St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Polk County Fair

With Lucky Days over (served nearly 1000 aebleskivers and had about 400 visitors to the museum), Margo and I shift our volunteer help to the Polk County Fair Thursday-Sunday of this week.  
I was so busy, I forgot to take out my camera and take photos of the event!  I offered training for a PhD degree in Aebleskiver Rolling -- how to make and bake them for beginners.   About 10 degrees awarded (only $2 tuition, and credit for life experience--GI benefits not accepted).  Margo worked with many other volunteers working in the kitchen preparing these labor intensive pancake balls the Danish find so delicious.  

The Sterling Eureka and Laketown Historical Society, headquartered in the Cushing Heights, is hosting the 160 year old Red School house on the Polk County Fair Grounds.  

That means--cleaning it, setting up several new displays (Town Baseball and Immigration themes), scheduling folks to volunteer to greet visitors (three 4-hour shifts each day), keeping the free ice water and cookies stocked, putting in the air conditioner, and so on.  We hope to have an old tractor or two from James Anderson outside the school house too. 

We have helped out many years--probably every year since 2006 since we retired and the last time the Cushing group hosted the museum.  We meet lots of our old friends and enjoy listening to their stories of the old one room school days. 
Checking maple syrup density at the Polk Co Fair

 The logistics include getting the people scheduled; getting and distributing free entry tickets for them; and of course setup and takedown.  But, as we devote the whole week to the fair, it is sort of a working vacation. 

Back in the 60s (or maybe 50s) as 4-H'ers, Everett, I and Byron and Marv through FFA, exhibited our projects at the fair.   Mom always entered many baked goods, butter and art work, so the fair was a family af-fair.  In later years, brother Byron was a fair board member and pulled the camper down to the fairgrounds and he and the family stayed there much of the time.  His tragic motor-cycle deer accident in July of 2002 took him away from us. 

So, today Margo goes to the fairgrounds to pick up the tickets for volunteers and if possible a key for the school house for the week.  Keys and tickets must be pried loose from the powers-that-be with delicacy, firmness, and luck.  Sometimes that seems like the most difficult part of the whole process.  We could put in a bill for hours covering the school house, but choose to cover it with volunteers, saving the fair society a lot of money--but free tickets are a pain--so Margo will use her skills to see what we can get this year!

Today, she heads to the fair while I spend my usual Monday afternoon at the Luck Museum in the newly opened Ravenholt Family History Research Center helping folks with genealogy.  This is the monthly meeting day for the Polk County Genealogical Society which includes a 10am-11:30 beginning genealogy class; help for drop in folks 1-4 pm and the PCGS meeting at 1 pm.  

Today, PCGS is discussing which records or information in Polk County are the most useful for us to photograph and organize to help folks with genealogy.   It is tricky, as there are copyright laws, government rules for access to records, organizations may choose to limit access to church or cemetery records and so on.  We have some funding from the Ravenholt grant to do this, have purchased the equipment (scanner and camera) and have already done some records.  

The Doc Squirt day Motorcycle Ralley in Cushing is coming up August 3rd.  Roy Henning, a local Cushingite, started a Harley Davidson Motorcycle dealership on the site of Suzy Q's, the north bar on main street, in 1911.  Suzy Q's commemorates this with the ralley.  The local history society sets up a stand with old Cushing Photos and information on Doc Squirt and Cushing in 1911 (the year the cement block creamery was built; 3 years before the bank opened, and when Cushing was thriving!). 

The biggest August event is Cushing Fun Days when the whole town celebrates.  This year the Cushing Rural Fire Department is 50 years old and is hosting a pancake breakfast ; the museum will be open along with a garden/craft/flea market at the Cushing Community center and biggest of all, the adult soap box derby where mainstreet is blocked off and dozens of derby entries coast down the hill competitively.  Probably the biggest single event in all of Polk County!