How I spent my summer–campaigning–part 1

Well, here it is almost the end of August. Where did the summer go? Some schools have already begun and others will open their doors soon, the State Fair will have its run and Labor Day will be here before we know it.

I spent my summer visiting a lot of the towns in District 22B. It is known as “parade season” in campaign parlance. I love going to parades and have been to quite a few in the 35 years I have lived here, but this year, I did not just watch. I got to walk, wave, and talk to people along the route.

We had just gotten our campaign organized when we learned about the first parade in Ellsworth and discovered we would barely have time to get a banner and car signs made. With help from Steve and Lona Lende, we were ready for the first parade of the season on June 16th. Before you walk in a parade, you need sustenance. We found ours at the Parkview Manor pie and ice cream social fund raiser. It was great pie!

About five hours later, we were at the Fulda parade. There we found great crowds, people we knew, a great reception! The brats were good as well! I learned that two parades in one day would not be the exception, nor would five parades in seven days! We were in Mountain Lake on June 18th, Lakefield and Westbrook on the 23rd, Okabena on the 4th of July, Rushmore on July 14th, Brewster and Adrian on the 21st. There are no more parades for me till Turkey Day in September!

These nine parades were a great way to meet people and learn what they were thinking. In addition, a lot of energy is generated for the candidate when people shout out your name, wave, or want to shake your hand. One of the neatest experiences was in Mt Lake where I was at the end of the parade line up. As I made my way to where the announcer was introducing the units to the crowd on Main Street, I heard my name and then the words “was a long time counselor at MWCTC” followed by something like “I remember being in her office in the 1980’s and she helped me get my transfer credit together so I could graduate in a year.” This young man gave me an unsolicited endorsement. What a rush! I of course had to track him down after the parade to catch up.

It is experiences like these that make the 90 degree temps, the waiting in line, and the drive all worth-while.

The other neat thing about parades is that there is almost always a community celebration before or after the parade. And, there is always good food!

I’ve had great pie in Ellsworth and Rushmore, great ribs in Adrian, good burgers in Mt Lake (with fried onions of course), brats in Fulda, taco’s in Brewster, ice cream in Westbook, and bar-b-que in Lakefield. I know that I have not made all the events due to schedule conflicts but I have tried to get to every community for something.

I am finding that it is good to be in the community before you door-knock and that has been my goal.

While the Turkey Day parade set for September 15th in Worthington, will be the last of the campaign, it will also be the longest and possibly the most heavily attended. I do love walking down the parade route and having the freedom to go from side to side of the street greeting people.

In addition to community celebrations, I have also been at County Fairs in Redwood, Jackson, Nobles and Cottonwood County. I have made it my mission to try the malts at each fair and determine which is the best. Right now the chocolate at the Nobles County Fair has the lead! But the chocolate mint at Redwood is close behind. Raspberry at Cottonwood also gets a mention.  I learned that you can mix flavors making the choices much harder!  The county fairs have given me an opportunity to walk around the grounds and meet people outside the DFL booth. There have been some interesting events to watch. So, whether it was watching the dock dog competition, the lumber jack competition, the animal shows, or the exhibits, it was exciting for me to see the pride exhibitors took in showcasing their projects and talents. I even enjoyed the SPAM cook off. I will admit, it was the first time I had ever tasted SPAM. I enjoyed eating at the 4-H booths as well.

With all I have eaten at the community celebrations and county fairs it is probably a good thing that I walked in all those parades!