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Emmaville celebrates centennial (again)

The parade featured kazoos. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

BY Sarah smith

Emmaville showed off its best at the second annual centennial party over the weekend.

What? You say?

Well, nobody can recall the exact date of the real 100th year celebration, so owners Mike and Mel Spry held it last year. It was such a success, a repeat performance was in order this year. Who’s quibbling about dates?

It featured a parade (the “biggest little parade in the world!”), crawfish races, good natured spoofing and a sentimental goodbye.

The Sprys have sold the store, café and gas pumps. The new owners take over today.

“How long have we owned it?” Melanie Spry asked. “That was the last time I got a good night’s sleep.”

Five years of 18-hour days wore the couple out, she admitted. But they put a lot of work into the town, the building and the reputation, positioning it well to sell.

The festivities started with a parade led by Roger Olson, the kazoo in command.

Olson passed out the instruments and pointed out the parade route.

“You can see it all from here,” he said, gesturing through the parking lot.

Olson organized the “Gazoo Marching Band,” gave a few instructions in playing the instruments, neglected the tune-ups and they were off.

“No rehearsal necessary,” Olson advised upon passing out the instruments.

The parade went off without a hitch.

“You wanna go around again?” Olson asked.

The afternoon events included a crawfish race of several rounds.


Competitors had to pick their own crawfish out of a bucket, something 5-year-old Natalie Poole balked at.

The Detroit Lakes youngster was shown how to grab her crawfish so it wouldn’t pinch her fingers and she was good.

Over at the next table, kids lined up to shoot marble-sized whiffle balls into a target.

Rhubarb treats filled one table.

“The ones with the red in them are the rhubarb cookies,” said a knowledgeable baker.

Three graduates of the Ortonville Class of 1971 rode a raucous float of garish orange and black colors.

Peggy Anderson, Terri Sellers and Joyce Kaatz were having the time of their lives, kazoo air puffing out their cheeks.

The festivities continues into the evening with live music and sad farewells to the couple who put Emmavile back on the map.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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