9/12/2017 1:21:00 PM Harvest Fest ready for 20th anniversary, a close to a two decade DC tradition
By Karen M. Jorgensen
Harvest Fest comes to Main Street in Dodge Center for the last time this weekend as the event gets ready for its final year. After 20 years, Ron and Marilyn Papenfus and the rest of the Harvest Fest Committee have decided it's time to move on to other things.
Papenfus said he is one of the only original committee members still around and that it is time to slow down a little.
That doesn't mean that Harvest Fest has slowed down this year.
Many familiar favorites are back as well as a few new ones, Pappenfus said.
Activities get under way Friday at 4 p.m. when the food and beverage stands open. Tae Kwon Do demonstrations are scheduled for 6 p.m. and bean bags at 6:30 p.m.
Category 5 will be providing the musical entertainment under the tent from 8 p.m. to midnight.
A full day of entertainment is scheduled for Saturday beginning with a Tractor Show from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a book sale at the library from 9 a.m. to noon. Although it is not definite, Papenfus said, some of the tractors may be available to drive past Fairview Care Center for the residents to view.
Another special event for Saturday, is the dedication of the new dugout at the softball field from 9 a.m. to noon. At 9:15 a ribbon cutting will be held. A representative of the Minnesota Twins is expected to be in attendance, Papenfus said.
The United Methodist Church will be home to the annual Quilt Show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Food and beverage stands open at 11 a.m. and throughout the afternoon there will be a youth activities, face painting bingo, tractor games, a hula hoop competition, garden and garden tractor pull.
Raffle tickets are available for $5 with 13 prizes given away at the conclusion of the evening entertainment by Troubleshooter.
Top prize will be $500 with other prizes including two sets of Vikings vs. Ravens tickets, two sets of Twins vs. Tigers tickets, two $250 prizes, four prizes of $100 and two of $50.
Food will be available all weekend including Dodge County 4H selling pop and candy. The Harvest Fest Committee stand selling Black Angus burgers will also be open.
Sunday will start with breakfast at the Dodge Center Legion from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with the car show scheduled 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
DJ Kenny will be providing music 9 a.m. to noon and the food and beverage stands will be open 10 a.m. to noon.
Beginning and highlights
The original idea for Harvest Fest was to have a family-type gathering on Main Street, Papenfus said.
"We've had a lot of ups and downs over the years," Papenfus said, "but we've worked through them."
There have been a variety of events through the years, he said, including fireworks, dog shows, outhouse races, toilet paper shooter, sumo wrestlers, a Titanic slide for the kids and mechanical bull riding. One year, he said, they even gave away a horse.
For years, he said, the 60 x 180 foot tent was located right on Main Street between Harold's Club and the City Hall but that had to be moved after redoing the street made the width incompatible with the tent width.
Weather has played a part, he said, and although some years have seen rain, the event has never been totally rained out and activities were always able to continue under the tent.
The ice cream sandwich-eating contest got its start, Papenfus said, when someone told him they could eat two or three ice cream sandwiches in a minute.
"So I went down to Kwik Trip and bought sandwiches," Papenfus said.
There also was the People Pull, he said, where two guys had to pull two gals and an additional 180 pounds of weight over a 30 foot course.
Papenfus and the Minnesota Vikings Mascot Ragnar competed in that event with Pappenfus insisting he and Ragnar won.
Ragnar was very popular with the crowd, Papenfus said, and everyone, including the youngsters were very respectful of him.
"The kids respected him," Papenfus said, "and he taught them respect."
"We made it a community event for so many years," he said.
But with all the planning that goes in to Harvest Fest he said it was simply time for him, his wife, and the other committee members to step back.
Posted: Wednesday, September 13, 2017
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