On the Road: Kernel Days highlights Wells’ agricultural roots

Published 9:20 am Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kernel Days this year, beginning Wednesday evening and ending Sunday, is jam packed with many events throughout the city that highlight and commemorate the city’s agricultural roots.

An obvious attraction of the festival is the Giant Parade, which takes place at noon Sunday. The parade will start on Main Street. Grand marshals this year are Jim Ramaker and Meryl Berger, two community members that have given a lot to Wells.

Ramaker started teaching music in town in 1958. Throughout his time in Wells he was the dean of students at the Bricelyn school, was a four-time delegate to the National Education Association and served on many state and national art groups.

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A few projects are greatly credited to Ramaker. He was part of the group that initiated funds to purchase land for the Wells Development Park Property, raising enough money to make a down payment on land for the industrial park.

Ramaker was also a driving force behind the “Common Feeling,” a musical drama based on Wells history and the musician Harry Gillam. The school received a federal grant to put on the production and save the community’s musical legacy. “Common Feeling” was performed in 1978 and 1994.

The Wells depot revival and restoration project is attributed to Ramaker, too. He helped form a committee to save the depot and turn it into the Wells Depot Museum. The project also revived the Wells Historical Society. Ramaker is involved in many other community organizations.

Co-grand marshal Berger moved to Wells in the 1930s and went through the city’s school system. Through the years she was involved in the Wells parent-teacher association as a board member and president.

In 1958, Berger and her husband Don purchased Berger’s Drive Inn. Soon after, Berger became the manager of Mitchell’s Style Shop, a dress shop for women. She became the first female business owner in Wells when she purchased Mitchell’s and turned it into Meryl’s Style Shop for men and women. She ran the shop until 1988.

Wells Kernel Days, Thursday through Sunday

All events at Half Moon Park unless otherwise noted


5 p.m. Minnesota’s Magic Midway Carnival

5 p.m. Jaycees beer garden

7 p.m. Little Miss Kernel Pageant, United South Central auditorium

8 p.m. Rollin’ on Midnight with live music, Bevcomm Stage


11 a.m. Kernel Days Kickoff Party with free lunch, Wells Federal Bank

5 p.m. Minnesota’s Magic Midway Carnival

5 p.m. Lions bingo, food stands, Jaycees beer garden

6 p.m. Tractor Races and events

6:30 p.m. Volleyball tournament

7 p.m. Live music from Dunnell Lenort, Bevcomm Stage

9:45 p.m. Fireworks


8 a.m. Annual Jr. Miss 5-mile run/3-mile walk

8 a.m. United Methodist Church Youth Group breakfast

8 a.m. Farmers Market, Wells Marketplace Foods parking lot

8 a.m. Maple Valley Classic Car Show, downtown

8 a.m. Softball tournament

9 a.m. Volleyball tournament

10 a.m. Kids Pedal Tractor Pull

10 a.m. Food stands, Arts in the Park

11 a.m. Bocce Ball tournament

12 p.m. Lions bingo, Minnesota’s Magic Midway Carnival

1 p.m. Cribbage tournament, American Legion

2 p.m. Petting zoo

2 p.m. The Golden Bubbles, Bevcomm Stage

4:30 p.m. Classic Car Cruise, around town

5 p.m. Speaker Al Batt, Bevcomm Stage

6:30 p.m. Spotlight Dancers, Bevcomm Stage

8 p.m. Teen Dance

8:30 Fireman’s Street Dance with music by IV Play at the fire hall


8 a.m. VFW pancake breakfast, VFW

8 a.m. United Methodist Youth Group breakfast

9 a.m. Volleyball tournament

10 a.m. Community Worship Service, Bevcomm Stage

12 p.m. Giant Parade, starts on Main Street — Grand Marshals: Jim Ramaker and Meryl Berger

After parade Live performances, Jim Lawrence Orchestra, Draft Horse plowing at the Field by Casey’s , Lions bingo, food stands, Jaycees beer garden, Minnesota’s Magic Midway, Joah’s Ark petting zoo, announcement of button winners at the Bevcomm Stage

3 p.m. Talent show, Bevcomm Stage

The Bevcomm sponsored stage is located at Half Moon Park behind the shelter.

Berger was also the first female Wells Area Chamber of Commerce member and served as the secretary. She was a member of the Wells American Legion Auxiliary for more than 50 years and was the president three times, along with other community involvement.

Both Berger and Ramaker can be seen this weekend as the grand marshals of the parade.

Another event that draws people is the fireworks, which will start at 9:45 p.m. Friday night at the Half Moon Park.

New this year is the 5-mile run/3-mile walk as a fundraiser for the Jr. Miss competition. The run begins at 8 a.m. Saturday at Half Moon Park. There will not be a kiddie parade, but more live music and bands were added to the festival.

Kernel Days will go on rain or shine.