Great weather, new events made Spring Fever Days huge success

If you were planning a slate of outdoor activities, you couldn’t have written a better weather script than last weekend’s.
Sunny skies, unseasonably mild temperatures, and the first hint of new growth were the order of the day as Spring Fever Days in Emo literally lived up to its name.
“According to businesses I’ve talked to, there were more people than they’ve seen in a long time,” said Emo Chamber of Commerce president Colleen Vennechenko, who also is co-owner of The Corner Closet.
“You couldn’t have called for any better weather,” she added.
This year’s jam-packed agenda included all the popular events and exhibits from past years, including boat shows, minnow races, the G.E.M.S. pancake breakfast, and, of course, lots and lots of food.
In addition, there were two new events—one of which was added at the last minute when Borderland Esso staged riding lawnmower time trials Saturday afternoon.
It originally was intended to pit Emo Reeve Russ Fortier against Rainy River Mayor Glenn Armstrong in a little friendly competition to see who could drive a Husqvarna diesel mower through an obstacle course in the quickest time without knocking down any markers.
But before the event got underway shortly after noon, B•93 FM personality Doug McBride and local MPP Howard Hampton were drafted to enlarge the field.
Competition was fierce as Reeve Fortier set the bar at 1:09, which proved to be a little quick for Mayor Armstrong, who clocked in at 1:10.
Hampton had the fastest run at 1:08, but was penalized four seconds for hitting four markers.
So it was up to McBride to win the day for the media—and he came through with a time of 1:07 to take bragging rights.
The other new event was the “Poker Walkabout,” which apparently was inspired by the hugely-successful “Biggest Loser” contest.
In this, each contestant had to purchase an entry sheet, or “passport,” at Tompkins Hardware and then walk through Emo to have it signed by at least 10 of the 18 businesses registered.
After completing the walk, contestants presented their sheets to Gary Williams at Tompkins Hardware, who then dealt 10 cards to make the best possible five-card hand.
It turned out Frances Grant of Emo held the hot hand as she wound up with four jacks to take home $96, which was half the entry money.
Brenda Elias drew the winning tickets for $1,000 in gift certificates (redeemable at most Emo businesses) later Saturday at the Hair and Body Care Shoppe.
The winner of the $500 first prize was Keiran Mann of Stratton. But since she is just an infant, her parents presumably will be spending the money.
Second prize of $250 went to Mike Baranowski of Nestor Falls while the third prize of $250 went to Rhonda Rymar of Barwick.
As in previous years, several fundraisers were on the go during Spring Fever Days.
Fort High students, for instance, raised $408 for their “chem-free” grad party taking place June 25 with a car wash and hotdog sale in the parking lot at Cloverleaf Shop Easy on Saturday afternoon.
Earlier that day, the G.E.M.S. breakfast at the Christian Reformed Church in Emo fed 360 people to a sit-down meal of pancakes and sausages.
The breakfast realized a profit of $800, which will be earmarked for the G.E.M.S. program in Emo.
And last, but certainly not least, the annual “Cuts for Cancer” fundraiser went on all day Saturday at the Hair and Body Care Shoppe.
This year, the day’s receipts were donated to the chemotherapy unit at Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc. and to district resident Connie Cunningham, who was diagnosed with breast cancer back in January.
Cunningham was scheduled to have two sessions of chemotherapy this week, but she still was on hand at the Hair and Body Care Shoppe to witness eight people have their heads shaved as part of the fundraiser.
The eight volunteers were Brenda Elias, her son, Jaryd, Ashley Hughes, Patty Labbe, Bonnie Bender, Mike Williams, Richard Visser, and Jim Daw.
Each of the eight had collected pledges, which were added to the take from the “Cuts for Cancer”—bringing the total raised to more than $7,000.
This year’s fundraiser was dedicated to the late Sam Visser, who lost his battle with cancer back on Feb. 28.