EPIPHANY -- Endurance will be honored in Epiphany today and Sunday at the town's 125th birthday.
Epiphany, 10 miles southwest of Canova, may be divided between Hanson and Miner counties, but its residents -- all 34 of them-- have always pulled together, says Terry Kampshoff, president of the town's quasquicentennial committee.
Many area residents will take part in the weekend's events, said Ray Scheuren, owner of the popular Coon Hunter Inn. "We have a big church parish."
Kampshoff said the 20-member planning committee began meeting monthly a year ago, and weekly through July, preparing for the big weekend. Festivities began Friday and kick into high gear with today's 11 a.m. parade. The celebration continues through Sunday.
The parade's grand marshals will be longtime residents Alfred Krempges, 92, and Rosa Mentele, 88. Walt and Delores Kampshoff, married 66 years, also will be given recognition in the parade as Epiphany's longest married couple.
There will be plenty to do and children's games will be open to all at no charge.
An event unique to rural living will be Sunday's lawnmower poker run, which will take place in town, not on rural byways.
"Contestants will make nine stops at area businesses and get their cards punched," said Kampshoff. The cards will then be turned in at The Coon Hunter and contestants will be given their poker cards. The winning hand wins the event.
The poker run also is open to golf carts and bicycles, said Kampshoff.
Dunk tanks and some water events are on tap to cool participants during the weekend's anticipated warm temperatures. About a dozen locals will go whisker-to-whisker in today's 1 p.m. beard-judging contest. The beard contest follows an 11 a.m. parade.
As rural towns go, Epiphany's is a colorful history.
The town's Main Street, said Kampshoff, sits right on the line between two counties, with Hanson County south of Main and Miner County to the north.
The town was dedicated on Jan. 6, 1883. The Church of the Epiphany remains a binding force in the community.
The town has a second and lesser-known name. It was officially recognized as Kroeger in Hanson County, named in honor of the Rev. Father William Kroeger, who arrived in 1893. Kroeger was a well-known healer who started what became a world-famous clinic in town. His death in 1904 ended the town's early boom times.
Kampshoff said the town raised money for this weekend's event by selling more than 500 $20 raffle tickets, which paid out four $1,000 prizes. T-shirts and commemorative church plates also will be sold this weekend to help defray expenses, and volunteer firefighters from the Canova Rural Fire Department will contribute to the fundraising by selling chislic.
"We're a small community with a big heart. Everybody pitches in and it works great," Kampshoff said.
9:30 a.m., parade lineup; 11 a.m. parade; noon to 3 p.m., car and tractor show; 1 p.m., beard contest; 2 p.m., greased pig contest; 4 to 6 p.m., sanctioned pedal pull; 8 p.m. to midnight, karaoke at the tent by the ball field; 10 p.m., fireworks display.
10:30 a.m., Mass at the Church of the Epiphany; 11:30 a.m., community meal at the church hall; performance by the Mitchell Barbershop Chorus; memorabilia on display in the hall; 1 p.m., lawnmower poker run.