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The Final Squeeze

July 10, 2008 - Dan Voigt
With all the excitement and festivities of the Sesquicentennial over the past weekend, a couple of things sort of went by unnoticed in all the hub-bub and fun. For those of you who know me, you know where I’m headed, don’t you? Yes, food vendors. The vendors in Soper Park over the weekend helped give the Sesquicentennial the “home-town” touch that it needed, without a doubt. The West Bend-Mallard Booster Club was on hand with hot sandwiches, as was the New Hope Community Chapel and the Pizza Ranch. B&B Concessions offered mini-donuts and cotton candy, staples of a summer celebration, but one entity offered the quintessential summer treat - the Emmetsburg FFA and their freshly-squeezed in front of your eyes lemonade. It doesn’t matter what the activity in the summer - there’s just something about the tangy taste of ice-cold lemonade, with the lemon squeezed right in front (and possibly in) your eyes and a chunk of lemon rind floating in the drink. Anyhow, the Emmetsburg FFA has offered the fresh-squeezed lemonade for several years, after advisor Jerry Strand came up with the idea for a “gimmick” to sell in the concession stands at baseball and softball games during the summer as a fundraiser for the chapter. Over the years, Emmetsburg has gained a reputation for that lemonade. Spectators and players alike would clamor for the treat, and Jerry and his concession workers were always happy to oblige one and all. Of course, it goes without saying that the FFA chapter has raised a lot of money for projects and trips through that lemonade over the years. But Tuesday night, Jerry Strand squeezed his last lemonade about 9:30. You see, Strand has retired, and Tuesday’s tournament games were his last appearance in the concession stand. Jerry took great pride in his concessions - not only for the fresh burgers, brats, hot dogs, taco in a bag, pork loins and of course, the lemonade, but also in his workers. “I’ve always had good kids who work hard,” Jerry told me often, and I have to agree. But, it wasn’t all Jerry and his kids. It was Jerry, working to make Emmetsburg a place to be remembered. Jerry and his wife Kathy will enjoy their retirement, and I’m pretty sure he’ll get the itch down the road to squeeze a lemon or two. By the way, I know the secret recipe - and that special ingredient.... and I'm not telling.


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