The Zimmerman Community Club is a great organization.
Great support from volunteers, area businesses, sponsors, and individuals like you make the Community Club a great asset to this community and it's residents. We are all more successful because people get involved. That's just the fact. Perhaps you should consider participation, membership, or sponsorship this year.
If you are interested in being involved with the Community Club, plan to attend our monthly meetings with your interest and questions each second and fourth Tuesday of each month. We are interested in your feedback during this meeting time as well.
We tend to meet at different locations each meeting, so… contact us for the location for this months upcoming meeting location. You can also use our Contact page too. Hope to see you soon!
It's got great history!
In the Fall of 1970, a small group of Zimmerman residents decided to create a fund-raising community group with the expressed purpose of providing community aid, ranging from projects like helping the local Volunteer fire Department to providing help for families in need. Their ultimate goal was to purchase a piece of land and erect a community building on it. This group became known as the Zimmerman Civic Club. With some energized citizens who were concerned about a place to play for the young members of the area. There were four couples who met at the Elementary School Parent-Teacher-Organization (PTO) every month. Out of that friendship came the formation of the Zimmerman Civic Club of old and it blossomed with others joining in on the cause. The intent was to earn money to provide a place for youth to congregate and enjoy healthy activities.
Thanks to this "handful of sweating members, who perform most of the hard work, listen to gripes, grit their teeth and try harder", their vision was realized many years later. The enthusiasm was contagious. The small handful of visionaries soon grew into a large, active group of community members. Within three months, the ZCC had announced it's first large scale fundraising event -- Wild West Days (WWD). By the time the celebrations was held, membership in the ZCC was listed at 77 members. With a population under 500 people, that was quite an amazing accomplishment in itself.
Even more amazing is the array of events offered at this first celebration, including: "Main street" being closed down for an old-fashioned Street Dance - "bands played continuously from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m."; a Carnival that touted games like "Pick-a-Duck" and offered real pony rides; the first Parade - "drew hundreds of spectators"; Bingo, with a "loud and clear" bingo caller; Dinner "served" - (not sure where, but bet it was darn good); a Baking Contest - no "boxed mixes" please; a Pie Eating Contest - "hands tied behind made a big mess"; a Beard Contest - for the nicest looking beard, not the longest, just in case some of the men had "slow-growing beards - AND it was judged by "pretty ladies who don't mind looking men over at all"; a Raffle with a grand prize of half a beef - "Stan Dorris of St. Paul won it"; a Demolition Derby - "make sure those doors are roped shut!"; a Poster contest for grade school kids - I came in second place!; a WWD Button selling contest - winners were crowned king and queen of WWD; A Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane look alike contest - "The Aubin's won the title and led the parade"; A Horse Show, hosted by the Zimmerman Trail Riders; a Shooting Contest and Gallery - "fastest draw and sharp-shooting - real men, real guns!"; a Senior Citizen's Auction and Bazaar - "held on Roy's front lawn" (guess everyone knew where that was); and a Soap Box Derby , held on the Legion's hill, "with winning prizes of $3, $2, and $1" - (Dreamy John Adam was the big winner, with Phil Ingram a close second). And that is what was documented! What an unbelievable undertaking! Can you even imagine doing this without cell phones or e-mail? Wouldn't you just love to be dancing to "The Too Fat Polka" with Rueben and Ann in the street right now?
What a huge success that first weekend was. No one needed to count dollars to know that WWD was a success long before the weekend came. The old newspaper articles, praised the event, and the weekend's program reads like a "Who's Who" in Zimmerman's rich history. The old WWD programs are filled with numerous acknowledgments for "generous donations "of time, money, baked goods and prizes. Giving -- it seems -- is a "Zimmerman Tradition." And for years the community of Zimmerman has been giving and hosting their successful annual community celebration, "Wild West Days".
The first year of Wild West Days was old school, with a cake walk and games that were rented from a carnival supply in Minneapolis. Businesses were totally supportive. A booklet was printed with the schedule of events and advertising for every business that donated to the cause. A button for Wild West Days was on sale for one dollar. There was a contest for Wild Bill and Calamity Jane. Also, a Miss Zimmerman was chosen. It was hard to believe the success accomplished by this small town. Through the years, the Lions Club helped create the park and huge building on the grounds where there used to be a rodeo, carnival, and demolition derby. Randy Johnson kept the ballpark games scheduled each summer. Along with that, he and Elsie Iliff kept the business meetings active and here we are today. Is it any different today? Nope, folks chip in to make the event happen each year.
It is a good feeling to see the young people getting involved and caring about their hometown. But, remembering those involved in the early days of the event is very important. Great examples are Brian and Reggie Garvey who arranged the Wild West Day parade for many years. When Larry and Wanda Thorson were involved in the Club they took on a goal to procure the land that Dick Nelson owned adjoining Nelson Nursery for community activities. Larry was able to make a deal with Dick and now, through Zimmerman Lion involvement, there is a park for the community to enjoy WWD going forward. Without Dick and Merlyn Nelson and their willingness to help provide a place for all of us to congregate and play, there would be no Lion's Park where WWD is held each year. In the early years floats were Wild West period themed. Many remember when Reggie Garvey, Jan Meek, and Wanda Thorson rode an old prairie wagon pulled by horses in the parade and wore garters at their knees and old time bar-room girl costumes - Bob Beguhl played the accordion while riding along. These are simply a few examples of folks having fun back then and it's great to see that spirit of those people resonating still every year at Wild West Days.
With Gratitude and memorial we thank all those who started it all.
Larry and Wanda Thoreson
Phil and Donna Irwin (both deceased)
Bob and Jan Meek (Nicholas, Bob deceased)
Brian and Reggie Garvey
* Wanda Thoreson, Wendy Iliff, and Steve Conklin contributed to this historical information.
P.S. Time does not stand still. With the greater Zimmerman area always in mind, the Club has changed it's official name to Zimmerman Community Club as of 2020 and will continue to provide great events all through the calendar year. We look forward serving, working with volunteers and vendors, and seeing your family at the great events yet to come!