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Fun stacks up at Brickyard Days

Early last month, Wrenshall's Jolene Johnson went to talk to a coach about getting the cheerleaders into the Brickyard Days parade, only to be told that the annual event had been canceled.

She was flabbergasted, and almost immediately decided she would take it on. Within days, her mom, Phyllis Rousseau, promised to help and the pair jumped on board, with a month to make it happen.

During an interview Tuesday, they were frazzled, but excited. The small town of Wrenshall will be hopping this weekend, with a host of family-friendly activities and events to bring the community together.

Johnson said she wanted the focus on family fun.

"We want as much kid interaction as possible," she said. "Not things based on alcohol and adult activities."

The fun begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday with a Raptors 5K walk/run, followed by a Community Night Out picnic and an outdoor movie in the park, hosted by the city. What movie? "Horton Hears a Who!" based on the Dr. Seuss book of the same name.

Saturday starts early with a pancake breakfast 7-10 a.m. at the high school and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament beginning at 9 a.m. The parade starts at 11 a.m., with lineup in the school parking lot a half-hour before. Latecomers are welcome to join in at the end, no pre-registration necessary.

After the parade, folks can grab ice cream at the firehall and head to Hugh Line Park, aka the deer park, for bingo, carnival games, a bake sale, face painting and crazy hair by the cheerleaders, and exotic animals on display.

Many of the activities will be student-run: the baseball team is running bingo, the volleyball and basketball teams are holding tournaments featuring their sports, and the softball team is organizing the 5K race/walk.

"We wanted to get the school kids involved so they could be there and also raise money," Johnson said.

Bricks Pub and Grub is also hosting events. There's a beach ball volleyball tournament Friday at 7 p.m. and a live band 8 p.m. to midnight. On Saturday, the cornhole tournament starts at 1 p.m. (register at noon). There's live music 3-5 p.m. and 6-10 p.m., and a hot dog eating contest at 5:30 p.m.

It's been hectic, but it's worth it, Rousseau said.

"Every town has something, a community gathering, where you can see your friends, your community, your neighbor," she said.

Johnson added she's gotten a lot of positive feedback from people.

"I feel like our community has been pushing apart, so I'm really happy this is something we can do together," she said. "Without any negative interaction. We can just come together and have fun."

Questions? Call Jolene at 218-390-3610 or Phyllis at 218-393-1507.

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