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Keeping on

Despite setbacks, Badgerfest tradition will continue

-Submitted photo
From left to right: Melissa Bach, Badgerfest face painter, Leah Myer, Badgerfest participant and Mary Gascho, Badgerfest face painter and designer of all Badgerfest flyers, pose during a past Badgerfest.

Although the annual Badgerfest celebration may be on a modified version than from previous years, there is still plenty of fun to be had.

This year’s festival is planned for Aug. 7, where else but Badger, of course.

Mandy Gascho, president of the Badgerfest Committee, said they are excited to be back after having to cancel last year’s event and now they are working to re-gain momentum to be able to keep Badgerfest a thing for several years to come.

“We didn’t ask for sponsors last year just because everyone was hurting and at that time, we didn’t feel as a committee it was appropriate to ask businesses for money when they are struggling,” she said.

In order to help make up those lost funds, Gascho said their main focus for Badgerfest, well, in addition to having tons of fun, is to raise what was lost out on last year. That is where a fundraiser meal and a silent auction will hopefully help.

-Submitted photo
Batman, left, and Jill Butterfield-Luedtke, Badgerfest committee member, pose during a previous Badgerfest.

Also, Gascho said personal and business donations are also welcome, in the form of a silent auction item or a monetary contribution. For those that are interested are encouraged to email the committee at: Badgerfestcommittee15@gmail.com

“Badgerfest is something we are all passionate about and we want to keep going,” she said. “Obviously, you need the funds to do that.”

Not only are monies raised used to keep the annual celebration going, but those funds also go to support the community of Badger. Gascho said they have been able to support garage sales days; donate to the Badger Public Library and more. Typically, the committee gives to the Badger Fire Department – this year, the tables turned.

“They actually gave us a donation this year because they know we are hurting for funds, that was nice,” she said.

A modified event

-Submitted photo
Little Mr. and Miss Badgerfest are pictured during Badgerfest in 2018. Back Left to Right: Pam Smith, current Badger City Council member and past Badgerfest Committee Member, Carol Hanson, Badgerfest Committee secretary, Jaci Grave, Badgerfest Committee member.

With COVID still existing, Gascho said they made the decision to scale back the usual Badgerfest activities for this year.

“We didn’t want to have our full event, so with what we are having, we are able to manage social distancing; for the most part we will be outside,” she said. “We are still declared a public health emergency so that’s why we chose to go the route we did, but next year, we are planning to have the big, huge event with more fun things.”

A homecoming

Gascho said for those that grew up in Badger and have moved away, oftentimes make Badgerfest an opportunity to come back home. It’s also a chance for Badger residents to celebrate their small community and for out-of-towners to come check out what the community has to offer.

“For people who have lived in Badger their whole lives or grew up in Badger, Badgerfest is a huge part of their memory and their childhood,” she said. “It’s also to let outsiders know we have a great little community. It’s a great place to raise kids.”

-Submitted photo
Members of the U.S. military march down main street in Badger during a prrevious parade for Badgerfest.

Gascho has a lot of her own memories of Badgerfests of the past and the fun times she had. There has always been a variety of fun, she said from the annual parade, carnival, mud volley ball and even a greased pole climbing contest with $100 to the first person to make it to the top.

It is those memories that Gascho and the other Badgerfest Committee members: Carol Hanson, Sarah Butterfield-Diaz, Jill Butterfield-Luedtke, Rachel Baker-Richardson and Jacie Graves have decided to donate their time to keep the celebration going.

“I wanted my kids to have those memories I had,” she said. “It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of time, but when I have kids come up and say ‘Badgerfest was so fun, when are we having the next one?’ It makes it worth it,” she said.

Badgerfest

The 2021 Badgerfest will be held Saturday, Aug. 7 and kicks off with a parade at 3:30 p.m.

-Submitted photo
Members of the Badger community hold a sign in 2017 thanking people for attending the event. Back row, left to right: Rachel Richardson, Badgerfest Committee member, Mandy Gascho Badgerfest president and Carol Hanson, Badgerfest treasurer/secretary. Front, left to right: Lexi Hanson, Badgerfest volunteer, Karley Gascho, Badgerfest volunteer and Benny the Badger.

Gascho said they are welcoming entries and if anyone would like to participate, they are encouraged to be lined up by 3 p.m. at City Hall.

Following the parade is the fundraiser meal at the Badger Fire Department from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The meal is a pulled park sandwich, baked beans, sweet corn, bag of chips; dessert can of pop or a bottle of water for $10 for adults and Kids 6 and under, $5.

The silent auction will also be going on during that time.

Something new this year is a corn eating contest that starts on Main Street from 7-8 p.m. A DJ will follow with a street dance on Main Street from 8-midnight.

On Sunday morning, Badger Lutheran Church is planning an outdoor service, weather permitting.

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