New England gathers for annual Wheat Harvest Jamboree

The 2015 New England Wheat Harvest Jamboree saw a record number of attendance this year, which made the annual event a huge success this past weekend

Cutter Ouradnik sounds his horn during the parade at the Wheat Harvest Jamboree in New England. (PHOTO BY COLE BENZ | The Herald)
Cutter Ouradnik sounds his horn during the parade at the Wheat Harvest Jamboree in New England. (PHOTO BY COLE BENZ | The Herald)

By RACHEL BOCK | Herald Reporter

The 2015 New England Wheat Harvest Jamboree saw a record number of attendance this year, which made the annual event a huge success this past weekend

The Jamboree started off Saturday morning with the Founding Father’s 5k run and walk. This event is sponsored by Schwartz Construction and this year 220 participants ran the course around New England. The 5k had its biggest turnout since the event started as a memorial to honor Edward Schwartz during the 125 Centennial Celebration in 2011.

Jess Sabo who is employed by Schwartz Construction, has helped organize the event from the very beginning. Every year the 5k committee nominates citizens that have been or still are influential members of the New England Community.

This year the Founding Father’s 5k run and walk honored Ruth Fitterer, Hank Kovar, and Irene Benz. Each person who participated in the race received a t-shirt, water bottle, and back pack with trophies awarded to first through third place. This year’s Founding Father’s 5k first place winner was Dakotah Mansfield who is a senior at New England Public School. The money that was raised will be donated to the New England boys basketball team for new warm-up uniforms, the New England Library to purchase 200 adult and children books, the New England High School band trip to San Francisco and the New England Fire Department.

“We pick out what causes in the community need funds for events that are coming up, or things that they need and then we distribute the money that the sponsors and participants have given and we divide it amongst them,” Sabo said.

After the 5k race was over, the annual Wheat Harvest Parade started down Main Street. This year’s parade theme was Under the Big Top, as parade entries decorated according to the theme. This year’s parade winners were first place Slope Electric, second place New England Girl’s Scouts and third place went to the Slope County Bandits 4-H club.

After the Parade, there was a free will offering Noon Meal serving BBQ’s and Hot Dogs. There was also a pie and ice cream social at the New England senior citizens center, and an Arts and Crafts Vendor show at the Memorial Hall.

Another popular vendor was June Gardner’s homemade egg rolls and wontons, which always draws a crowd of people. People were lined up and down the street for the once-a-year treat that June and her family prepare during the Wheat Harvest festivities.

The much anticipated Demolition Derby started after lunch which broke an attendance record with roughly 1,000 spectators. Later that afternoon there was a horse shoe tournament, which also drew a nice crowd of people.

When the afternoon events were over people headed over to the Memorial Hall for the New England Public Library indian taco feed, which is a nice fundraiser for the local library.

As the sky went dark the night festivities were under way with a street dance at the Lions Park while the crowd gathered around visiting and enjoying the music performed by the Band Sawdust.

Sunday afternoon ended the weekend’s festivities with the 4th annual Kid’s Rodeo, which was held at the New England Riverside Park.

The first year the event was held around 30 to 35 kids participated. Every year since, the event keeps growing with this year bringing the highest amount of kids from all over the area to New England to participate.

Roughly 89 kids ages 5 to 14 years old signed up to participate in the following events of Keyhole, Barrel Racing, Goat Tying, Pole Bending, Mutton Busting, and Steer Riding. The first place winners in each event received a Belt Buckle with the New England Rodeo Emblem, and the current year engraved on them. There were also prizes given to the participants that placed in the top four of each event. Local Businesses and Individual donors help sponsor the Kid’s Rodeo and the prizes that are won.

Also during the Rodeo were kid’s games for something for the younger crowd ages two to five year olds to do. Brian and Kim Herold owners of Topline, run the kids games and sponsor all the prizes that are won during the games.

The New England Commercial Club plans the annual Wheat Harvest event, which the planning usually starts in January. Commercial Club member Dani Krebs was happy with the way the weekend turned out.

“This year went really good, the derby had an awesome turn out, the horseshow tournament looked like it went well,” Krebs said.

“It was nice out, so that helped. The band went pretty good, the turnout was great,”

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