And the best (is still) yet to be
Aug. 6, 2012
by Dale Kovar

While working on some of the things for Winsted’s upcoming 125th celebration, I indulged in a trip down memory lane by looking at our newspapers from 1987 when the centennial was observed.

Some of the aspects of the centennial I remembered, while others took the newspaper record to bring them back to light.

One thing that struck me the most: I know a lot of people in the photos – but you guys looked a lot younger 25 years ago!

Offhand, I remember the work that went into planning and creating our special coverage section. It served as both the news coverage of the centennial activities, plus advertising in a “yearbook” form to name and picture as many businesses and their employees as we could at the time of the event.

There was a lot of participation and it was a great success, so much so that we had to split it into two sections because the printing press can only put out so many pages at a time.

I remember spending the entire weekend covering the centennial, rushing back to the darkroom between events to develop film and make prints, before it was on to the next one.

I don’t remember how many rolls of film we went through, but it was a lot. In those days, the process from start to finish to develop and fix film, dry it, and then make a print usable for newspaper reproduction would take close to an hour to complete.

Today, it’s quick and easy, not to mention Photoshop options of changing brightness or sizing with a few clicks or keystrokes, instead of starting over to get a new print just right.

I remember the centennial song “Well Done, O Winsted” running through my head. I even played a recording (on a cassette, of course) of it in the office while caught up in the moment waiting for more film to dry.

I remember getting to interview Paulette Carlson about her career and the concert at the centennial with her band, Highway 101, which was just reaching national popularity at the time.

She told me they opened a show for Randy Travis in front of 32,000 people. Not having yet developed an interest in country music, I had no clue who Randy Travis was.

The centennial concert was great – so much so that a couple years later my wife and I went to see Highway 101 again at the State Fair when they opened for George Strait.

We enjoyed Highway 101 a lot, but walked out on George Strait after just a couple songs. Several years later, I learned who George Strait was and why he was a headliner.

I did remember that Winsted hosted a series of events on Friday nights for about a month leading up to the centennial celebration.

These included a fiddling contest, Winsted Centennial Chorus performance, lip sync contest, announcement of grand marshals Jim Baird, Sr., and Rosanne Hertel, along with several performances of the centennial song written and performed by Rev. Robert and Sandra Voelker, then of St. John’s Lutheran Church.

I didn’t remember until reading the paper that there was a major wrap-up event on August 27, commemorating the actual centennial date for Winsted.

It featured repeat performances by many of the groups that made the centennial activities what they were, and ended with a balloon launching as a final tribute.

A time capsule was also buried, to be opened in 2087, and since most of us probably won’t be here then, this is what is supposed to be in it:

• copies of the Star Tribune and Winsted Journal

• centennial history book

• a copy of the original minutes of the first Winsted City Council meeting

• an assortment of centennial souvenirs

• a videotape of centennial events, and a videotape of the community made by driving all the streets and filming what existed. “We hope 100 years from now people still have VHS players so they can look at it,” Centennial Vice Chairman Gary Lenz said.

• depending on legalities, possibly a $100 savings certificate issued to the City of Winsted which was expected to be worth significantly more 100 years later.

Here are few more tidbits from the newspaper coverage of Winsted’s centennial 25 years ago:

• The centennial baby was Rachel Deeter, born Sunday evening of the event at St. Mary’s Hospital to Chris and Tammy Deeter of Waconia.

• Aaron Kubasch found the centennial medallion behind the scoreboard at Barrett Field.

• Craig Warnke won the top prize of a “centennial gun” in a raffle drawing.

• Maria Weinbeck was centennial queen and Robin Baird was princess.

• The Winsted Centennial Chorus was directed by Dr. Michael Thoennes.

• Tornadoes and heavy rains causing flooding moved through the Twin Cities the night before, but the weather was mild in Winsted where a pre-centennial concert by the Winsted Community Band took place.

• Mayor Don Guggemos and the visiting mayor of Winsted, CT, Nancy Eisenlohr, exchange gifts of a key to the city and plaque.

• Marlan Vande Steeg created the centennial logo, and Luke Otto coined the slogan “and the best is yet to be.”

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