Emden celebrates past 150 years while moving into the future – Saturday events

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[July 22, 2021]     Emden’s 150th anniversary weekend continued Saturday, July 17 with more activities celebrating the village’s history.

Walking down the road past Emden Grade School was like walking into Emden’s past and music from previous eras contributed to the feeling. As one person said, it helped with the atmosphere.

On one end were close to 65 cars from different eras, which included Studebakers, Camaro, Chevy’s T-Birds, Buicks and Transams. The oldest vehicle was a 1929 Model A and the newest one was a 1999 Jeep Wrangler. Other automobiles were from almost every decade between the 1930s and 1990s.

The car-cruise in was being held in memory of Bill Hanna, who owned several old cars and a nearby body shop.

Cruise-in organizer Cindy Wenninger said she was happy to see such a great turnout.

One participant, Howard Rankin, proudly displayed the 1969 SS596 he has owned for many years.

As people milled about and visited with the car owners and one another, it undoubtedly brought back memories of bygone years.

Further down the street were several antique tractors. The various makes and models included McCormick, Farmall, Allis Chalmers, Oliver and John Deere.

Organizers said the oldest tractor was from the 1930s.

The theme for the afternoon parade was “Remembering the Past, Looking Forward to the Future.”


Entries in the parade included the American Legion Color Guard, a school band, Hartem sports teams, Hartem FFA and several county officials.

The 2020 Logan County Fair Queen Faith Doerr and 2021 Little Miss Emden Mia Westen rode atop convertibles through the parade route.

Some entries represented area businesses such as Greenhaven Animal Clinic and Sun Ag. Others represented Marten Motors and Fink Chevrolet, two former businesses on Emden’s main street.

Emden’s St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, which is over 130 years old, carried youth from the congregation and advertised their upcoming Vacation Bible School.

Additionally, several of the antique tractors and automobiles on display earlier in the day participated along with fire departments from around the county.

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Many floats were decorated to represent the theme of remembering the past and looking forward to the future.


A few floats signified families or businesses whose connection to Emden go back to the village’s beginning. Those riding on the floats represented two or three generations, as did the Emden Historical Society Float.

Other events of the day included friendly competitions. One was a Wiffle ball tournament with a few teams competing and the other Backyard Barbeque contest with three teams participating:

Dahm Good BBQ with Alex Dahm, Cale Dahm and Greg Conrady.
The Smoke Show with Corey Farmer and Gary Rademaker.
Sugar Creek BBQ with Dave, Dustin and Makenna Eyrse.

Though lots of “ribbing” goes on between these three teams, it is a friendly rivalry. The three teams said they have competed against one another in more than one barbeque competition and often end up in the top three.

After the parade was a kiddie tractor pull with small, weighted sleds.

Evening activities included the Hartsburg Emden Senior class spaghetti dinner, games, bouncy houses and face painting. Cousin Eddy provided live musical entertainment. The evening wrapped up with a firework show.

A book from the 125th Anniversary of Emden in 1996 shows similar events, further tying the present to the past.

The list of events Saturday, July 20, 1996 included a quilt show, antique farm machinery display, car show, kiddie tractor pull, parade, games and musical entertainment.

A sign on one float in this year’s parade said, “Remember the moments of the past, look forward to the promise of the future, but most of all, celebrate the present, for it is priceless.” It seems like an apt description of the events marking Emden’s 150th anniversary celebration.

[Angela Reiners]


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