"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
Sunday, November 29th, 2015
Volume ∞ Issue ∞
- 9:41:05, Nov 27th 2015 - WoW - As a long time reader of your paper I think it should stay how it is. It's a ch ... [Read More]
- 1:35:05, Nov 26th 2015 - consaredumb - The most vocal people are always the most ignorant. ... [Read More]
- 2:58:00, Nov 25th 2015 - James1952 - The word on the street is that the folks who own the land above the schoo ... [Read More]
- 10:17:32, Nov 25th 2015 - - Yes it does take money to operate schools and keep buildings open. If the high s ... [Read More]
- 9:09:47, Nov 25th 2015 - @Says - Bottom line... it takes money to operate & keep open school buildings. Yes, I ... [Read More]
- 7:57:56, Nov 25th 2015 - nature man - I think y'all are in denial. Atrazine in all your well, shallow aquifer ... [Read More]
- 10:20:12, Nov 24th 2015 - - It's about the money? What an ignorant comment. Is that what you teach your kid ... [Read More]
- 9:20:20, Nov 24th 2015 - reader - What an inspiring message! Thank you! ... [Read More]
- 8:07:37, Nov 24th 2015 - Stan Gudmundson - I've never responded to any comments made about anything I've writt ... [Read More]
- 8:02:03, Nov 24th 2015 - Stan Gudmundson - I've never responded to any comments made about anything I've writt ... [Read More]
Fri, Nov 7th, 2003
Posted in Features
Posted in Features
A piece of local history is on display at the Minnesota History Museum in St. Paul. The historical artifact is a hand-lettered sign advertising a teen dance in the Fountain elementary school gym during the1960's.
The sign is part of the museum’s “Sounds Good To Me” exhibit honoring Minnesota’s musical history. The exhibit features Minnesota artists and music venues. The exhibit includes inter-active displays in which visitors can select jukebox hits in a cafe setting that spans multiple decades or sing along with the 1980 Minnesota-produced hit “Funkytown.” The sign announces the appearance of a rock band called “The Pagans” at the Fountain school gym on November 25. While the sign does not note the year, it most likely was 1963 or 1964. The entry fee was advertised at 75 cents. The sign states that the dance was sponsored by the “Fountain Alco’s.” The sign itself was donated to the museum by ex-Pagan Kip Sullivan of Rochester. The Minnesota History Center likely displayed this sign to depict the proliferation of garage bands during the 1960's as well as the grass roots nature of entertainment during that era in small- town Minnesota. But, if this sign could talk, it would tell a far richer story. The Fountain Alco’s, or all-community volunteers, grew out of the desire of a handful of Fountain teens to bring some entertainment to a town of 300 people that rolled up its streets at the end of the work day. The teen group initially rented the town’s elementary school gym for a dance featuring a portable record player. The group gambled that a 25˘ entry charge would cover the $5.00 gym rental fee. When that venture proved profitable, the teens began to book local bands such as Lanesboro’s Trashbeaters at somewhat higher stakes. Continued success led to better known acts including regional headliners such as The Pagans and The Mustangs from Rochester. Rita Rustad was the idea person behind the dances. I booked the bands and worried about the organizational details. And, a whole host of our friends contributed to make the events happen. Not the least of these contributors were the sign makers, such as Terrie Rustad, Linda Asleson, and Nancy Stevens. Their signs appeared all over Fillmore County during dance season. The financial success of the dances presented a dilemma of sorts - what to do with the profits? The teen group eventually decided on an all-community solution. For several years, the dance proceeds financed free bus trips to the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul for all Fountain-area teenagers. About 40 teens would depart from the Fountain post office at 6:00 a.m. and begin the return trip only after the end of the fair’s grandstand act. The day-long marathon at the fair remains a unique memory for many Fountaineers. The dance sign, in short, reflects a period in which small-town kids scrambled to provide their own entertainment. In addition to the dances, these Fountain teens organized co-ed softball games at the Catholic churchyard, flooded the town skating rink, and created a swimming hole by damming a creek in the Big Springs. In an ironic twist, the old Fountain elementary school where the dances took place now houses the Fillmore County History Museum. I wish that all of our old gang of Fountain teens could experience the thrill of stumbling upon this sign as I did. But, not all of them are still with us. In particular, sisters Rita and Terrie Rustad, though opposites in many ways, shared the tragic fate of being cut down in the prime of life by breast cancer. This dance is for you. Steve Befort is a 1966 graduate of Preston-Fountain High School. He now lives in St. Paul and teaches at the University of Minnesota Law School.