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Visitors move quickly to attend Stand Still Parade

Fri, May 23rd, 2014
Posted in Whalan Features

James and Hilda’s Lolligobs were a sweet treat during the Whalan Stand Still Parade 2014. Photo by Barb Jeffers

A horse with a mustache, a barbershop quartet, warm lefse, and classic cars were only a few of the attractions at this year’s Stand Still Parade in Whalan, Minn. on Saturday, May 17, 2014.

The 19th annual Stand Still parade is one of the most unique parades in the country as the parade does not move - the spectators do. The unusual parade has drawn attention from around the world and did so again this year with a crew from the national PBS station based out of Chicago coming to the parade. The crew, which consisted of a producer, a cameraman, and a reporter were filming for an upcoming show titled “Wild Travels”, according to Joan Johnson who was co-chair for this year’s parade along with her husband Ernie.

The crew spent many hours filming and interviewing attendees, will be included in the show that footage that is expected to air in January 2015 on 353 PBS stations across the country.

The theme for this year’s parade was “Back to Our Roots” ,highlighting all things Norwegian which may have boosted sales of lefse and rommegrot in 2014. Roger Hellesvig, a Norwegian historian, was on hand to share his knowledge and gift of storytelling.

The activities for this year’s parade began at 10 a.m. with an eclectic mix of crafters, artists, and demonstrations. Some of the demonstrations included how rope is made and anyone interested could make their own piece of rope to take home with them. Another was Lund Horseshoeing giving a demonstration and of course visitors must take the time to watch lefse being made by such seasoned professionals as those in the gazebo.

Artists in attendance had many original items for sale including oil paintings by Pat Smith and watercolors by Carol Young. Stained glass, ironworks, pottery, wooden signs, jewelry, wind chimes, and many other interesting articles could be found along the bike trail in Whalan.

Root River Lures, LLC had a wide variety of lures for those who love to fish and Crooked Pine Soap had many luxurious soaps made with goat milk to get cleaned up after that fishing trip. Sweet treats were available from James and Hilda’s Lolligobs which are old fashioned hard candy suckers in many flavors like marshmallow, butterscotch, and creamsicle to name a few.

Many different animals were at the Stand Still parade including a gypsy horse complete with its mustache and a petting zoo with baby chicks, a goat, and turtles among others for children to see and touch. Kids enjoyed the children’s games provided in the afternoon and thanks to Tri-County Electric and AcenTek they also had fun rides in the Lil Blue Choo train. Adults tried their hand at the Norwegian yard game “Kubb” with some doing well and others needing a little more practice.

Music began early with Walter Bradley and Steve Arnold showcasing their musical and vocal talents in the park. The Winona Area Barbershop singers entertained the passersby as the parade was underway. Back on the main stage the Rutabaga Brothers got the audience moving with rhythm, blues, and rock music. Members of the Rutabaga Brothers include David Harrenstein, Damon Prestemon, Lee Loerch, Gary Marcoux, Keith Zeller, and Craig Johnson. The CBB Jazz combo kept the crowd smiling and enjoying the remainder of the afternoon with big band music.

Other than lefse and rommegrot there were food choices galore in Whalan. The ever-popular Egg McWhalans brought many to the food stand and as the day went on the brats with sauerkraut, hot dogs, and hot turkey sandwiches were selling quickly. Numerous other goodies were available including cookies, bars, desserts, and popcorn. There were many drinks on hand to quench your thirst including the classic root beer float.

The actual Stand Still Parade began at 11 a.m. although it was hard to tell as the parade did not move! Emcee Phil Dybing announced the start of the parade which sent attendees to walk around and view the parade entrants.

Whalan Legion members joined by a some members of the Lanesboro Legion marked the starting point of the parade. Other entrants included an 1885 ordinary (Hi-wheel bike) along with many classic cars and antique cars. An old Whalan police car in the parade was popular for visitors to pose next to for memorial photographs as was a piece of Whalan fire equipment from 1869.

Many favorites of the Stand Still event could be seen again this year such as Stan’s Still and the favorite activity of many, the pie eating contest, took place again this year. The winner of the pie eating contest was Sawyer Johnson, age 11, son of Jared Johnson and Tori Johnson of Lanesboro, Minn. Back by popular demand in 2014 was the “Duck Pluck” where for the cost of one dollar visitors could buy a duck and have a chance to win a cash prize if their duck was plucked from the pond. According to Joan Johnson the winner of the Duck Pluck was Jane Lewis who won forty dollars.

Ernie’s 1917 restored gas station is always worth visiting whether it is your first time to Whalan or perhaps you stop in every year during the Stand Still parade. Many residents and visitors followed this year’s theme and stopped in to the newly remodeled Whalan museum to get back to their roots.

On Sunday morning the Whalan Lutheran Church held an outdoor service in the gazebo for anyone interested in attending. Many people took the opportunity to gather together in worship and fellowship.

Attendance for the 2014 Whalan Stand Still parade was good, according to Joan Johnson, with somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 people coming to town. With the combination of a one-of-a-kind parade, the local talent, and the wonderfully welcoming residents of Whalan you can be sure the Stand Still parade will keep moving forward for many years to come.

To view additional photos of the Whalan Stand Still parade go to County Journal.

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