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Pioneer Day and the Village offer much more than a quiet stroll down memory lane

“The stationary engines were a hit,” Bryan Quigley, Lake County Historical Society president, said about Kenmare’s annual Pioneer Day on Sunday. “We were grinding corn and shelling corn over there all afternoon.”

7/17/13 (Wed)


Retired and restored . . . This 1968 Steiger 4WD Super Wildcat tractor
was restored by Vern Eymann of Kenmare during the winter of 2010-2011.
The tractor belongs to Bob Mau of Kenmare and was one of three purchased
in 1968 from the new Steiger factory in Fargo for use on the Earl Schwartz farm.

 

Pioneer Village raises $16,000 from event

By Caroline Downs

“The stationary engines were a hit,” Bryan Quigley, Lake County Historical Society president, said about Kenmare’s annual Pioneer Day on Sunday. “We were grinding corn and shelling corn over there all afternoon.”

The stationary engines, the restored tractors, the red schoolhouse, the barbecued pork meal, the log-cutting contest, the pun-riddled dialogue in the live melodrama, even the rainbow arching across the sky after a brief rain shower--it was all a hit with visitors at Pioneer Day.

Quigley estimated between 450 and 500 people enjoyed the pork supper, with three 4-H pigs butchered and roasted by volunteers. “But we also had a lot of people who toured Pioneer Village before the supper and left,” he said. “Most of our earlier folks were from the trailer park.”

Quigley made a special effort this year to involve some of Kenmare’s temporary residents, with flyers distributed among campers parked at the campground next to Pioneer Village and an invitation extended to the Alliance Pipeline crews still working in the area. “I think a lot of those folks came,” he said.

The fund-raising event pulled in close to $16,000, before expenses, from raffle tickets, a freewill offering, live auction proceeds, log-cutting contest entry fees, private donations, and water, root beer and sarsaparilla sales. “We’re happy with all that,” said Quigley.

The money will be used to help pay for foundation work needed for buildings at Pioneer Village. “I think the Norma Hall is probably next,” Quigley said as he described ongoing problems with the sagging floor in the popular exhibit hall.

He noted permanent foundations were also needed for the Dress Shop, the Doll House and the Meat Market.

The Lake County Historical Society board wants to continue widening the wooden walkway from Duffy’s Diner to the Millinery Shop, and to add more ramps at building entrances, similar to the new ramp at the Duffy’s. “It’s important that we continue to make things accessible,” said Quigley.

Repairs to the Blacksmith Shop, which was closed during Pioneer Day, will continue into the fall. “We have enough old barn siding to do that building,” Quigley said, “and we’re going to do the roof with cedar wood shakes.”

He praised the efforts of contractors who have completed recent projects at Pioneer Village and the work done by Pioneer Village employee Helen Frees to assist board members with cleaning and organizing the exhibit buildings and offering tours.

“There’s no shortage of projects out there,” he said. “It’s coming along. It will always be a work-in-progress.”

Of course, plans for the 2014 Pioneer Day are already underway. Contact Quigley at 701-240-4505 or Cindy Rytter at 701-385-4248 for more information or to schedule special tours of Pioneer Village through Labor Day weekend.


Now showing . . . The Kenmare Theatre is one of the newest
exhibits featured at Kenmare's Pioneer Village, including
a variety of vintage movie posters and the film projector in use
until the summer of 2012, when a digital projector was installed.