by Nathan Warner
“Our overall goal for Zimmerman’s Wild West Days is to offer the community an amazing event that is as accepting, inclusive, and as accessible as possible,” says Bill Potrament, the president of the Zimmerman Civic Club.
Wild West Days will launch this year under the Zimmerman Civic Club’s direction on Thursday, May 26 and run through Monday, May 30, with events held every day at the Zimmerman Lions Park on Second Street East and Main Street.
“This is our 41st year doing this and it’s growing every year,” Portrament says, smiling. “The community response is amazing.”
Potrament and Karen Glunz, vice president of the Zimmerman Civic Club, will be administrating the event along with Jennifer Yelle and Kris Ramstad, while volunteers dressed in green will help coordinate the activities.
New this year is the Zimmerman’s Got Talent Show, with four entry levels based on age. The preliminaries will be held at 5 p.m. Friday, May 27 at Zimmerman Bowl and the finals will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 29 at Zimmerman Bowl. Winners will be judged on overall performance, audience recognition, stage appearance, originality, and personality. A $10 entry fee for each act is required.
Official Wild West Days buttons are available for $1 each, with the proceeds going to Passing the Bread Food Distribution, a local program working to feed the community of Zimmerman and surrounding areas.
The art on the buttons this year was the result of a design contest, with the winning design donated by Jason Ewert, a local artist.
A medallion hunt is just one of the many exciting activities taking place during Wild West Days. A stainless steel medallion was donated by Karen Glunz’s brother and sister-in-law, Kurt and Sharon Mathison of Shakopee, and hidden somewhere in the Zimmerman city limits.
Clues as to its whereabouts will be posted by 9 a.m. each day at the Zimmerman City Hall starting May 26. The lucky finder will receive a 6-inch Wild West Days button and $150.
While people are scouting for the medallion, others can watch the largest area softball tournament in years, with 28 teams managed by John Hass, the tournament general manager. Teams will play Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Potrament says they’ve made the tournament more comfortable for spectators this year with a tent, new food items and the coldest beer the Zimmerman Lions can get their hands on.
If you love music, there are many opportunities available. The Lions Beer Garden will feature the live band, Monarch, Friday and Saturday, while the American Legion will have the Swinging Country Band performing Friday through Saturday and the Jim Beam Express on Sunday. Art in the Park will be held all day Saturday at the Fremont House, where you can listen to Unity in the Community music.
“We can’t forget about the Magel Carnival,” Bill says, “It’s always a big draw for residents.” The carnival attracts crowds with its Ferris wheel, rides, and food stands. Vogel Exotics of Sanborn will be offering camel and pony rides and a free petting zoo for kids of all ages.
In addition to the carnival food stands, 12 local vendors will sell selections including corn on the cob, gyros, pork chops, and pulled pork from Firehouse BBQ of Princeton, owned and operated by Sara and Kurt Strandberg.
The annual parade on Saturday, May 28 starts at noon and will feature a diverse assortment of classic cars, tractors, beautiful floats with visiting royalty, local businesses and lots of candy, to name a few of the attractions.
Public safety is top priority during all Wild West Days events and captains Don Starry and William Jones will coordinate 34 reserve officers to ensure a safe and enjoyable event.
Rolling off the starting line, the annual Soap Box Derby will fire things up Sunday at 11 a.m. on Main Street. Zimmerman Collision will be sponsoring the trophies and contestants should provide some exciting vehicles for the downhill run.
Running Wild West Days to conclusion Monday is Jacob’s Run, which starts at 8 a.m. and travels four miles around Lake Fremont. The run benefits the Jacob Van Hoever Memorial Scholarship for Elk River School District students who have demonstrated good citizenship in their community.
“Don’t forget to nominate an individual or group deserving of special recognition,” Potrament said about the Outstanding Community Service Award (forms are available on the Web site).
Other activities at Zimmerman Wild West Days include: Special Forces laser tag, karaoke, a street dance at Zimmerman Bowl, a flea market and fireworks sponsored by American Legion Post 560. Bill and Karen are excited to get this year’s Wild West Days rolling.
“We’re going to try and make this year the most memorable yet!”
All proceeds from activities go to support the events at Wild West Days. Visit www.gowildwestdays.com for more details, entry forms, contest rules and times of events.