by Cori Hilsgen
July 3 kicked off two days of events for the Joetown Rocks Parish Festival.
Crowds of people gathered to enjoy a free outdoor concert and fireworks July 3 and a parade, quilt auction and raffle drawing on July 4.
July 3 concert performers included The Graduates, Jeremiah James Korfe, Maiden Dixie and Matthew and Gunnar Nelson with Jeff Vee and Tommy Vee.
An anniversary Joetown Rocks wall hanging made from past concert T-shirts, celebrating 10 years of festival concerts, was auctioned off July 3.
The first year’s T-shirt in the quilt was autographed by Bobby Vee and his two sons, Tom and Jeff. Vee performed for the first and other concerts until 2011.
The July 4 parade featured Maurice Palmersheim as the grand marshal and a line-up of about 120 units that included the Store Bergan Skolekorps school band from Norway, the 34th Infantry Division “Red Bull” Band, Alexandria High School Marching Band, Solar Sound Marching Band (formerly the All-City Marching Band), Blue Jackets Jr. Marching Band, Wild Creek Entertainers, Freedom Flight, Wildwoods Riding Band, Just 4Laffs Entertainment and more.
The July 4 quilt auction sold both queen-sized ones. They included a butterfly quilt made from grandmothers’ handkerchiefs and a vintage barn quilt featuring 42 area barns. There were also numerous baby quilts.
Both days included many food, beverage and game options. The Joe Burger, Mexican snacks and other stands served long lines of customers, many of whom said they did not mind waiting because they were visiting with friends and figured the food would be worth the wait.
Attendees visited the ring toss, cake walk, bingo, candy stand, face painting, Country Store, Handiwork and Craft stand, car merry-go-round, other youth games and more.
Ann Schreifels, of St. Joseph, and her daughter Angie Schreifels, of Sauk Rapids, viewed what the Country Store had to offer.
“I love the Country Store, it’s like a garage sale,” Ann said.
“You never know what treasures you will find,” Angie said.
Ann has lived in St. Joseph 28 years and Angie has lived in Sauk Rapids for six years.
Arlene Richter from St. Joseph Township was also exploring the Country Store.
“The Country Store makes the festival fun,” Richter said. “I like it; it’s like shopping.”
Tom and Lynn Hansen, St. Joseph, were excited to find a set of cat-themed dish towels at the Handiwork and Craft stand. The Hansens said they have five cats and that stray cats often stay at their house.
“They’re kind of our adoptees,” Lynn said. “They seem to find their way to our cul-de-sac.”
Tom said they have mostly tiger-striped cats.
Newsleader delivery driver Glen Lauer said he finished mowing his lawn and came to the festival to visit with friends and have a Joe burger. Since the lines were so long, he thought he might try a Joetown brat instead.
“It’s a nice crowd,” Lauer said.
Brenda Berg-Arnold, St. Joseph, visited with her daughters Anna Berg-Arnold, St. Joseph; and Emma Ishmael, son-in-law Dominic and grandson Oliver, all from Overland Park, Kan.
“The Fourth of July has always been a highlight of my summer,” Emma said. “This year I was able to bring my family to the festival. This is Oliver’s first parade.”
David Kuschel and Briana Goebel came to see their friend Logan Mehr perform with The Graduates at the concert. Goebel grew up in St. Joseph and attended St. Joseph Lab School (now All Saints Academy).
“You always see people you know,” Goebel said. “It is a fun time.”
Patty Paquin, Sartell, came to visit with friends.
“It’s a wonderful fundraiser for the parish which has endured over time,” Paquin said. “It’s awesome.”
Steven Carlson, D.D.S. and Kayla Carlson from the Brainerd area, also came to visit with family and friends. Steven’s parents, Gregg and Vicki Carlson of St. Joseph, were busy working the Joe burger stand. He gave his wife and in-laws a tour of All Saints Academy.
“As an alumni of St. Joe Lab School, it is great to be back in St. Joe,” Carlson said.