Wells to celebrate Kernel Days with a race

Published 10:18 am Monday, July 15, 2013

Column: Something About Nothing, by Julie Seedorf

We are having a race. By we, I mean the people planning the Kernel Day Celebration for my home community of Wells. The race is going to be similar to the “Amazing Race” on TV in as much as there will be mystery clues and mystery history questions. The difference from the TV show is that “Amazing Race” host Phil Keagan will not be here. We won’t ask anyone to jump off of a cliff, and we aren’t offering a million-dollar prize. But there will be a cash prize for the winner.

There are many things going on this year at Kernel Days on Aug. 16 and 17. These are some of the activities to look forward to: seed art and photo contest, quilt and table setting show, Little Miss Kernel, Maple Valley Classic Car Show, Mankato Brawler football, pedal tractor pull, Wells Federal Bank free lunch, Al Batt, live performances on the Bevcomm Stage, past and present wedding show, Saturday night parade and more.

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The list boggles my mind, but I am helping with what we are calling the Amazing History Race. We are learning so much history setting up questions and places for the contestants to race and find out the history of Wells. For instance, I did not know we once had a vinegar factory in our community. In 1881 a vinegar factory was erected on Highway 22 at the expense of $40,000. That was some big bucks back then. I wonder if the people that now have houses on the land know that they are living on top of the legacy of a vinegar factory.

Since we had a railroad running through town we had many hotels. Not motels, hotels. If you wonder what the difference is, do a little sleuthing of your own. Today, we have none. Yes, we have a motel, but not a hotel. We had many creameries, mills and we had doctors. Our community was home to quite a few good, dedicated doctors.

Our community also had an egg candling business. Again, if you are curious, it is time to Google those words to find out what it is.

Here is a tip if you are thinking of entering the race. Some of the answers that will be in the race are in the Wells Centennial Book from 1969. It might even offer clues so racers will know how to find the structures that we are sending them to.

There was one thing that was a little distressing to me. As I was paging through the book, I found my name, my maiden name. I made the book. In 1969 I was the president of the Wells Teen Center, and it made the Centennial Book. I have always said I am old, but I didn’t know I was old enough to be historic.

Wells Kernel Days used to be celebrated with carnivals, parades and free sweet corn. We had a canning factory that provided the corn and it was mouth-watering good. Days have changed and celebrations have changed. We no longer have the canning factory. It is harder to get good carnivals and expensive to get bands. I imagine that is the way it is for many small communities.

But we go on with the tradition of celebrating our roots. We go on coming together as a community at a certain time every year. Classes hold class reunions, people meet with old friends and reminisce and we build new memories and new traditions. We hold on to the past but we celebrate the future. The celebrations may not be what we remember but by accepting we can’t go back, only forward, we can bring a new richness to our lives and to our community.

Join the Wells Amazing History Race. Check out WellsKernelDay2013 on Facebook for more details and times that will posted for all the activities. Join us in Wells on Aug. 16 and 17 and help us go forward into the future.

It doesn’t matter what community you are from, if you have a yearly celebration, treasure it, support it. Celebrate your community with old memories and new traditions.

It is the one time of the year for residents to come together without a tragedy or natural disaster to celebrate what is, what has been and what will be, a community of people living and caring for one another.


Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at thecolumn@bevcomm.net.