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Whalan Stand Still Parade moves local residents

Fri, May 24th, 2013
Posted in Whalan Features

Stan and his still at the Whalan Stand Still parade. Photo by Barb Jeffers

By Barb Jeffers

The residents of the small town of Whalan, Minn. opened their community and their hearts on Saturday, May 18, 2013 to make visitors feel as if they were “home” for the day. Many in attendance do call Whalan home, and many volunteers from surrounding communities treasure Whalan like it is their home. As the serenity of the little town gave way to bustling streets and different sounds in every direction the excitement grew as big as the temporary population.

Standing back and watching as old friends run into each other and say the usual “hello” and “how have you been” occasionally turns into “remember when…” which brings a certain look of reminiscence on the faces of those involved in the conversation and warms the heart of anyone privileged enough to be paying attention. These moments and many others are what make the Whalan Stand Still Parade a special day.

An additional reason the parade is special, and the cause of it becoming famous, is because the parade doesn’t move. Hence the name Whalan “Stand Still” Parade. The parade stands in place as the spectators walk. There are several advantages to a parade standing still. First of all taking photographs of the parade entries is not a challenge! An additional benefit to a “stand still” parade is the fact that a spectator can move at their own pace and take more time to appreciate the entries. Perhaps the greatest benefit is that instead of sitting with the same few people to watch the parade the crowd is constantly moving and changing giving visitors a chance to not only run into old friends but to meet new acquaintances who may become old friends.

This year marked the Eighteenth annual Whalan Stand Still Parade which seems to draw a larger crowd each year. The theme for the day was “Back to the 50’s and 60’s” and festivities began with the introduction of the Grand Marshal. The Grand Marshall for 2013 was Jean Halvorson who lived in Whalan for many years before moving to Lanesboro, Minn. Jean now resides at Harmony Community Healthcare in Harmony, Minn.

Emcee Phil Dybing then introduced Glen Jensson who sang the National Anthem after which the Whalan Stand Still Parade began. Participants and visitors enjoyed the varied and diverse entries. At the start of the parade sat the Whalan American Legion members joined by a few Lanesboro members as well. Additional entries were many antique cars, Rushford Lions, Rushford Royalty, Fillmore County Journal, and Lanesboro Fire Department to name a few.

Many types of music were being played throughout the day including Walter Bradley and Steve Arnold playing in the park, the barbershop quartet “Thick and Thin” performed in the parade, and “The Solid Gold Band” played on the stage.

There were fun events for children including a Petting Zoo, games, and magician Kristoffer Olson thrilled the children by making them balloon animals. Ace Communications and Tri-County Electric sponsored free train rides by the Lil’ Blue Choo which the younger children enjoyed. The kids also were able to spin the Wheel of Bike Safety.

Contests through the day included the “Duck Pluck,” a Hula Hoop Contest, a pie eating contest sponsored by Aroma Pie Shop, and bed races.

Other highlights included Stan’s Still, Vincent the Gypsy Horse and Ernie’s Restored 1917 Gas Station. Mike Gabrich (a.k.a. “Shadow”) riding his 1855 ordinary (Hi-wheel bike) states “if you can ride a regular bike you can ride this one” which is dubious. Many arts and craft vendors had booths set up with various items for sale. Demonstrations took place throughout the day such as Lund Horseshoeing which always draws a crowd.

And no parade would be complete without food…a lot of food. The Whalan Lutheran Church sponsored and served the ever-popular “Egg McWhalans” in addition to bratwurst, hot dogs, desserts and popcorn. And let us not forget the Lefse and Rommegrot our local favorites. Visitors and unskilled lefse makers marvel at how easily the Whalan Lefse Royalty roll and turn the paper thin circles.

The Whalan Stand Still parade brings many people to Whalan, and the friendly residents of the area keep them coming back. The volunteers that make the Whalan Stand Still Parade what is has become are to be commended for their initiative and hard work. As Duane Bacon, of Fountain, Minn., stated it was “a good day” in Whalan with “a lot to see” and “perfect weather” making the day a pleasurable one for each and every resident and visitor. And so the Fillmore County area will wait for next year’s “perfect day” at the Whalan Stand Still Parade.

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