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Gunfight draws a crowd

Fri, Aug 13th, 2010
Posted in Arts & Culture

Mitchell Walbridge proudly displays his winning bingo card and prize money during bingo held in Sylvan Park during Buffalo Bill Days. Photo by Abby Stocker

"I like it all. I'm really pleased that there wasn't any rain this year," smiled Jody Ruen when asked for her favorite thing about Buffalo Bill Days, an annual summer celebration held in Lanesboro. "The Cub Scouts passed out over 1,000 American flags for people to wave as the Legion men went by in the parade." Ruen's sons, who were part of the Cub Scout group, had a different favorite, however; Connor, a Lanesboro 4th grader, liked the parade candy, while Trevor, a 1st grader, was amazed by "the guy on the big bike." Sister Linsey enjoyed the motorcycle show. Even within families, favorite moments and events from community celebrations differ. Buffalo Bill Days 2010 easily provided something for everyone to enjoy, earning its place as a favorite festival in southeastern Minnesota.

The parade on Sunday afternoon was an easy crowd-pleaser, featuring a wide variety of entries that included bagpipers, motorcyclists, horse-drawn wagons, Tae Kwon Do students, political supporters, dancing Oktoberfest royalty, and high school band members. Paul Boyum, a Utica resident and first-time Buffalo Bill Days attendee, said the parade was his favorite event of the weekend, smiling as he recalled watching his grandkids fight over the candy. Brenda Semmen of Lanesboro agreed. The games and parade were fun for her kids. A few parade floats even featured riders with giant squirt guns, providing the onlookers with a small measure of relief from the warm sun and oppressive humidity on Sunday.

Not to be daunted by the heat, the Cannon Old West Society staged a bank robbery and shoot-out for onlookers. Some surprising twists occurred in the drama, especially when the robbery ended in the lone female robber "shooting" the sheriff and making off with the bag of money. However, all of the participants, sheriff and robber alike, came back to life at the end of the re-enactment.

More athletically-minded types enjoyed the softball and volleyball tournaments which ran throughout the weekend, while others found entertainment through the Commonweal Theatre's showings of "Enchanted April" and "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" or the numerous musical groups who graced the floor of Sylvan Park's gazebo on Saturday and Sunday. Listening to the Irish Minstrels in the park on Sunday, Bertram Boyum of Rushford related his favorite moments of Buffalo Bill Days: the music in the gazebo, the camaraderie and festivity in the park, and just visiting with friends and acquaintances. Though he wishes that the sirens of the various emergency vehicles would be silenced during the parade, Boyum also mentioned the parade as a favorite event. From the park, one could easily see the parade, the shoot-out reenactment, the volleyball tournaments, the beer and brat tent, and the host of colorful booths selling a wide variety of items to visitors strolling through the park.

However, the "camaraderie" mentioned by Boyum seems to be the general favorite among Buffalo Bill Days attendees. Sarah Cambern, another visitor, mentioned that she loves seeing old friends who come back to town for the event, while Mitchell Walbridge of Fountain, who enjoyed playing bingo on Sunday, responded that though he likes winning at bingo, the people at Buffalo Bill Days are his favorite aspect of the celebration.

Another Buffalo Bill Days in Lanesboro has passed, leaving those who attended with memories of fun, friendship, and community. For those who weren't fortunate enough to attend, it's time to start marking your calendars for Buffalo Bill Days 2011.

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