Aaron Jensen, who comes home to Carleton from Lincoln every year just to volunteer for Milo Day, said he remembers when the town celebration fizzled.
“They didn’t have enough help for it. We asked what it would take. They needed help with the food and the parade. Done,” Jensen said.
“Aaron’s story is better than mine,” Brad Heinrichs, the master of ceremonies for the parade, raffle and Milo Queen contest, said.
Heinrichs was a grade ahead of Jensen at the Carleton elementary school, and is taking after his grandfather, Gardie Heinrichs, who used to MC the parade and contest.
“We did it together and after he retired, I took over,” Heinrichs said. He had the lineup down — Heinrichs said he announces the parade entries, interviews the queen candidates and waits for the judges to make their decision. This year’s queen, Miss Shickley, Kaylee Noel, was crowned by last year’s queen, Brianna Barton, who represented Alexandria.
The contest is sponsored by the banks in Thayer County and led by Leann Heinrichs. The Carleton Community Club donates cash prizes for the contest, and the Miss Congeniality gift bag was donated by Miranda Wiedel of Essence Hair Studio.
Bruning Grocery donated the food, and the Milo Princesses activity that includes a meet and greet with the queen candidates, were sponsored by Thayer County Health Services.
The judges were Addisin Schardt of Hebron and Katie Dozler of Belleville, Kan. Helpers were Elissa Mumm and Nicole and Kaylee Powell.
Then, drivers volunteer to escort the candidates through the parade in convertibles, many of them classics.
To Jensen and Heinrichs, Milo Day and Carleton are important.
“I wanted to introduce my children to it to sustain it,” Jensen said. His parents come back for the celebration — Jonathan Jensen is the former pastor of Zion Lutheran Church. Jensen’s mom is Patti.
“Other families are stepping in and making it their own,” Jensen said about volunteering. “Don’t forget him.”
He pointed at Brad Dowdy, another hard working volunteer.
There are many, Jensen said.
Jensen said one of the goals of the Milo Day volunteers is providing entertainment for children. This year, Aurora Cooperative sponsored inflatables.