Chamois Day draws a big crowd, with lots of fun on hand

By Neal A. Johnson, UD Editor
Posted 9/21/22

Chamois Day committee members Becca Mehmert, Dawna Keilholz, and Amanda Carter are pleased beyond measure at the turnout for Saturday’s “Celebrating Our Roots” …

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Chamois Day draws a big crowd, with lots of fun on hand

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Chamois Day committee members Becca Mehmert, Dawna Keilholz, and Amanda Carter are pleased beyond measure at the turnout for Saturday’s “Celebrating Our Roots” event.

“Saturday was just what we strive for – a day for people to have fun and celebrate small town folks doing small town things,” Mehmert said. “I don’t think I can pick a favorite part of the day because it all turned out wonderfully.”

To start the day, the Chamois PTO Parade themed “My Favorite Things” drew a lot of participation, both in the lineup and from the crowd.

“Our CHS Pirate Pride Band sounded and looked great,” said Mehmert. “Mrs. Beth Sieg is doing great things to develop the band, and it really shows. I love that they stop and play the National Anthem under the huge flag suspended over Main Street with our Chamois Fire Protection District’s ladder truck. Then seeing all the kids on the floats and all the old cars, especially the Rolls Royce with its special riders, Betty Linhardt and Mary Jane Starke, and the emergency vehicles from Chamois, Morrison, and Linn, and Osage Ambulance District. In keeping with tradition, we had to stop the parade for a train to go through, but such is life!”

The band also played “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione and “September” by Earth Wind and Fire, setting the tone for a fun day.

“The band sounded fantastic – it is slowly growing and is bigger than years past, and they did awesomely,” said Carter. “Those kids work hard, and it truly showed!”

She also praised those who helped behind the scenes.

“Our float judges and drivers are always appreciated, as they take time out of their day to help out and make sure those kids have a successful parade,” said Carter. “The crowd was fantastic.”

State Tech provided its mobile stage for the day, and it was a big hit.

“We are very thankful to the college for allowing us to use the stage,” said Keilholz. “Everyone loved it.

“Chloë Holloway (also known as Chloë Rhea) and the Sedans knocked it out of the park, and several waited to get her autograph,” Keilholz added of the Chamois graduate. 

Mehmert said she heard plenty of positive comments about Rhea’s performance. “I was told they’ve only been working together for about a month or so, but they have a chemistry that makes you think they have been together for years,” she added. “Seeing your hometown girl on the stage doing what she loves and chasing her dreams was so awesome — and seeing her family and friends in the crowd rooting for her and people singing along to her first single, ‘Depressive State,’ brought tears to my eyes because I just know she’s going places and we’ll be able to say ‘we knew her when!’ I know she was limited on what she could sing because she is working on an album, so those songs haven’t been released yet, but I’m anxiously awaiting its release!”

Also on the main stage was the Little Miss/Little Mister Chamois Day competition, with 22 kids signed up, Carter noted. “I was pleased with the turnout,” she added. “I had four people volunteer to help out as judges and another volunteer for pictures of the winners.”

“The Little Mr. & Miss Chamois Day contest was adorable,” Mehmert offered. “I think all those contestants participated in our water-balloon fight after the water-balloon toss winners were declared.”

Grayson Gerloff and Nolan Whitman won the water-balloon toss. 

A highlight of Chamois Day was a demonstration by members of the Chamois, Morrison, and Linn fire departments.

“They did an excellent job of explaining and demonstrating what they do when they arrive on scene at rural fires, and there were so many kids (and adults) who were pumped about being able to hold the hose and squirt the water,” Mehmert said. “That makes a lasting impression on those little guys.”

Keilholz added, “We are very thankful for Chamois, Morrison, and Linn fire departments for demonstrating how they would access water in rural areas with no hydrant. Several community members said they didn’t realize what they did to get water out to those areas. I think kids and adults loved when Chamois and Morrison firefighters let them hold and work the fire hose.”

Throughout the day, visitors to Chamois Day took advantage of free hayrides that took them around town, including to the beautiful Riverside Park by the Missouri River and the Old School on the Hill. 

“The volunteers that drove the tractors for the hay wagon rides were super helpful,” said Carter.

There was also an opportunity to reconnect with friends. “I saw people from Chamois I haven’t seen in years,” Carter said. “A lot of people got to catch up, hang out, and enjoy the day.”

More than 30 booths filled the open space near the Catholic Church. “In talking with vendors, they all said they were having a great day, and several of the food vendors sold out before the end of the day,” said Mehmert.

At the end of the day, PTO parade awards were presented, along with raffle drawings for kids and adults.

“We had a ton of raffle prizes that Connie Smith and David Keisker secured for us, and it’s such a blessing to live in a community where businesses and individuals give so freely,” said Mehmert. “I felt like we were ‘Celebrating Our Roots’ all day, and it was just a little piece of Americana that makes small towns so special.”

With his DJ setup, Sean Hackmann is always a tremendous help, Carter added. He has provided this service for 22 years.

The washers and cornhole tournaments were a great part of the celebration as well, Carter noted.

“All in all, I think it was a successful, fun-filled day,” said Carter in her first year on the committee. “I am honored that Dawna and Becca asked me for help. They are truly amazing girls! We also had a lot of insight from fellow community members on new ideas to try and implement for next year, which is always welcome and appreciated.”

Keilholz agreed. “I love working with Becca and Amanda and feel we helped the community celebrate their roots,” she said. “Now, we’ll take a couple of months off and start planning again.”

A break is in order, Mehmert said. “Dawna, Amanda, and I are going to breathe for a little bit, but we’ve already got ideas brewing for next year, so we can’t wait to see everyone on the third Saturday of September, and we’ll do it all again,” she added.

The ladies expressed their appreciation for everyone involved in making the event a success.

“Without all these community members willing to step up and help out/donate/volunteer, Chamois Day would be a disaster,” said Carter.

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