Who’s coming back to town?

Organizers plan events to keep families entertained throughout the festival

Photo by Sabrina Pankratz Kids enjoyed playing on the seesaw made out of a tractor at Glenn’s Antique Tractor Show at Balaton’s Fun Fest Saturday.

BALATON — Fun Fest organizers say they enjoy seeing who comes back to town, and that’s why they volunteer.

“We’ve seen it evolve in to an event that families come back home for. They are appreciative of the fact that there is a festival and there’s something to do when they get here,” said Julie Erickson, Balaton Chamber of Commerce president and Fun Fest coordinator.

On Saturday, Fun Fest featured events all day for the Balaton community to enjoy, such as a fun run, an antique tractor show and kiddie parade. According to Becky Germscheid and Jill Gilman, who grew up in Balaton and volunteered to run the Games to Go Inflatables booth at Lion’s Park, many people originating from Balaton will come back for the festivities.

Erickson said she has been involved in the planning of Fun Fest since the very beginning.

“I was involved before it was Fun Fest. We had a grant for our park, and we needed a celebration to go along with it. And I was involved with that initial one somewhat, and I’ve been involved with it ever since,” Erickson said.

Erickson said that Fun Fest has evolved in to a festival that people within the community plan different events, such as Glenn’s Antique Tractor Show, which was originally started by Glenn Mitzner.

“We’ve gotten to the point where some people just have their events and plan them, and we just coordinate,” Erickson said.

Erickson said that unlike past years, carnival organizers brought a new kid’s event to the community — Wendy’s Wiggle, Jiggle and Jam.

“We always have a kiddie parade and a kids’ event. This year we decided to do something different, so we contacted local libraries and found out about programs they have. She was listed as one of the programs, and we thought well, we’ll have her come down and do something different,” Erickson said.

Erickson said the Fun Fest committee starts planning the events that make up Fun Fest a year ahead time.

“When this is done, the acts that we know want to come back, our main entertainment for Friday night, our events for the kids, we book.” Erickson said.

“It’s our town celebration, it brings families together, brings people home for the weekend,” said Marla Anderson, Fun Fest committee member.

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