down near Severson because, "they were happy looking people."

Janet O'Malley of Montevideo brings her kids to Clarkfield nearly every year for the annual celebration.

"Clarkfield puts on a good, fun-filled event," O'Malley said. "It's nice for a small town. It's getting bigger every year. It's a lot of work to be able to put that together."

As her kids tossed water balloons, other kids bounced on amusements items at the park and still others played bingo and it looked like they all appreciated that work.



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