By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The 53rd Annual Colfax Firefighters Ball has been postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the circumstances with COVID-19, the firefighters have decided it would be best to postpone this year’s event, said Don Logslett, Colfax fire chief.
Traditionally held on the Saturday after Labor Day, the Firefighters’ Ball features a parade in downtown Colfax, a chicken dinner at the Colfax fairgrounds, an auction, penny hunt for the youngsters, a pedal tractor pull, a bean bag tournament, and a band in the beer garden at the fairgrounds in the evening.
Public health officials are recommending not holding events where large numbers of people gather to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The current recommendations from the Dunn County Health Department are no more than 25 people inside and no more than 50 people outside.
The Colfax Firefighters’ Ball typically draws hundreds of people for the parade and other events.
Logslett said the Colfax firefighters are hoping for a better year in 2021 so that all of the events at the Firefighters Ball can proceed as usual.
The very first Colfax Firemen’s Ball was held in October of 1967 to celebrate the completion of the brand new fire station on Main Street in Colfax where the Synergy auto repair shop is located now.
According to the September 21, 1967, Colfax Messenger: The Colfax firemen are busy as bees selling tickets for a firemen’s ball they are planning for Saturday, October 7, and if you haven’t been approached by at least half of those twenty-seven men to buy a ticket, you just weren’t in town, that’s all. Their new fire hall will be completed by that date and thus inspired the celebration. Some of you might not be aware of which men are our firemen so we’ll introduce them: Delmar Kressin, Julian Logslett, Lyle Brunkow, Tom Earl, Bill Railton, David Hovre, Lester Jenneman, George Maukstad, Francis Seever, Juel Melgaard, Larry Dobbs, Richard Albricht, Robert Knudson, Alan Johnson, Alton Knutson, Gerald Larson, Lloyd Hainstock, Gerald Laatch, Casper Foss, Frank Langel, Harold Harms, Howard Hilson, Raymond Johnson, Vernon Kressin, Gerald Schwegman, Clyde Prince and Gust Fehr.
The October 5, 1967, Messenger reported: This Saturday, October 7, the new community fire hall in Colfax will be officially dedicated.
At the same time, Solberg’s clothing store on Main Street held a special sale: Firemen’s Celebration Sale at Solberg’s — good supply of red hunters’ clothing: pants, coveralls, caps, jackets, mittens, sweatshirts.
According to the October 12, 1967, Colfax Messenger: Although the weatherman did his very best to make things miserable on Saturday with constant all-day rain, most events for the dedication of the new fire hall in Colfax were held and the whole celebration has been termed a success.
The next year, in 1968, Colfax firefighters were able to pick up their uniforms at Solbergs.
The September 5, 1968, Messenger reported: Attention firemen — Local firemen are reminded that their uniforms are ready and are urged to pick them up at Solberg’s Ready-to-Wear.
That same year, in the September 19, 1968, Colfax Messenger: Finishing touches are being made for the second annual Firemen’s Ball to be held in Colfax Saturday and Sunday, September 28-29. Saturday’s events will include an auction, penny hunt, pony pull, garden tractor pull, teenage dance and old time dance. Sunday’s events will be a tractor pull and water fight.
The next week, September 26, 1968, the Colfax Messenger reported: Fire Siren Specials at the FS Shopping Center: 4 loaves of bread for 97 cents; T-bone steak 89 cents a pound; Hills coffee, 2 pounds for $1.29; Hormel ham, 1 ½ pound tin for $1.59. Also — the local firemen will be serving Bloomin’ Good Arcadia Fryers Saturday and Sunday at the village park and at the fire hall.
According to the October 3, 1968, Colfax Messenger: Rollie Prince reports that 900 chicken quarters were served during the second annual Firemen’s Ball.
In 1969, the firefighters added some new events to their third Firemen’s Ball celebration.
The September 11, 1969, Colfax Messenger reports: Winding up the two-day Firemen’s Ball Sunday evening will be the staging of a home talent pageant titled “Yesterday and Today” at the village auditorium at 8:15 p.m. Narrators will be Mrs. Vernon Kressin and Mrs. Clarence Burling. Vocal selections will be presented by the Colfax Dairyaires. Prizes and awards will be presented. Also being presented will be Miss Colfax and Mr. Fireman of 1990.
The September 18, 1969, Messenger reported: About 215 kids participated in the Colfax Firemen’s Ball Kiddie Parade Saturday afternoon. And in what is believed to be one of the largest tractor pulling contests in the area, 74 tractors made pulls, with 2,000 spectators on hand.
The October 2, 1969, Messenger reported on a special event for Halloween: Colfax firemen plan to hold an old-time masquerade dance at the fire hall on Friday evening, October 31. Music will be furnished by the Top Notchmen and will fill feature Dirty Dave and Slippery Bill.