GODAHL - Surrounded on all sides by expansive crop fields that are the lifeblood of the small community, Godahl enjoyed an increased turnout Monday for its 58th annual Godahl Labor Day celebration.
Event organizers said they anticipate their final attendance totals to reach as high as 1,000 visitors, which is double the 500 people in attendance last year. Organizers attributed the boost to the bright, sunny weather and the end of road work that blocked select roads into town last year.
The main events focused around events with strong attendance, such as live music all-day on the main stage, continuous bingo games and baseball games on the fields. Burgers, snacks, root beer and the new addition of flavored snow cones were served to hungry visitors.
A large parade down one of the two main roads that compromise Godahl featured a fully display of marching bands, baseball teams, local business and emergency vehicles with flashing lights.
The Miss Godahl event was not held for the second year in a row due to no local children being of the required age range to compete.
The entire event is a fundraiser for Godahl's sports fields and recreation buildings. The event is anticipated to raise between $7,000 and $10,000
Staff photos by Josh Moniz
Flag bearers from St. James High School lead the St. James band during the parade at the 58th annual Godahl Labor Day event.
The biggest fundraising activity is the "Messy Bessy," which revolves around a cow in a pen which is divided into grids by spray paint lines. Visitors bet on the squares, and the cow determines the winner when it makes a "deposit." The activity generates $1,000 to $1,5000 each year.
Additionally, the over 100-year-old Albin-Nelson (Township) general store enjoyed a boost in customers from the Labor Day events. The store, originally built in 1894 by farmers tired of driving their horse-drawn buggies into town, functions as the major meeting place for the surrounding farm homes and communities that comprise Godahl's far-spread population. It has largely kept its old traditions, running checkout with an old-style metal cash registers and using a hand-run machine for meat slicing.
The store also functions as a city center for Godahl. Auction bills and lists of church activities are taped to the front window. A single book case in the back acts as the local library, with the logs of "check outs" registered by hand-written cards. The supply of books are provided in a rotating selection to the store by the St. James Public Library.
Darlene Olson, who has worked at the store since 1972, said she enjoyed seeing all kinds of new faces at this year's event. She said she hopes the visitors will be enticed into visiting Godahl again in the future, which would help the store and the town.
The store itself sold souvenir calendars this year to guests. The funds from these sales are put towards maintaining the store and its operations.
Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org