SHELL LAKE, Wis. -- Shell Lake's annual Town and Country Days event over the Labor Day Weekend started back in the early eighties by Elaine Kranz, a local resident who owned a fabric store in Shell Lake.
The idea was in the title; get these two groups together for fun. This was the era when the town kids and the country kids weren’t as united as they are now because the country kids were often needed at home to help with farm chores, leaving all the after-school classes, activities and sports to the town kids. This end-of-summer activity was created to help bring these two separate entities together along with their families before school began for another year.
Oddly, part of bringing these groups together were games by opposing teams, often the town kids vs the country kids, like rope pulls, and various games that pitted one group against the other and the firemen would have their own tug of war using their water hoses to propel a large red ball, mounted on a rope that was strung between two poles, over to their opponents side.
Now that rural and town kids and families aren’t nearly as separated, the annual Labor Day event, once its own festival and now part of the Shell Lake Chamber of Commerce, attracts a large crowd of locals and visitors to the lakefront with the multi-denominational church service, vendors, tractor and kiddie bike pulls and lots of food.
The festival that started out being held on Fifth Avenue now sprawls throughout Memorial Park and beyond while still maintaining a serious presence on Shell Lake’s main drag.
In 2008, Adam Lundberg started volunteering to work during the festival, doing whatever he could to help. Just two years later, after officially joining the committee, he suggested that a car show would be something cool for Town and Country Days to have as he had gone with a buddy to a few car shows and thought the event had possibilities for Shell Lake.
Right from the get-go, it was his baby; the committee had enough to do. Adam took the challenge and spent most of that summer planning and prepping for the show. For the very first Town and Country Days Car Show, there were over 70 vehicles; cars, trucks, and motorcycles participating and he added 50's and 60's music and his Dj-ing ability and the first show was a success.
Over the last few years he’s added a silent auction with items like tree stands, beautiful cutting boards, Mall of America Playland passes, hotel stays, framed art, a state flag donated by Rep. Nick Milroy, and other nice things, along with lots of door prizes supplied by generous local businesses along with specific sponsors like Gordy’s, My Favorite Things, Klopps and the 3-C General Store, their support really make the show a possibility.
Last year, 109 vehicles filled both sides of two blocks of Fifth Avenue and this year Adam will run cars down the middle of the street if he needs to for additional entries.
Being a guy whose life is all about other people, Adam decided, with the blessing of the Town and Country Day committee, that this will be the one event that gives back to the community by giving half of all the entry fees and all of the money collected from the silent auctions and other random donations to a local non-profit organization that benefits Washburn County and its residents.
Over the past few years, they have raised a total dollar amount that is just shy of $6000 which went to benefit such organizations as Embrace, formerly the Time Out Abuse Shelter, the Shell Lake Honor Guard/ VFW and the American Legion and the Lakeview Medical’s Hospice Program.
This year he’s researched and chosen the Alzheimer’s Day Respite Program, called the Happy Day Club, that’s held several days a week at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Spooner.
His two daughters, Tayla, age 15 and Rayna, age 12 are as involved as he is in volunteering for various causes, which makes him very happy. He and sometimes they’ve volunteered for Aqua Fest, LMC hospice, Embrace, Shell Lake's Oktoberfest, the July third street dance, and with the Spooner /Trego Lions Club at the rodeo. He also volunteered at many local benefits, the ones that are held for those needing cash due to medical reasons. During the cold winter months, along with his girlfriend, Mercedes, he works to raise money for the Special Olympic's Polar Plunge.
He’s good at what he does because he always goes the second mile. Each year, each vehicle entered at the show receives a dash plaque in the colors of the organization the money will go to. This year, since it’s Alzheimer’s, the collector’s plaques will be purple, which is the color that also coordinates with the trophies for the winners.
He designs and prepares his own fliers and spends the majority of the summer attending other car and bike shows promoting the Shell Lake Car Show.
Each vehicle at the area shows get a flier to promote the Shell Lake Car Show and since Adam and his daughters are usually the only ones handing out fliers at other shows, they almost always get recognized by the participants who are looking forward to the Shell Lake event.
This year is the Eight Annual Car and Bike Show on Shell Lake’s historic Fifth Avenue and it will be held on Sunday, September 3 from 2 to 6 pm and if you’ve got something, large or small, you’d like to donate to the cause, contact Adam at 715-645-0632.
If you call him during the day, leave a message because he works days for the Washburn County Highway Department plus working in hospice care when needed while raising his daughters. In the past couple years he's also added the position of wedding officiant to his resume.
If you’ve never heard of this year's recipient, the Alzheimer’s Day Respite Program in Spooner, give Sue Miller at 715-416-2942 for more information on either volunteering or to sign up to use their very valuable service if you are a caregiver for someone with dementia and just need a time for yourself.
Town and Country Days is a time to enjoy yourself and your neighbors during the last festival on the Shell Lake calendar year and while you're attending, make sure to stop on Fifth Avenue and chat with the classic vehicle owners, eat some great food and listen to the Motown tunes of the greatest era in music; it’s the annual Shell Lake Car Show brought to you in part by the busiest man in town!