From the Friday night BBQ to the parade, Bingo in the Eller building to the Saturday night dance, Prairie Day regulars, like myself, enjoy various aspects of the annual town celebration.
“Lions Burger, right after the parade,” Nezperce High School graduate Tim Becker responded when I asked him about his favorite part of PD.
As much as I try to avoid indulging in a fresh, hot Lions Burger, PD wouldn’t be the same without one. Hmmmm. I wonder if my brother Marty will, once again, be on the noontime “dream team,” as he calls it, and if I could pre-order a cheeseburger. Don’t even get me started on the hot dog cutter my brother Wyatt handcrafted to streamline the process of making the Emile Burger, named for longtime Lions Club member, Emile Braun.
“I so enjoy the parade for some strange reason,” Rhonda Schmidt, city clerk, said. “It is great fun seeing all the class reunion floats and visiting with alumni coming back to town for the big weekend!”
I think Rhonda gets to the heart of our affection for the event: It’s the people.
I’m not a huge parade lover, but the PD parade offers something even the most extravagant productions can’t match: A connection.
Mayor Steve Bateman concurred. The best part of PD? “Getting to see all the people from the past,” he said.
PD, with the theme “Hawaiian Luau in the Park,” kicks off this year on Friday, July 12, with the softball tournament starting at 5 p.m. and a pulled pork dinner in Lions Park beginning at 6 p.m. Fred Vogel will be honored as the Nezperce Historical Society’s 2019 “Pioneer of the Year,” and Aaron Cerruti, son of NHS grad Vickie (Braun) Cerruti, and Brian Lesko will be providing tunes.
Prairie Smokehouse plans to join the fun with a party - including live music by Visionseekerz - starting at 8 Friday night. Tip: Order the Smokehouse’s specialty shot, the Dreadfulwater.
Saturday is packed with competitive events - softball, mud volleyball and three-on-three basketball tournaments, a fun run/walk, a sidewalk chalk art contest, kids’ games and, of course, Bingo!
The famed two-way parade comes with a twist this year: Lineup will be at the school rather than by the grain elevators. Yep. The parade will start at the north end of town and run to the south and then back this year. The kiddie parade starts at 10:45 a.m. with the rest of the parade at 11, followed by the stampede to the Lions Burger booth.
Local groups will be having fund-raisers, including the American Legion’s breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Legion Hall and the Regional Emergency Services’ dinner at Lions Park starting at 5 p.m.
Vintage Youth, a classic rock band out of Grangeville, will be performing in Lions Park from 12:30 to 3 p.m., and The Fabulous Kingpins, featuring Nezperson Ashley Nelson and NHS graduate, Cliff Miller, will cap off the two-day celebration playing in the park from 8 p.m. to midnight.
And if you find a gap in your day? Mike and Kim Ingram’s Trestle Brewing will be on hand to keep everything moving along.
So, wear your Hawaiian shirts, leis and grass skirts and celebrate with Nezpersons past and present.