Wild West Days to have something for everyone

by Nathan Warner

Contributing writer

Wild West Days spurs into Zimmerman over four days, May 23-27, with many new events and venues saddling up to join the well-established traditions of the festival.

“We have some new faces at the Civic Club, this year,” Bill Potrament, president of the Zimmerman Civic Club explains, “with Mary Ann Thompson and Amy and Kris Hicks adding new vigor to perfectly complement the amazing job Karen Glunz and Barry and Denice Johnson continue to do for the Civic Club.”

For starters, there will be a new layout to the proceedings with new food vendors and new entertainment.

Chief among the innovations is Anna Mae’s Mercantile – a new venue offering a huge selection of vendors that will run from Friday through Sunday.  So large is the roster that parts of Main Street will be barricaded to accommodate them.

“The Mercantile is organized by new Civic Club member Amy Hicks,” Potrament said, “Amy has really dug into this and has managed to get some large vendors.”

Nearby, street-smart participants can part with a mere $15 to enter a vehicle in Wild West Days’ first ever Bike and Car Show hosted by Countryside Collision Center, organized by Kris Hicks. Sign in between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, May 25, and stay for the awards at 5 p.m.

“This show is going to be great,” Potrament said, “because Kris knows what he’s doing and they’ve already received a lot of interest from car clubs from around the area.”

Also new this year is the “Lip-Sync Contest,” which will replace the talent show and the karaoke contest. Winners will be selected on their lip-syncing skills, their costumes, and their choreography.  Registration begins at 1 p.m., Sunday, May 26, with the contest tuning in 2-5 p.m. First-place winners will receive $100, with cash prizes for second- and third-places also.

New Civics Club member Mary Ann Thompson is heading up the new Zimmerman Ambassador Posse for Wild West Days with Heather Anderson of Studio H Photography coordinating it.

“This isn’t a pageant, nor is it really royalty,” Potrament clarifies, “because it will be primarily based on how well you can communicate your love of Zimmerman – it’s more civic oriented.”

Candidates will be chosen based on how well they can represent the Greater Zimmerman Area. The Zimmerman Wild West Days Ambassador, Royalty Posse has two age brackets (8-13, 14-19) with one male and female candidate selected from each age bracket.

“Selected ambassadors will represent the Civic Club at local events, as well as representing Zimmerman at two ‘away’ functions that they may be invited to, such as Anoka’s Halloween Festival,” Potrament said.

Interviews will take place May 19 at the Royal Performance Company in Zimmerman.  Winners will also receive a cowboy hat, an official sash and a $100 savings bond.

Wild West Days traditions dig in their spurs Thursday, May 23, beginning with the carnival at 6 p.m., while the Medallion Hunt begins with clues posted daily at City Hall.

The softball tournament action begins Friday and runs through Sunday.  Twice the size it was last year, the petting zoo will have more animals while still providing pony rings and camel rides Friday through Sunday.

Saturday at high noon, the legendary Wild West Days Parade will take hold of Fremont Ave with the now famous line-up of floats, wagons, fire engines, novelty cars and all sorts of things that make a move.  The Parade’s Grand Marshalls will include this year’s button design winner, Kevin Paulson, and the Zimmerman Ambassador Posse, who will all be pulled down the street on a sleigh from Wild Woods Sleigh and Carriage of Elk River.

Sunday, the Soapbox Derby rolls downtown at 11 a.m. with fireworks concluding Wild West Days with what promises to be an unparalleled display in the skies over Zimmerman.

As the weeks lead up to the date, Potrament said businesses have been very supportive with new and old sponsorships that will make this year a record-setting success.

“We’re really aiming to re-energize and revitalize Wild West Days by investing some bold new ideas into the event’s heart, and we’re hoping to exceed all expectations,” he said.

For ambassador entry forms and more information, visit www.zimmermancivicclub.org.