Back to the bash in Blackduck
BLACKDUCK -- The Backwoods Bash all started with a parade.
In 2004, Bash organizer Heidi Landis happened across Marcia Larson, who was city administrator at the time, on the street one afternoon and inquired about organizing a parade through Blackduck.
The school was celebrating a milestone achievement that year and a parade was already in the works. But even after the Centennial ended, Landis made sure the parades and the Bash continued.
"I just jumped on board," she said. "It was a one-time thing, so I joined the Centennial committee and kept it going each year."
Over time, the event swelled with inflatable games for children, a firemen's water contest, softball tournament, archery and the Backwoods Bash 5K, with some events coming and going through the years.
This year's Bash is Saturday and will begin at 8 a.m. with 5K registration and won't wrap up until 1 a.m. Sunday when local band October Son wraps up a concert at The Pond.
But for Landis, the Backwoods Bash is all about children.
"I just want to make sure it continues for my kids," she said. "I just love doing things for Blackduck and getting visitors to town."
The Backwoods Bash 5K starts at 9 a.m. Participants who are not pre-registered pay $18 and all runners and walkers are eligible for awards and door prizes.
Once finished, runners don't have to go far to join the community pancake feed from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at the Wayside Rest.
This year, the city also is bringing in the famous Wells Fargo stagecoach, which will lead the noon parade down Summit Avenue carrying Blackduck Mayor Megan Gustafson.
Paul Bunyan Communications will sponsor an appearance of Dora the Explorer at 1 p.m. at the Wayside Rest Gazebo, where she'll meet and pose for photos with children.
"They sponsor a character every year," Landis said. "Last year, we had Spongebob and the line was super long."
Most of the attractions are centered around Wayside Rest Park, with "rentertainment" of inflatables such as "rock 'em, sock 'em boxing," a bungee run and water wars. The event will feature a beer tent, along with various ethnic food vendors by local organizations. Other events include the Good Samaritan Society of Blackduck fundraising golf scramble at the Blackduck Public Golf Course and live music at The Pond starting at 9 p.m.
Since creating the Bash, Landis has also brought other ideas to the table each year. This year, it's a bean bag toss tournament with no age limit.
"My 11-year-old daughter and her friend are on a team," she said.
For now, Landis burdens the task of organizing the Bash each year in the hopes that it continues and for the pleasure it brings her family.
"I've thought about retiring and letting someone else organize it, but my kids just love it, and I enjoy making it happen," she said.