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Colfax tables funding for Sesquicentennial

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  Putting on a 150th birthday party in July of 2014 for Colfax could cost $15,000 or more.

To date, the Colfax Commercial Club has about $1,500 in its account, the majority of which has come from donations made by individuals, many of whom do not live in Colfax.

At the Colfax Village Board’s December 9 meeting, village trustees once again backed away from contributing toward the financing the celebration, either through a direct contribution or a loan to the Colfax Commercial Club.

At the village board’s last meeting in November, Mark Johnson, vice president of the CCC, asked the village board for $15,000, part or all of which could be considered a loan for the Sesquicentennial next summer.

After the last meeting, village board members wanted timelines and prices associated with it, said Scott Gunnufson, village president.

CCC members met last week and added up costs for various portions of the celebration, he said.

The total came to $14,730.

Costs for beer sales and chicken dinners were calculated on information received from the American Legion and the Colfax firefighters based on the experiences of those two groups at the Colfax Free Fair and the Colfax Firefighters’ Ball.

Tent rentals and other costs were based on information available on the Internet.

The Colfax All School Reunion in 2010 drew 1,500 people to Colfax.

The Sesquicentennial is expected to draw more people than the All School Reunion.

The Dweebs, who will be the featured entertainment for the street dance on Saturday night, July 19, 2014, also are expected to draw about 500 additional people because the band has a certain number of followers who travel around, attending performances.

The CCC has made a $900 down payment on the Dweebs, with $5,100 remaining, and is currently looking for title sponsors who would be listed on all advertising and promotional materials for the Sesquicentennial.


Mona and Gary Thorson of Colfax have volunteered to organize a craft sale and flea market at the Colfax Fairgrounds for Saturday, July 19, 2014.

Steve Olson, music director at Colfax Lutheran, has offered to put together a community choir for the Sesquicentennial. The choir performance is expected to be held in Colfax Municipal Building Auditorium on Friday evening. The Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group, or representatives for the group, may also show old movies in the auditorium following the choir performance. A group of Norwegian singers could be performing as well.

The Sesquicentennial will kick off on Thursday evening, July 18, with a proclamation from the Governor at Music In the Park in Tower Park next to the Colfax Municipal Building. The Colfax Woman’s Club has coordinated and sponsored Music In the Park for many years on Thursday evenings.

Performers in the past have included Jim Herrick & Friends from Colfax; Mary Bjork and Christie Michels of Colfax singing a cappella; and the White Pine Ramblers from the Ludington Guard Band in Menomonie.

On Friday, July 18, 2014, the Sesquicentennial committee is planning to have students or other volunteers from the community give walking tours of the stone buildings in Colfax and talk about the history of the village. Businesses are invited to hold open houses or give tours of their facilities on Friday, July 18, 2014, as well.

The Colfax Sno-Drifters have volunteered to organize a car show for the Sesquicentennial. The car show will be on Saturday, either at the fairgrounds or at Karl’s Chevrolet in Colfax.

An antique tractor show is planned at the fairgrounds on Saturday, July 19, too.

A pioneer encampment is planning to set up in Stewart Park next to the Red Cedar River for that weekend.

The Colfax Softball Association has agreed to hold a kickball tournament that weekend.

“Old West” shooters may be a possibility at the Colfax Sportsmen’s Club shooting range south of town.

A water fight among neighboring fire departments is planned as part of the entertainment on Saturday, as well, along with a parade earlier in the day.

Although particulars have not yet been established, a chicken dinner is planned for downtown Colfax on the afternoon of July 19. Food vendors will be located along Main Street, too, with concessions being offered at the fairgrounds.


Mark Halpin, village trustee, made a motion to designate $7,500 for 2013 with the possibility of another $7,500 from 2014, as either a loan or a donation or a loan and a donation for the Sesquicentennial

Village board members wondered where the money would come from.

Jackie Ponto, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, suggested the general fund.

The village currently has about $700,000 in the general fund balance of undesignated funds.

The village also has $400,000 in designated funds that the village board has collected taxes for over the years but has never spent the money on the items for which it was intended.

Earlier in the meeting, the Colfax Village Board approved the design phase for the Fourth Street project but indicated that the street may not actually be constructed until 2015 because of finances.

Also earlier in the meeting, the village board set up a street improvement fund and authorized transferring $120,000 in leftover money from the 2013 budget into the street improvement fund.

“If we don’t have enough money to do a street project, we should not be funding the Sesquicentennial,” said Mike Buchner, village trustee.

Halpin rescinded his motion, and the Colfax Village Board approved tabling the Sesquicentennial funding until the village board’s January 13 meeting.