Celebrating Ruthton

Born and raised in Ruthton, Tami Nelson remembers the fun times of her childhood attending the annual Fourth of July celebration in Ruthton.

“Ruthton was always known for its July 4th celebration,” she said. “There was always a parade and dinner at the park, activities of some kind, a street dance.”

Nelson and other Ruthtonites decided to bring back the Fourth of July celebration and couple it with the 125th anniversary celebration of the founding of Ruthton.

The four-day celebration is scheduled for July 4-7.

The Buffalo Ridge Civic Organization 125th committee – Deb and Curt Baartman, Pam Bakker, Steve and Kathy Rupp, Cindy Engbarth, Tami Nelson and Rochelle Vanderwoude – has been hard at work planning a variety of activities to appeal to a wide range of people, Nelson said.

Activities include a “car and tractor show, flea market, a parade, an all-school reunion, a movie in the park and a street dance,” she said.

The BRCO sponsored a series of fundraisers to raise money for the festivities starting last June.

“We sent out a ‘begging letter,'” Nelson said. “We’ve had a lot of fundraisers.” Nelson said a lot of people turned out for the luncheons.

“We’ve had barbecues, salads for a free-will donation,” she said. “People throw money in a tub.”

Celebration highlights include a town parade Thursday morning and car and tractor show in the afternoon.

Friday’s main attraction will be a street dance featuring Hicktown Mafia, a five-piece, southern Minnesota-based, country and rock party band. The dance is from 8 p.m.-midnight.

A town’s school is an important feature, and the planners haven’t forgotten Ruthton School. An all-school reunion is planned with special recognition for the basketball and football teams that went to state tournaments.

“Old trophies and old uniforms will be displayed,” said Nelson.

Also on Friday afternoon, the Ruthton High classes of 1951-55 will have their own gathering at the community center.

Saturday will feature vendors and kids’ activities including bean bag tournaments and face painting. There will be a 5K in the morning, all-school celebration, tour the school 5-7 p.m. sandwiches and salads – “nothing fancy,” Nelson said. “It’s pretty informal.”

An oldies band will play Saturday afternoon in Ruthton City Park.

“We are having a craft and flea market,” Nelson said. “We have 24 or 25 spots open for vendors, and they are pretty much all filled.”

An old-time fashion revue is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the fire hall. Lynn Carpenter is coordinating the show. She said she hopes to have at least 20 “local teenagers and ladies” to model clothes from the 1860s to the 1960s. The clothes are from her personal collection, the Lake Benton Opera House and from her friends’ collections.

“The hardest part is the fitting,” she said.

Carpenter is hoping the show will be a fun time for all.

A family movie will be shown at dusk. Popcorn and pop will be provided. All are welcome. The movie is sponsored by The Country Church.

Sunday is reserved for a 10 a.m. community worship at the park with fellowship afterward.