July 16, 2007

Watertown Rails to Trails and Hollywood School House

By Jenni Sebora

The Rails to Trails Festival in Watertown was born out of a town meeting. In 1993, the city was looking for an event that would celebrate its heritage and provide entertainment and camaraderie for its residents.

Rails to Trails it was and continues to be.

This year marks the 15th annual Rails to Trails Festival, set to take place Friday and Saturday, July 20-21.

The name, Rails to Trails, stands for the change of the Luce Line from a railway to a state recreational trail.

The Watertown Lions Club is chairing the Rails to Trials Festival this year.

Many fun events are again planned for this year’s version of the festival.

Some of the events include the second annual Crow River Barbecue Challenge, Golden Spike Treasure Hunt, 5K and Kids Fun Run, Laser Light Show, the Grand Parade, softball tournament, musical entertainment and events for the little ones as well.

Highland Park in Watertown will be the setting for most of the festival’s events.

The second annual Crow River Barbecue Challenge, sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society, is set to take place on Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21 at Highland Park.

The contests include chicken, pork, ribs and beef challenges. On Friday, July 20 there will also be a chili cook-off, where the public chooses the winner of the best-tasting chili.

The family tent will play house to a variety of family entertainment activities.

Hillbilly Cadillac will entertain people with its Bluegrass music during the festival.

The Watertown Fine Arts Council is once again sponsoring some children’s activities. The Eye Open Puppet Theater will provide puppet entertainment for kids.

An ice cream social with music by the Brothers Frantzich and Winds of Watertown – Watertown Community Band will be part of the family tent’s events also.

Musical talent will once again not be in short supply at this year’s festival. Aside from the aforementioned musical acts, a teen band competition, Funk Junkies, Big Spud Daddy, Basement Band and Kurt Jorgenson Band will all provide music lovers with some great entertainment.

Of course, a city celebration is not the same without a grand day parade, which was changed this year.

On Saturday, July 21, at 10 a.m. the grand parade will begin making its way through the Rails to Trails parade route.

Rails to Trails

Watertown, MN

Friday and Saturday,

July 20-21, 2007

Chaired by the Watertown

Lions Club

Registration ad for parade floats can be found in this week’s Herald Journal

Hollywood School House

By Jenni Sebora

Saturday, July 21 will be a busy time in Hollywood Township, full of fun and celebration.

Hollywood Township is the home of the old Hollywood District 76 School. The former one-room school and town hall, which sits on the southeast corner of Carver County Roads 21 and 122, was built in 1906. On July 21, a “party” celebrating its 100 years of existence will also take place.

The celebration, sponsored by the Hollywood Booster Club, is actually a day to honor and pay tribute to all one-room school houses, Booster Club member Bruce Johnson noted, whose mother, Kathy Johnson was once a teacher at the District 76 School.

The school served students for more than 60 years before it was dissolved. In the early 1970s, with student population dwindling and country schools closing, the district was dissolved into the Watertown School District.

The building which once had little feet scampering about, later had bigger shoes treading its floors as it was used as the town hall.

In the 1990s, a new town hall was built, and the small, white building that began as a country school sat empty.

However, activity has been brewing again as area residents have been and continue to renovate the old building.

The Hollywood Booster Club was instrumental in keeping this building in existence and in its restoration. In fact, the Hollywood Park and Restoration Board was established with a mission to restore the building.

The building also holds fame. In 1993, it was pictured on the cover of the Jayhawks album called “Hollywood Town Hall.”

For the rights to use the school on the album cover, the Jayhawks donated $1,800 toward the restoration.

To keep the school memories alive, the building will be furnished like an old school with desks, a library table and old pictures.

During this special “birthday” celebration, the former school building can be toured and the memorabilia, pictures and artifacts of Hollywood’s past can be viewed and shared. Former teachers will also be in the school building once again.

The celebration, a field day, occurs from 1-5 p.m. on July 21 with a variety of activities occurring that are reminiscent of the times when the old district 76 school was up and running.

A nine and 10 year old ball game with Hollywood School taking on Woodland School will be played on the field at the neighboring Hollywood Complex.

At 3 p.m., the Old West Society will be performing a reenactment of the old Hollywood Red Sox hardball game of the early 1900s.

Other activities, such as an antique tractor drive may also be part of the day’s celebration. Refreshments and food will be available for purchase.

The nearby Neaton Brothers Erosion Control and Burns Excavating buildings may also house some of the day’s activities.

The official school bell will ring at about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday to get the celebration started.

As it is really a field day, the public is welcome to bring games, such as toss games, and can enjoy their own picnic lunches as well.

The public is also welcome to bring and share other one-room school artifacts and memorabilia.

District 76 Hollywood School House

100-year first class celebration

July 21, 2007

1 – 5 p.m.

Hosted by the Hollywood Booster Club

For more information, call (952) 985-8888

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