BronsonFest committee members include (l-r) Leana Kowaliuk, Sue Foss, Tim Undeberg, Heidi Ritter, Jill Frei, Roberta Frei and Robert Ritter. They held a fundraising meal July 21 to help raise funds for the upcoming celebration Aug. 3-5. See ad in this week’s paper for a full schedule of events. (Enterprise Photo by Linda Anderson)
By Linda Andersen
Every summer folks in small towns in Kittson County and the surrounding area plan some great celebrations. In recognition of hard working people and committees in communities all around, get acquainted with the party planners in Lake Bronson who are trying to do something “a little bigger” this year for their summer celebration.
Meet the Lake Bronson Improvement Committee (consisting of Jill Frei, Roberta Frei, Sue Foss, Leana Kowaliuk, Heidi Ritter, Robert Ritter, and Tim Undeberg) and their experienced cook, Dwight Undeberg, who were all on hand for a recent “Cowboy Chow” fundraising event, and event so well attended that all the food was sold out in the first one and one-half hours.
A love for their hometown motivates most of the group, though Leana is from Caribou and Robert comes all the way from Illinois.
Asked what they enjoy most about being part of the committee, most members echoed the sentiments of Heidi who responded, “Bringing people together,”
“It’s nice to have Halloween and Christmas parties with the kids,” added Sue.
Jill enjoys being a part of something that keeps the town going and gives people something to do during the summer.
Asked about the roles of the various committee members, president of the group, Tim Undeberg, stated, “Everybody helps out the same,” though it was acknowledged that, for the “Cowboy Chow” event, Roberta, Jill, and Sue had made the cornbread and Tim, with the help of his dad, Dwight, were responsible for cooking the meat and beans, having prepared 100 pounds of pork ribs for the event and 20 pounds of chicken.
“It’s fun cooking for people,” stated Tim, who admitted to learning his cooking secrets from his Dad.
Dwight, who was too modest to pose for a photo, had some great stories to tell of cooking for large crowds for the past 25 or so years. “Years ago I cooked every week – paid for an older Suburban by cooking,” he said.
He told of once baking a 400 pound upside down rhubarb cake (with the help of Duella Foss) for a Lake Bronson summer celebration. The cake required 14 pails of rhubarb, 17 cake mixes, 10 pounds of sugar, 15 boxes of Jello, and “a few dozen eggs.”
Hanson Manufacturing of Lancaster constructed a three foot by five foot pan in which to bake the cake.
Dwight also reminisced of cooking prime rib for a Neil McCoy event at Kick’n Up Kountry with the help of Lance Balderston and Earl Karboviak. The threesome plus son, Tim, also once cooked for 2,000 people at a fundraiser in Roseau following the flood of 2002. That event required 900 pounds of pork which took seven hours of cutting with electric knives.
Dwight cooks and bakes in a cooker which he has made from a milk cooler. A grate underneath it is from an elevator. “Everything in it is scrounged from someplace,” he said.
Back to the committee and its activities, Tim explained that they plan fundraisers, largely with the goal of funding a big summer event, but also with the intent of providing area residents with something to do. In the past few months they have begun hosting bingo at the local American Legion.
Asked how long Lake Bronson has held a summer celebration, Tim responded “for years and years and years.” The celebration has been called BronsonFest for the last few years, but has had others monikers, such as “Lake Bronson Days,” “Rhubarb Fest,” and “Town and Country Days.” Lake Bronson will host BronsonFest this year August 3-5.
The big news is that Wojo’s Rodeo of Greenbush, an expensive event to bring to town, will be part of the activities on Saturday and Sunday. Wojo’s Rodeo is known for providing action-packed entertainment at fairs and other community events.
Other happenings will include an art show by Artists Unlimited, a car show, a flea market, kids’ games, a pancake breakfast, and a street dance.
Committee members added a few details about the event: Pastor Wes and Barb Staie will present the program at the Sunday morning church service, Tracey Frame, Lancaster, will bring animals for a petting zoo, and Senator Mark Johnson and Representative Dan Fabian will be part of the parade. Find information about more activities and times on posters in area businesses and in local newspapers.
Kudos to the Lake Bronson Improvement Committee and small town committees everywhere that help keep little communities fun places to live.