Prairie Village News 6/27/17

Faron Wahl, Manager

Nothing ties an early 20th century village more directly to its own roots than the railroad. The beginning of nearly every settlement, as well as its hope for any vibrant future, was often pinned to the availability of trains to move people and commerce.

To that end, our annual Railroad Days event this weekend celebrates all things related to railroads and how they operated. We plan to feature steam both days, and we’ll roll out a fun assortment of other equipment, including motorcars that offer a more intimate, close-up ride on the rails.

There’ll be food available both days, trackless train rides for kids through the village streets, plus an excellent program Saturday about our state’s fascinating railroad history by the director of the SD State Railroad Museum. See more at

Also on Saturday night, we will feature a dynamic trio from Minneapolis in the Opera House – the Holy Rocka Rollaz. They’ll bring a hoppin’ blend of classic ‘50s to this ideal venue, and you can get your tickets in advance at our gift shop or by calling 256-3644. Check them out at…. it’ll be worth your time.

On a completely different note, I often get asked how a person might volunteer at the village. Volunteerism amounts to a key component in helping us get many things done over the course of a year, and we are appreciative of each gesture.

Sometimes people offer their time to work on some village task or project in exchange for something in return – a payment-in-kind arrangement, if you will. There can certainly be a place for this type of agreement, but I do think it’s important to distinguish straight-up volunteerism from the trading of services. A group of young volunteers were here donating their time and labor recently, and I believe the example of their story must be told.

After our annual bull ride event, a great deal of cleanup is needed underneath and surrounding the grandstands – picking up cans, bottles, popcorn containers, etc. This work would fall to our maintenance staff, particularly Vince, and it’s not pretty work. By oneself, it’s a thankless job amounting to several hours of bending over, collecting, and then hauling away trash barrels full of what didn’t get dropped into them the night before.

The local Country Cousins 4-H club, via their leader Marty, planned to help us with this job by communicating ahead of time with me their intent, helping avoid any logistical hiccups. I can’t overstate the extra value added when volunteerism is planned and organized. This isn’t the 4-H group’s first time going to bat for us, and they always begin with communication. Simply excellent.

At 8:30 the morning after the bull ride, roughly eight 4-H members and five adults slipped in and made short work of this hefty task. And as though that weren’t enough, someone in the group identified that the wind might possibly blow over the now-filled additional trash barrels, which would only re-invent the mess for someone later. It was decided they would also haul all the trash barrels to our dumpster for us, just to be sure. Talk about icing on the cake.

No one involved in this project of kindness sought accolades or thanks. No one was looking for a big splash or public thank you. They planned, they came, they worked hard, and they exited, with scarcely a trace or suggestion they had ever been here, save for one massive piece of localized evidence: a very clean arena seating area.

My hat is off to these 4-Hers and their leaders for their truly selfless actions. This is volunteerism in its purest, most generous form, and it should serve as an example to every one of us.