Borderfest offers weekend full of events
by conrad bascom
lake Mills graphic
Borderfest 2018—Emmons’ preeminent summer fete—is due to kick off Friday night, Aug. 10, on Main Street in Emmons, Minn.
This year, Borderfest will be graced by the presence of two visiting dignitaries, both of whom have been designated as the Border Parade’s Grand Marshals: long-time resident and veteran, Arnie Troe, as well as Emmons’ royalty and lifetime Vikings fan, LaVonne Emmons.
There’s a lot of variety in this year’s entertainment. There will be performances by Casey Muessigmann on Friday at 8:30 p.m., while The Mockingbirds Band will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Other events of note: the Karaoke Contest at 7 p.m. Friday (prizes for the winners); the Bean Bag Tournament (Noon) and Knockerball (10 a.m.) both commence Saturday, as well as the Antique Tractor Pull (pre-register by noon).
Adults can take part in a singles cribbage tournament beginning at 2 p.m. in the Senior Center on Saturday. Kids will enjoy the pedal pull at 2:30 p.m., and pork chops will be served at the Emmons American Legion from 4:30-7 p.m.
The centerpiece of Borderfest 2018 is inarguably the Classic Car Show and Cruise, which is preceded by the Border Parade at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. If any more information regarding schedule, location, or contacts is needed, Emmons Borderfest can be found on Facebook.
This is quite the year for Grand Marshal LaVonne Emmons: not only will she be returning to the town that bears her name to Grand Marshal its biggest celebration, but LaVonne Emmons will be hitting a major landmark Oct. 28, as she will turn 100 years old in Rushford, Minn., while surrounded by family. Borderfest is really just the run up to an occasion most people don’t reach in their lifetime, so count on LaVonne enjoying it.
When asked about being named Grand Marshal of Borderfest, LaVonne replied: “I’m honored to be chosen. I guess you could say it’s one of the perks of reaching 100 years old.”
LaVonne will be riding in the family’s blue 1954 Chevrolet Corvette, which, according to Emmons’ tale, was the first Corvette off the assembly line. Sadly, the Emmons family are no longer the owners of the American dream machine, but its current owner was kind to loan the slick vehicle out to LaVonne for such an occasion.
LaVonne Emmons still lived in Emmons as recently as April of 2018, at which point she was the tiny burg’s oldest living resident. Before coming to Emmons, LaVonne grew up on a farm in the Klemme region. She attended Waldorf College, where she met her husband, Henry “Babe” Emmons. She graduated from St. Olaf College with a teaching degree in English and speech and taught in Iowa schools.
LaVonne was a gifted soprano, singing with choirs and ensembles—while moonlighting as a soloist. She appeared in recitals, concerts, and even on the radio for a variety of church functions and community events.
After Henry’s discharge from the army, the couple moved to Emmons, Minn. They decided to relocate because Babe was one of the founding partners of the Emmons Bros. Garage. Tragically, Henry would die in 1952, just two months before their youngest boy was born.
LaVonne became a single mother of four children: Sonja, Leon, Bill, and Greg. She took an active part in their school activities, and showed a knack for Band Boosters. She joined the Civic Improvement Club in 1947 and remains an honorary member to this day. She also continues to affiliate herself with Emmons Lutheran Church, where she once led the choir, taught Sunday school, and was an active circle member.
As her four children grew and flew the roost, LaVonne returned to teaching in the Albert Lea Public School System. She taught Language Arts in the Resource Rooms of Brookside (where she began the Pupil-Teacher Program), and the high school.
LaVonne is an avid Twins, NASCAR, and Minnesota Vikings fan. On her 80th birthday, family gathered in Las Vegas and spectated as LaVonne took two laps around the track at the Las Vegas Speedway. Her greatest regret: that she wasn’t allowed to drive that day. For her 84th birthday, Leon arranged for her to stand on the Vikings Metrodome field in her #84 jersey and meet the current #84 of 2001’s Viking Squad, Randy Moss.
On Oct. 28, a group of people from locations as disparate as Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Korea, Maine, North Carolina, South Dakota, Iowa, and California, will all congregate in Rushford, Minnesota. They are all LaVonne Emmons’ children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren—and they will be there to celebrate her 100th birthday.
The other Grand Marshal is Arnie Troe. He is a long-time resident of Emmons. He has lived in the Emmons area all but two years of his life, when he was stationed in Hawaii while in the U.S. Army.
Arnie got married in 1963 and has one daughter, Deanna; three grandsons; nine great-grandchilden; and one great-great grandchild.
He worked at the Emmons Lumber Yard after he got out of the service for 30 years and retired from there.
Arnie is active in the Legion, where he was Emmons Legion Commander in 2000 and 2001, and also Minnesota District 1 Commander. Arnie has also been active at Emmons Lutheran Church, where he served on the church council.
Borderfest offers everyone in the family something to enjoy this weekend, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 10-11.