By Jennifer Gallus
The four men who have been named the “founding fathers” of Howard Lake’s Good Neighbor Days will be this year’s grand marshals for the Grande Day Parade.
Those men are Welton Zander, Tom Main, Gary Hagemann, and the late Clayton Perry. They were also awarded the commodore award during last year’s Good Neighbor Days celebration.
Welton Zander, who was once mayor of Howard Lake, is not only known for his community service, but for being one of the hands sketched in the original town symbol of the handshake.
As the founding fathers were discussing the very first Good Neighbor Days more than three decades ago, the idea of a handshake as the celebration symbol was born.
“An artist was in the bakery with us,” Hagemann said, “and she agreed to sketch the handshake for us, and one of those hands was Welton’s.”
The other hand was that of George Jones of Howad Lake. The local artist was Doris Luhman.
“I’ve always felt good about having my hand on that original button,” Zander said.
Zander’s favorite activities during Good Neighbor Days over the course of the years have been the baseball games, and meet the candidate night.
He also enjoyed being awarded the commodore award with his wife, Harriet, a few years back, in addition to last year’s group commodore award.
Main said the best part of Good Neighbor Days for him is the parade.
“Good Neighbor Days and the parade is getting better and better right along,” Main said.
Hagemann has many fond memories of past Good Neighbor Days including the softball tournaments that once took place with local teams, the Sunday dinners that would attract about 1,500 people, and the street dances.
“They’d close off the street in front of the post office for the Saturday night street dance,” Hagemann said. “Then there would be an old-time dance above the liquor store. It would get hot up there, so people would go back down to the street dance to cool off. All night people would go back and forth.”
All people would need to get into the dances and for the Sunday dinner was the $1 button at the time. Button sales and beer sales paid for the bands and the Sunday dinner expenses back then, Hagemann said.
The late Clayton Perry’s son, Dave, accepted Clayton’s commodore award on his behalf last year.
“He enjoyed Good Neighbor Days a lot,” Dave said of his father.
“He managed the municipal liquor store when Good Neighbor Days started and helped organize some of the original events,” Dave said.
“He liked seeing people have a good time, and he enjoyed seeing so many people from the community at one time,” Dave added.
The grande day parade will take place Sunday, June 22 at 2 p.m.