Hartland entertains for Harvest Days

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 12, 2006

HARTLAND &045; Two little old ladies boogied out onto a makeshift stage in the Hartland Community Center’s garage Friday evening to raucous applause and giggling, all for the Hartland Harvest Days Variety Show.

The one in blue introduced herself as Gladys, and the one in pink &045; who had a particularly outrageous hat &045; was Mrs. Wiggins, and they were the event’s emcees.

Of course, in daily life, Gladys is really Gail Batt. Mrs. Wiggins is actually Kim Williams.

&8220;The Ladies Who Knit&8221; set the tone for the event with some Ole and Lena jokes, and followed through with a couple of Norwegian jokes. The crowd wasn’t quite sure whether to laugh or groan, but eventually they had to applaud under the threat of being taught how to knit.

The show began with Hannah Light and Lillie Nielsen, both of Hartland, who sang the gentle Faith Hill ballad &8220;Fireflies.&8221; Light returned to the stage later to sing and dance to a dance mix of &8220;Genie in a Bottle,&8221; and Lillie Nielsen returned to sing a rendition of &8220;Beauty and the Beast,&8221; the theme song from the popular Disney movie.

The show took a turn for the silly again as the Senior Citizen Orchestra climbed onto the stage, sat down, and began to play &8220;Thus Sprach Zarathustra&8221; &045; by releasing the air from balloons.

The squeaks were conducted by Jed Knutson, who was far too young to qualify as a senior. When he brought his arms down for the final note, all the air was released from the balloons, creating an emphatic pbphbtttt sound.

Kevin Lynne performed two short magic tricks, changing water into ice cubes, and the performances continued with Hilary Johnson’s rich vocalization of &8220;Beautiful.&8221;

Brooke Olson of Hartland decided to join the fun and play a tune on the piano, though she wasn’t on the program. She said she just wanted to be in the Variety Show, and though she was a little nervous before she played, the crowd seemed to love her.

More performers took the stage after the intermission from other area residents, including Steve VanMaldeghem, Jake Knutson, Zach Jacobson, Paul Koziolek, Jessica Behnke, Brandon Flatness, Christ Mortenson, Christian Stewart and Zach Jacobson.

Throughout the evening, the Ladies Who Knit introduced each act with silly Norwegian jokes and bantered with each other about aging.

&8220;Is there a fireman in the audience?&8221; one asked the other. &8220;If I have a hot flash, the whole place could go up!&8221;