Manson Greater Crater Days

Annual celebration to feature local history from founding to tornado to today

-Messenger file photo Merle Nelson, of Manson, lets his grandson, Westen Robert, ride with him in the 2015 Manson Greater Crater Days parade.

MANSON — As the town of Manson celebrates its 145th birthday, Lonnie Nimke is preparing for a big celebration on the 150th.

This year Greater Crater Days will feature a historic movie of Manson, showing scenes and details from its founding until today.

The celebration will kick off Friday with the annual truck pull, featuring a beer garden and music out at the fairgrounds. A parade at 11 a.m. on Saturday will be followed by activities out at the fairgrounds, including the historic presentation.

“The Manson library and some members around town have gone through pictures and documentation pretty much back to when Manson was founded,” said Nimke, an organizer of this year’s Greater Crater Days celebration. “We’ve got photos of important dates, important buildings, things like that. … We have the dirt roads of Manson, the grocery stores of Manson, the bars of Manson, the churches.

“There’s roughly 800 pictures we’ve gone through. That was a ton of work to get to that point.”

-Messenger file photo Savannah Shultz, of Manson, looses her battle with gravity and balance while helping to run the water cup game at the 2015 Manson Greater Crater Days.

The slide show will be presented in Floral Hall, which will be air conditioned temporarily for the occasion.

“That’s a free event to anybody who comes out,” Nimke said. “I want more people to come out and help me fill in the blanks that I’ve got. I want this to grow into a nice digital history, so people can just keep adding to it.”

The slideshow will also feature pictures of the tornado that hit Manson in late June of 1979. There are also some before and after pictures, showing the immediate aftermath of the storm and then the same location 10 years later.

Another addition this year is the art show, which is open to the public and will feature works from students.

“The art teacher here in town, Theo Clark, expressed interest in helping out in Crater Days. What better way to help out than have an art show?” Nimke said.

-Messenger file photo Samantha Ruhland, 14, of Clare, dodges out of the way as the giant game of Jenga she was playing comes to a crashing end during the games in the park at the 2015 Manson Greater Crater Days.

There are about 120 entries so far, he said. The artwork will be judged in several different classes, plus an award for best in show. Some art will also be for sale.

The bathtub races will also make a return this year. There will be water fights by the fire department, followed by junior water fights. There’s also a slow pitch softball tournament.

“We have local church groups and youth groups coming out to supply the food,” Nimke added. “We have a lot of activities out there for a short amount of time.”

There will also be a soccer tournament Sunday morning, open to anyone.

Nimke has stepped up to help organize some of this work.

“Because I bleed Manson. I love this town so much, I want to support this town and see it grow,” he said.

“In four years we’re going to be 150. I want to have a big celebration for the 150th. Really treat ourselves right, and our ancestors.”