53rd Almond Tater Toot celebrates community
Young, old, new residents and natives will come together at the end of the month to continue the Almond tradition of family fun with the 53rd annual Almond Lion’s Club Tater Toot.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, July 29, with food stands opening and music to follow, then continues with most activities beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 30.
The flamethrower and annual car cruise events have been cancelled due to construction on Elm Street. The 18th annual Tater Toot Classic Car Show will move to Division Street due to construction, and that begins at 9 a.m. Saturday.
The event is free and open to the public.
“It is a time where many old friends catch up in this busy day and reminisce about good times and upcoming events,” said Kip Gutke, Almond Lion’s Club secretary. “Many families come back and start new traditions with their children as their parents did many years ago.”
Tater Toot began in 1963 by the Almond Lions Club as a celebration of the rich farming heritage in the community. In the beginning, the Almond Lions Club membership was largely made up of local businessmen who decided to have one large fundraiser rather than several smaller ones throughout the year, Gutke said.
Frank Koehn was a local Almond-Bancroft High School principal and has been credited with the name, “Tater Toot,” he said. Ever since then it has carried on as an annual tradition the last full weekend of July.
“Great bands, good food and a friendly atmosphere has been a goal of the Almond Lions Club and surrounding organizations since the beginning,” Gutke said. “It takes a special group of people to donate their time year after year to set up and manage this weekend.”
Along with a car show, the weekend also features music entertainment, a parade, silent auction, various bake sales, kids’ activities and the quilt gathering event.
Food is one of the largest draws with traditional hamburger and fried onions at the American Legion Food Stand, a hot baked potato at the Fire Department Auxiliary Potato Stand and the famous Almond Lions Pork Chop and Chicken Dinner held in the Almond Fire Station.
“One of the public’s favorite attractions is the annual car show, which has been around for 18 years,” Gutke said. “Every year it grows stretching down Division Street with over 100 classic and antique cars.”
Much of Division Street is under shade which draws large crowds and keeps the car entrants happy, he said.
The parade is always a main event attraction. It usually lasts an hour and is held at 1 p.m. Saturday on Main Street. The American Legion Post 339 Mead-Rath-Gutke leads with color guard followed by a Grand Marshall. This year, the parade will honor recent local Honor Flight recipients from the Almond and Bancroft areas. Parade trophies are awarded in Tater Toot theme, horses, commercial non-agriculture, commercial agriculture, antique cars, classic cars, youth entry, service organization, antique tractor and classic tractor.
Musical entertainment also is a crowd pleaser. Spicy Tie Band will entertain from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Friday, Mel Albright Polka Band is scheduled for 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, and Southbound will perform from 8 p.m. to midnight.
The chicken and pork dinner will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, silent auction runs from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, and the Quilt Gathering will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
The Almond Lions Club is a service organization dedicated to the support of community programs and Lions projects on both the state and international level. Over the years, the Almond Lion’s Club has given to Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Wisconsin Eye Bank, Lions Camp at Rosholt, Almond-Bancroft High School Scholarships, the Lion’s Annual Halloween Party, Almond-Bancroft Booster Club and a local Christmas food basket drive.
“We continue to maintain our shelter house which is available to rent and we are always looking for active and dedicated men and women to join our club,” Gutke said. “The Almond Lions Club would like to thank every individual, member and group who has helped over the last 53 plus years for their gracious donations of support and dedication to the progress of our community.”