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Available recordings will be linked to the Wild 102 “Looking Back in Time” page for the rest of the story. If the audio is not available, the entire week’s story will be printed.
Recorded October 2022
October 2, 2022: Listen to the entire story here
My story today comes from the book created for the Centennial of Badger in 2006 called “All Roads Lead to Badger”. This story was written by Bruce Olson, a member of our Historical Society’s board and a Badger citizen. His story was called “Fall Festivals, Flax Days, and Farming”.
President Warren G. Harding had suddenly died in office and was succeeded by Calvin Coolidge in 1923 – and this is the year that the Badger Community Club sponsored a Community Fair on October 19. The Herald Rustler (newspaper) called it “a very successful event considering it was the first attempt.” The Boys and Girls Club exhibit included poultry, potatoes, pigs, bread, canned goods, and turkeys. Their premiums were paid by the Farm Bureau Association. Prizes for the adult class were paid for by the Commercial Club. It was reported that “attendance was good” and that “the Badger Canning Team gave a creditable demonstration.”
Herb Elgin won a prize for his turkey and Minnie Erickson for her pig with second place going to Lawrence Meier. Katherine Anderson won for her bread. A special mention was noted of “a large collection of exhibits made by Ludwig Kaml.” He showed many items including “a fine specimen of peppers, a large squash and an exceptional large sugar beet.”
Another fair was held the following October and it was noted that “the display of various agricultural products compared favorably with anything shown at the state fair.” Congressman Thomas Schall was on hand and “gave zest to the occasion.” His lengthy speech of … Listen to the entire story here
October 9, 2022: .Listen to the entire story here
Today’s story comes from an article written by Bruce Olson for inclusion in “All Roads Lead to Badger,” a book put together for that community’s centennial celebration in 2006. Last week I read from his story in which he told about the history of Badger’s fall festivals. For several years they were known as Flax Festivals. I’ll start today as he tells about the 1947 event.
The 1947 annual celebration was called a “big success” with a larger crowd than expected due to a steady rain which halted threshing and other field work. A large community auction took place which included “everything from rolling pins to tractors!” Winner of the Flax King title that year was Joseph Kappes for his Crystal variety of flax. Mrs. Ed Wammer won first prize for her fresh fruit.
The 1948 event was called the “most successful in history.” Fred Hlucny won the $50 first prize for his Buda flax. Jacob Trangsrud placed second with his Minerva flax. The Herald-Rustler stated, “the production of flax has doubled in the area the past few years.” Carl N. Carlson earned a prize for his alsike clover and John Nelson for his barley. Mrs. Kenneth Johnson won a prize for her light cake.
In 1949, an enormous crowd, estimated at 2500, enjoyed the Flax Day events. A new feature, horse races, was …Listen to the entire story here
October 16, 2022:
I’ll continue reading from Bruce Olson’s story in the 2006 Badger Centennial Book, “All Roads Lead to Badger,” as he tells about the history of that community’s Fall Festivals through the years.
A special Flax Day celebration was held in 1958 to mark Minnesota’s Centennial Events included a carnival, a smorgasbord, a centennial museum in the hall basement, free coffee and cookies, and a used car auction with Colonel P. J. Peterson, auctioneer. Speakers at the evening program were Mr. Joe Donovan, DFL Secretary of State and Mr. Odin Langen, GOP Congressional candidate. A one-bushel lot of flax was required for the contest; O. S. Medhus claimed the prize and was King for the event.
In 1959, a movie was shown by the Fiber Mills of the Schweitzer Division of Kimberley-Clark Corporation. They gave a $25 check to Flax King William Lins. An evening dance was well attended with music by Marv’s Mellow Men.
In 1960, the 20th annual Flax Day, sponsored by the Badger Civic and Commerce Club, was called “the best ever.” Special guest Minnesota Governor Orville Freeman was on hand to pitch the first bundle into the separator to start the old-time threshing bee. The Governor was said to be “no stranger to the working end of a pitch-fork” as he pitched bundles as a youth. Kenneth Johnson was crowned Flax King.
State treasurer Val Bjornson was guest speaker in 1968; Albin Olson was Flax King. Della McDermaid entered a record 17 exhibits in 1970. She won 7 blue ribbons and 8 red ones to win the homemaker title. Flax King was Ted Ellenson.
A total of $431 was paid out for a record setting 300+ exhibits in 1971. Daphne Roadfeldt was Homemaker and Jerry Svir was Flax King.
A tug-of-war was included in the 1977 celebration. It was a much-anticipated event with Town vs. Country teams. Each team expressed a considerable confidence prior to the start. The hard-fought competition was won by the Country Team who avenged a previous loss. George Rinde of the Town Team claimed, “the rope was so taut it was like holding a piece of steel.” Layton Wahl, also a Town Team member seemed surprised the Country Team won. The fire truck was on hand with the volunteer department more than willing to hose down the losing team. It was unnecessary since both teams got wet in the rain.
The Badger Diamond Jubilee was held during the 4th of July weekend in 1981. Because of this huge celebration which drew an estimated 6000 people to town, no Flax Day took place.
In 1982, new attractions included aerial acrobats and a demolition derby (won by Bryon Berger). Youth events were hot wheels races, foot races, a tug-of-war (the first grade outpulled the 2nd grade!), a wheelie contest, pop chugging and egg throwing. James Dostal was crowned king; Arlene Howell was crowned homemaker.
Flax, as a crop, gradually lost its popularity in favor of others, such as wheat and sunflowers. Because of this, Flax Day was changed to Fall Festival in recent years. The tradition of an annual fall celebration continues to be an important part of the Badger Community. It’s changed from “Community Fair” to “Fall Festival” and then to “Flax Day” and back to “Fall Festival.” Regardless of what name it’s called, the founders were right back in 1939, when they stated, “It’s good to take a day off for relaxation and fun, and to meet your neighbors in a friendly way.”
Thanks to Bruce Olson for pulling together all these details found in the Herald Rustler, Greenbush Tribune, Roseau Times-Region, and Roseau County Historical Society.
October 23 & October 30, 2022: Stories found in their completion on separate pages
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