EDITORIAL:Â THE VILLAGE THAT IS THE CHISLIC FESTIVAL
Big-time congratulations are in order for the organizers of this year’s South Dakota Chislic Festival, the outstanding event that once again unfolded on the grounds of the Freeman Prairie Arboretum on Saturday. An ability to safely and comfortably handle that many people converging on one spot in that amount of time is no small feat, and the fact that they pulled it off speaks to the kind of people who are in leadership.
What was particularly heartening about what took place on July 30, however, was the involvement from other communities. Chislic festival officials have always been quick to point out that Freeman is part of a larger “chislic circle,” and that the cubed meat on the stick is not unique to this town.
To that end, it was outstanding seeing the Menno Volunteer Fire Department on hand to serve beer and, even though they weren’t specifically asked, help with setup and teardown. Menno’s connection to chislic is just as strong as Freeman’s and the two communities share something in that, as legend has it, the names of the towns were inadvertently swapped by the railroad when the towns were established. So it’s nice to see kinship play out when the opportunity arises as it did last week.
The Menno Pink Ladies Dart League was also on the grounds of the festival for the bean bag tournaments, the Parker FFA was there to run bingo, and Marion was actively represented on the volunteer workforce headed up by Marion resident and festival board member Anne Pankratz. All appeared to be both willing and excited to take part in their own special way.
Of course, there were numerous vendors and organizations outside the immediate area that played a key part in the success of this festival, too, from the South Dakota VFW to the Miss South Dakota organization to the bands that played on the amphitheater stage and set the tone for the day.
And, of course, Freeman itself got help from its own, like the fire department that helped settle the dust near the food vendors the day before, the EMTs that took care of first aid and business owners like Ryan Sorensen at Valley Electric — and Ted Pidde before him — who made sure the festival was being properly powered.
Naming names is always tricky because there are so many people who did so many things to make the 2022 South Dakota Chislic Festival another smashing success.
But that’s not a surprise. It’s been that way since Joshua Hofer first had the idea for the festival back in 2018, when a motivated and able team assembled to launch the inaugural event less than six months after the South Dakota Legislature named chislic the state nosh.
Who would have thought that in just four years the chislic festival would grow into one of this state’s premeir single-day events.
And what a better place for it than on the grounds of the Prairie Arboretum, a sprawling vista that is Freeman’s crown jewel. That the arboretum board and the Freeman Academy Board of Directors welcomes the festival to its grounds speaks to the collective effort this takes. They say it takes a village to raise a child. The same can be said for a festival.
Jeremy Waltner | Editor & Publisher