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News from the week of September 3, 2003

Tracy Box Car Days 2003

The tradition continues . . . .

Seventy-six years ago, the first Box Car Days was held in Tracy, and Babe Ruth slugged 60 home runs for the New York Yankees. Also in 1927, the Ford Motor Company introduced the Model A and Charles Lindbergh thrilled the world by flying no-stop across the Atlantic. Today, Babe Ruth's single-season home run record has long been shattered, the Model A is an obsolete antique, and Lucky Lindy's feat has been eclipsed by the space age. But in 2003, Tracy Box Car Days continued to thrive, demonstrating that at least some things get better with age.

Knights of Columbus celebrate 50th

The Knights of Columbus Marion Council 3750 celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its founding Sunday. Sixty-eight people turned out for a banquet at the Mediterranean. Father John Persons, a native of Balaton, was the keynote speaker. The council serves St. Mary's Parish of Tracy, St. Michael's of Milroy, and St. Paul's of Walnut Grove.

Miss Tracy '54 sees lasting value in pageant program

Kay Hefte became teacher in California

By Val Scherbart Quist

It's been 50 years since Kay Hefte Van Alstine was chosen to wear the crown and carry the title of Miss Tracy for 1954.

And although much has changed since then, Van Alstine believes the program is just as valuable for young women today as it was for her and her fellow candidates 50 years ago.

“I think it's what you want to make it,” she said. “It's what you do with what you've got.”

The retired teacher, who has lived in California since 1955, traveled back to Tracy for a second consecutive year to attend Box Car Days. She also attended the 75th annual celebration last year.

Van Alstine was one of the former Miss Tracy participants who attended a special alumni tea at Tracy United Methodist Church Sunday afternoon.

In 1953, she was one of about five to seven candidates vying for the Miss Tracy crown. The recent high school graduate used a sewing project as her talent presentation. While it may seem unusual today, Van Alstine said, she believed it was her strongest asset.

“I couldn't sing, I couldn't dance . . .” she reminisced.

The young woman, who was sponsored by the Tracy Fire Department, was afraid that she would have an unfair advantage because she had lived in the Tracy area all her life and so many people knew her parents, Lawrence and Luella Hefte. Back then, the girls were supposed to remain anonymous to their judges until they were crowned, and judges came from cities as close as Balaton and Slayton.

Anita Weisbrich displays paintings in bank lobby

Anita Weisbrich of Tracy is the featured artist in the Fine Arts Council of Tracy's monthly art exhibit at Minnwest Bank South.

Weisbrich began painting after she was married. Today she lives at Twin Circle apartments, where she has a studio room.

Weisbrich has taken lessons from six different artists during her travels to the south for the winter, and has also taken lessons in Marshall.

She said she tries to get different techniques from different artists. She works with oil, some water color, and also does portraits. Her paintings mainly consist of scenery, wildlife, and florals.

Weisbrich has not exhibited anywhere lately, although she has some of her work in the community room at Twin Circle.

Weisbrich's paintings are for sale.

Weekend crowds? Big

The 76th annual Tracy Box Car Days was being termed a success.

“All in all it was a great weekend,” said Community Development Director Robert Gervais.

While attendance at some events couldn't compare to the exceptional turnout at last year's 75th annual event, parade attendance may have soared to the highest in recent memory, Gervais estimated. Generally about 15,000 people attend the parade.

“I thought we had more people here for the parade than I've ever seen,” he said. “A lot of people don't realize how many people are really there.”

He speculated that ideal weather conditions—with temperatures in the mid- to upper-70s for most of the weekend—could have contributed to an all-around good turnout for every event.

“All through the weekend we had good attendance. The weather is always the biggest concern and we have no control over that. This year the weather was perfect.”

Over 700 people gathered in front of the Prairie Pavilion Saturday night for the street dance, which featured “The Great Outdoors.”

About 550 people were served at Monday's Drive-In/Fly-In breakfast. Though down from last year, attendance was about average, said Tom Morin of the Mediterranean Restaurant.

Gervais said there was also a full house for the Miss Tracy Scholarship Program Sunday night. He expressed his appreciation for the committee members who dedicate their time to putting on the program each year.

“They did another fantastic job as they always do,” he said.

He added that he heard many good comments about the fireworks that followed the program. He said donations are still being accepted to help defray the cost of the fireworks, and that he hopes they will become a regular Box Car Days event.

He also heard good comments about the truck and tractor pull, which was held at a new location closer to town this year. There were about 78 tractor hook-ups and 90 truck hook-ups, said organizer Carl Nyquist, who also commented on the pull's successful year.

The new beer tent, which was rented for this year's Box Car Days, also received several compliments. Gervais said options are still being considered for a permanent structure, which could also be used for the spring sportsmen's show.

Famous Dave's ribs and sweet corn stand, which was located next to the beer tent, was a popular addition to Box Car Days—and will be back next year. Gervais said the location of the food vendor helped to boost sales at the beer tent as well.

Five communities benefit from Hannasch golf tourney

By all counts, the Chris Hannasch Memorial Charity Golf Tournament, held Saturday, August 30 at the Tracy Country Club, was a huge success. There were 27 teams of 4 persons each participating and over $2,250 was raised for the five communities involved.

The Cowboys were first and Kurt's Killers second in one flight while the Colman Crew and the No-Handicappers were first and second respectively in the other flight.

Proceeds will go to the Balaton Fire Department, the Lucan Community Club, Milroy Community Education, Walnut Grove Lions, Tracy Food Shelf. Each organization received approximately $450.