Mid-September, it’s got to be time for the Fall Festival in Amery, WI.
Sunshine peeks out in the east on the 3rd Saturday in September, first hitting the steeple of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church near Clayton at 6:55. Fall Festival Day. After a few minutes the sun shines on the silos at the Stindle, Lonergan, Gorres, and VanRuden farms. Ultimately the Amery water tower feels the warmth. Youngsters from 8 to 70 rise early to walk outside to look at the sky. No apps to check weather back then. The day appears flawless. Back to bed? Maybe.
In Cameron and Baldwin queens and their princesses wake up and prepare themselves for the day. Hair to arrange, formal dresses laid out. The 15 Amery queen candidates do this as well, feeling butterflies in their gut.
In Osceola and St. Croix Falls, band members rise, get into part of their uniforms, lay out the rest, and place their instrument by the door. The Amery Warriors High School Band members do the same.
At the Parade Line-up
Final check of their go-carts, the Zor Funsters fill them with gas and take the noisy vehicles for a test run.
Twelve-year-olds all around Amery count their cash available for the day, planning a presentation and appeal to either Mom or Dad, not to both. Weakest link, you know.
Adults waking up, thinking ahead, hungry already for the Clayton Lutheran Church bleu cheese burgers, pie from any stand with an opening, maybe 2 pieces, and of course mini-doughnuts from the carnival area—13 in a bag to walk and snack. Always on the alert for new food offerings, knowing that food alley is the place to meet and greet neighbors and friends.
To feed the masses, church groups, Lions, Warrior booster club, and other non-profits unload at the crudely made stands. They hope for a record day of sales. The ultimate? Selling out.
Parking along Keller began the night before, prime spots taken first, many within the sound of the announcer, lately Bill Hegg, and close to a restroom facility. For some, walking through the craft area early becomes a great way to browse at the creative set-ups, waiting for the magic time of 10:30.
The Amery Fire Department saves one explosive rocket from the July 4th fireworks, and that cannon blast by North Twin signals that the parade, and the party, has begun. Pulses quicken, and all along Keller Avenue people stare down and rubber neck that long thoroughfare to see what will lead the festivities.
Let the parade and Amery’s day begin. The Fall Festival.