Fountain Trail Days returns to
promote community togetherness
Wednesday, June 05, 2013 4:49 AM
It was in 1993 when the Root River State Bike Trail was extended to include Fountain. The city put together a community get-together they called Fountain Trail Days and have been celebrating it ever since. This year's celebration will occur on June 8 and 9.
Questions were raised last year about the future of Trail Days after committee members sent notice to the Fountain City Council that they would be unable to continue shouldering the planning responsibility year after year. The council left it up to the community in determining whether or not to continue the event and, soon thereafter, the First State Bank of Fountain stepped in.
"We felt it was a community service that we should be doing," shared bank owner Chuck Johnson on getting involved. "Our goals were to jumpstart it and allow the people who worked on it before to not have to take on leadership responsibilities."
Johnson pointed out the bank isn't in charge of everything, but is just helping facilitate organizing the weekend of events.
"We've had people and businesses come out of the woodwork to help out this year," he stated.
A committee started meeting every other week beginning in March and invited residents to voice their opinions. According to Johnson, around 23 people showed up to every meeting and more stepped forward with donations of time and money.
"Those first meetings we talked about what worked in the past and what hasn't worked. We wrote down all the positives and negatives," Johnson said. Many were in favor of scrapping the parade because of how small it had become. Some were in favor of getting rid of the weekend all together.
Once the support started coming in, the committee realized that Trail Days could go forward. The city council gave $1,000 for Trail Days expenses.
"I think people have realized the value of the weekend," explained Johnson. He said the goal of this year's Trail Days is to reinvigorate the idea of a community celebration.
"It's more of a get-to-know-your neighbor kind of celebration this year," shared committee member Julie Gade.
Johnson hopes the weekend will gradually build up to Fountain's sesquicentennial celebration in 2019. He praised the local business involvement and the willingness of residents to volunteer their resources. "It's been a great experience and it builds a sense of togetherness," he said.
Trail Days this year will not have a parade, but there will be a few new events for residents and visitors to enjoy.
The weekend will appropriately kick off on the trail with almost 150 people participating in the Milk Fun[D] Run. The 2.5 mile downhill race will begin at the Trail Head and finish at Johnson Trailside Holstein Farm. Registration runs from 8 to 8:45 a.m. and the run will begin at 9 a.m. The entry fee is $15 per person or $40 per family and all proceeds go to the milk fund at Fillmore Central Elementary School. Refreshments will be provided at the race's conclusion and free shuttles will run back to the Trail Head. Dairy farm tours will also take place from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. The trail will be open the entire day for regular use.
Children's games and a coin dig sponsored by the Fountain Fire Department will begin at 3 p.m. At the same time, a dunk tank sponsored by Richard's Pump Service will have Johnson and other business owners taking turns getting dunked in water provided by Foremost Farms. A couple bean bag competitions will take place in the park, a Draw Your Partner Tournament at 3 and a "Best Tosser" Contest at 4 p.m.
A kid's ball game will start at 4:30 and will be open to any kids that show up ready to play. The game will include a few fun rules and will preclude the traditional Farmers and Merchants Ball Game, which starts at 5:30 p.m.
According to organizer Scott Rustad, the adult ball game was moved from its usual autumn time. The game traditionally pitted Fountain business owners against rural Fountain farmers. Now, the game is mostly a town versus country game. "Back in the old days, it was a pretty serious game," shared Rustad, who said they will be trying to draw interest to the game by making it more fun. This year, each inning will bring in a new rule. Backward base running, bat spinning before hitting, six outs and even cross-dressing won't be out of the question. The winning side will get their name on a traveling trophy. Drawings for prizes will occur during the game as well.
Afternoon music will be provided by the Arnold-Bradley Band, which plays old time, classic country and bluegrass genres. The evening entertainment will feature Brad Boice in an Elvis Tribute Concert. Sponsored by the First State Bank of Fountain and Root River State Bank, the concert in the park will begin at 7:30 p.m. with Boice's first Elvis tribute set. His second set at 8:30 will be a "Toast to the Classics." A free-will offering to support future Trail Days will be taken.
Sunday, June 9, festivities will start with a pancake breakfast in the Fountain Community Center. Kids ages six and under get in for free with everyone else paying $5. A community church service will take place in the Fountain Lutheran Church parking lot at 9 a.m.
The tractor pull weigh-in starts at 10 with the event beginning at noon. For those not wanting to test their tractor's strength, a tractor drive to the Masonic Park in Spring Valley will also start at 10.