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BREAKING NEWS

First April Fool’s story was about pretzels 40 years ago

By Staff | Apr 7, 2008

Okay, all those who realized that last week’s Green Giant sale story was an April Fool’s joke, raise your hand.

Really?

Did you realize it right away? Or were you taken in for quite a while until you started to realize that something smelled just a bit rotten about this item.

Did you read to the very end and then figure it out when it said “April Fool!”

Or is this column revealing it to you for the first time, because you didn’t read it to the very end?

We should make it clear that the Blue Earth Area Chamber of Commerce is NOT selling the Green Giant statue to LeSueur. We made up the story.

There were just enough threads of truth in the beginning of the article to give it some credibility. The lease for the land that the statue sits on has actually expired. But it is our assumption that the lease will be renewed and that the Giant is staying just where he is now.

Although we like the idea of putting him on the roof of the new jail, so that he would be easily visible for travelers on Interstate I-90 (in either direction), it is not true. Neither is someone’s comment that if he was on the roof of the new jail he would have to wear an orange jumpsuit and leg irons.

That would, however, get Blue Earth and Faribault County some national attention we are sure.

Our story, false as it was, did get some area notoriety. On Tuesday night on KEYC-TV, Mankato, evening news, it was mentioned.

The final story of the evening was the fact that readers of the Faribault County Register website got a special April Fool treat when they clicked on a ‘breaking news’ banner and read a story about the Green Giant statue being sold.

The KEYC-TV news anchors thought it was pretty funny. We sure hope you did too, and that you realize it was just a joke.

So were the facts that the museum will be called the Niblet Palace, that Giant Days will be renamed Little Sprout Days, and Herman’s Hermits are not coming back to Blue Earth.

One tidbit of truth is that the idea of a Pea Drop from the top of the statue on New Year’s Eve has actually been a suggestion. A big pea. We just wonder if it would go ‘splat’ right at the stroke of midnight.

And who would clean up the mess? Or would it be a frozen pea, since it can be darn cold on New Year’s Eve in Minnesota.

We promise, no more made up stories on our pages, unless they are on this opinion page and are labeled as a humor column.

At least until next April. Maybe. After many years of this tradition at the Register, it is probably time to give it a rest.

How long has it been?

Larry Anderson of Frost “claims” to have written the very first April Fool’s story for the Blue Earth paper in 1968.

(I put quotes around the word claims not so much because I doubt Larry’s assertion or memory, but only because others at the Register think it was a different author and date. I have not had time yet to verify it. I think it is a matter of who did it first at which Blue Earth paper!)

Larry says that the very first story, exactly 40 years ago, was about Faribault County farmers planting a new crop. They were going to grow pretzels. He even remembers faking a picture at Gartzke’s Greenhouse by sticking a pretzel in each one of a row of pots.

He quoted Elias Grayne of the North American Pretzel Growers Association in the story.

He says that the next year, in 1969, he did a story about the new freeway (I-90) coming right through downtown Blue Earth, and that the interchange would be in Royal Acres. The speed limit on Main Street was to be raised to 40 mph.

People were up in arms, he says. Downtown business owners were outraged, and claimed that it would damage their businesses. It took a while for everyone to calm down he said.

Sounds like some good ideas for next year…