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Neighborhood Fourth – Americana at its best

By Staff | Jul 13, 2009

A bit of old-fashioned Americana spirit was evident at the Third Annual Little Neighborhood Soiree held in Blue Earth on Friday, July 3.

“This is Americana at its best,” says Alan Thielfoldt while gazing over the nearby lawns filled with youngsters playing and neighbors visiting.

The event continues to grow each year thanks to the creative ideas and help of Al and Stephanie Thielfoldt’s neighbors, Karl and Lorene Kampf and Michael and Amanda Saraco.

“It all started three years ago when Al stopped at a fireworks stand,” says Stephanie Thielfoldt. “He said as long as we were getting some, we just as well let our neighbors enjoy them too.”

Neighbors were indeed invited for a get together to view the fireworks which were set-off near a fire pit located in the alley between the Thielfoldt and Kampf homes.

Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

But plans for a bigger and better event for 2008 were planned by Kampf.

In 2008, just two days before the neighborhood event, Karl suggested kids go around with decorated bikes. Neighbors were contacted by word of mouth about the potluck event, parade and fireworks. They were also advised to bring their own lawn chair.

Little did the group know, until 8 p.m. that evening, that Kampf had also contacted the local police department to see if a squad car could lead the kiddie parade.

Thielfoldt chuckles recalling the words used by Karl when he contacted the police. He said something like ‘Would you mind leading our neighborhood kiddie parade if you’re not out saving lives or chasing crime?

Sure enough, a squad car appeared.

Kampf had to do better this year, so he contacted the Blue Earth Fire Department.

Promptly at 8 p.m., Ryan Vereide and Eric Hansen appeared in a shiny fire engine.

As the children pedaled to the boulevard to get a better look at the fire engine, a pick-up pulled up to the curb with a gold upholstered chair in its box. This was a seat fit for a king, or in this instance, the Grand Marshall, Karl Kampf.

With the fire engine in the lead, Kampf, grinning and waving a U.S. flag, followed riding in the pick-up. Twenty-two children, running or riding their decorated bikes, paraded around the block to the delight of the neighbors assembled.

Following the parade, medallions were presented to all the children who had participated. Trophies for best decorated bikes were also awarded.

The evening ended near the fire pit with sparklers and fireworks.

Already the neighborhood is making plans for their Fourth Annual Little Neighborhood Soiree. Some of the ideas being tossed around include adding a marching band or having an ice cream social downtown in conjunction with their kiddie parade.

Indeed, this is Americana at its best.