Crowds pack in for Boomtown Days
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The streets of Vilna were alive with people on Saturday morning, as hundreds of residents from around the area claimed spots to watch the annual Boomtown Days parade. Children anxiously waited for the parade to start, and when it did, they hurried to gather the candy that was being handed out by the many participating floats.
Overall, “it went really good,” said Loni Leslie, the Vilna Ag Society office manager, Monday morning, after a full weekend of events had wrapped up. Along with the parade, the weekend included a bench show, beer gardens, a children’s carnival, entertainment, food, dance, and as Leslie described it, an “out of this world” fireworks display put on by Sunset Fireworks.
Over 220 people attended the dance on Saturday night and at least 400 people were on the fairgrounds Saturday afternoon, Leslie estimates. And on Sunday, another crowd gathered for the annual show and shine on Main Street, which featured a variety of classic vehicles.
The weekend came together thanks to the hard work of many volunteers and the support of sponsors from across the area, said Leslie.
That feeling was echoed by an organizer for the event, Wendy Cozicar, who said Vilna School’s 2013 graduating class deserved recognition for organizing the kids’ carnival. The class organizes the carnival to raise money for their graduation, and also to support the community.
“Every year, they’re surprised – ‘I didn’t know we had that many kids in Vilna!’” she said, laughing. The class raised $1,000 through the activities. Cozicar’s son estimated that with the big crowds and lineups, there must have been a “billion” kids attending, but Cozicar says she’d peg it at closer to a couple of hundred children.
When asked about her highlight for the day, Cozicar joked, “Going home to bed that night - when it was all over and there was no more planning.” More seriously, she added it was nice to see people come out to the event, all being just a little more friendly and accommodating than usual because of the nature of the event. She also shared her appreciation for the farmers coming out to the dance on Saturday night, wearing something other than their work clothes and coveralls. “You don’t recognize them because they clean up so nice. This is perfect weather for farming and they still came out to support us. You couldn’t ask for better people.”
Caricaturist Gerry Rasmussen was a hit, as always, and the dance brought out lots of young people, but at the end of the day, the stamp of approval from the children was Cozicar’s best moment. She loved hearing comments from kids as they played, saying, “This is the best fair ever,” or other positive remarks.
“Kids are brutally honest, and for them it was great and that’s what was important.”
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