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Alexander to host 66th annual Old Settlers’ Day

Posted 8/31/11 (Wed)

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

Good times are in store for those who live in Alexander and its surrounding area as the community hosts its 66th annual Old Settlers’ Day celebration. And with the forecast calling for a pleasant weekend of weather, this year’s event promises to be a great one.
Old Settlers’ Day began 65 years ago, when Len Burns decided the community needed a fall celebration and donated the meat for the first picnic.
From then on, the festivities have only grown.
This year’s celebration begins Thursday, Sept. 1 and goes through Saturday, Sept. 3.
Thursday evening ignites the celebration with a community bonfire. According to Jerry Hatter, who has been in charge of advertising and getting donations for the festival, getting the wood ready for Thursday was an event in itself.
“Some of the young guys from town got together and gathered wood for the bonfire. Then they had a wood-cutting party,” says Hatter. “It’s a lot of work.”
Friday’s festivities include a Chili Cookoff from 3 - 7 p.m., where contestants will submit their Chili to be sampled and judged. That evening the Long X Wagon Train will pull into town and re-enact the old days. An old-time band will end the night with singing and dancing from 6 - 9 p.m.
Saturday’s celebration begins early, with a parade at 11 a.m.
The parade will be followed by a community barbecue at noon. The beef for the barbecue is being donated by Solveig Okland, this year’s honored guest. Tradition has held that the person or family being honored during Old Settlers’ Day provides the beef for the barbecue.
The Okland family will then put on a program and have an open house for anyone who wants to visit with them.
From 1 - 4 p.m. kids can play at the carnival set up by the school, and adults can enjoy perusing the vendor booths set up along Main Street. The evening will then conclude with a street band and dance at the firehall.
“It’s a good time, because people come in that you haven’t seen in a while,” states Hatter.
Ed Rettig, a longtime resident of Alexander, says he’s been attending Old Settlers’ Day for 63 years and he loves it.
“In all my years in Alexander, I’ve only missed the celebration once,” states Rettig.