March 26, 2007

A trip down Good Neighbor Days lane

Bringing back fond memories of Good Neighbor Days past

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

With the 30-year anniversary of Good Neighbor Days (GND) in Howard Lake approaching this June, it is an opportune time to reminisce about celebrations past.

Certain elements from past GND are of particular interest, such as a review of all 30 buttons that have been produced for the event.

John and Marilyn Ringold of Howard Lake have a full set of all 30 GND buttons, but would like extras, especially of the years listed below, to keep for both fun and historical reasons.

“We are looking for Good Neighbor Days buttons for 1978, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995. Does anyone remember who was in charge of selling the buttons these years? If so, maybe these buttons are in a bag or box, tucked away in the closet, basement, or garage,” Marilyn said.

When found, please call Marilyn Ringold at (320) 543-3630. Even if the buttons were disposed of, please call Marilyn so she can stop looking.

“All of the buttons were well-designed, but some had a more unique design and some have a story behind them, and it would be fun to hear it,” Marilyn said.

If you know a story behind a particular design, please let Marilyn know.

For example, it is unknown where the idea behind the beehive that is on the 1983 - 1986 buttons came from. Also, the design of the 1978 button has a unique drawing on it that would be fun to uncover its origin.

Similarly, the 1997 and 1998 buttons were very large with a unique design that is unclear where the inspiration came from.

Many buttons feature a theme or highlight a significant anniversary or attribute of the city such as the 1996 button that celebrates 100 years of the Howard Lake Fire Department, and the 1978 button that highlights 25 years of royalty.

The button for 2000 had a picture of the city hall on it to highlight the formation of the Howard Lake Historical Society and to celebrate the city hall.

The 2002 button featured the new water tower, and the 2005 button boasted 100 years of the library.

The rectangular and square buttons were introduced in 1999 by Marilyn Ringold. The idea was inspired by a button the Ringolds received when their daughter Julie was in the Minneapolis Aquatennial the previous year.

Marilyn thought the rectangular shape was so unique that she introduced that new style the following year.

“Because I like to be different. Everyone has a round button,” Marilyn laughed.

Marilyn works with Greg Birkholz on the design and production of the buttons.

“The 2008 button will be a large, round button celebrating 30 years of royalty, starting with the centennial queen up to and including the 2008 royalty,” she said.

Beard growing contest

Did you know that a beard-growing contest was part of the GND celebrations for several years in the past?

Different categories of beards were offered such as the oldest and whitest, the oldest entrant, and the reddest.

A couple winners in 1978 were Richard Weller, first place for the reddest; and Welton Zander, second place for the oldest entrant.

A reminder to residents

An interesting side note as to how the city showed concern for the town’s appearance during GND is apparent in the following notice posted in the June 23, 1983 Howard Lake Herald:

“The city council would like to remind everyone to have their property in town mowed and looking its best for the busy Good Neighbor Days weekend.”

10-cent ice cream cones

The Wright County American Dairy Association sponsored 10-cent ice cream cones during GND past.

St. John’s Lutheran Church of Howard Lake had an ice cream social during the parade behind the old bank building, under the drive through, according to Marilyn.

For many years now, the Howard Lake Good Samaritan Center offers $1.50 root beer floats as a fundraiser for projects that benefit its residents.

A ‘sloppy’ tradition

“The Howard Lake Legion Auxiliary would always host a sloppy joe and fresh pie luncheon, which was always a big draw,” Marilyn said.

The tradition was retired, but was reinstated last year by the Friends of the Library with sloppy joes and strawberry shortcake.

We’re looking for your stories and memories

Please contact either Marilyn Ringold at (320) 543-0141 or Jennifer Gallus at (320) 485-2535 with your Good Neighbor Days memories or one-liners.

Also looking for buttons

If you have GND buttons from years past, please contact Marilyn Ringold.

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