Blooming Prairie gearing up for 15th annual ‘Paint the Town Pink’

Published 10:10 am Thursday, September 3, 2015

By Ashley Stewart

Owatonna People’s Press

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — Nearly 20 volunteers gathered east of U.S. Highway 218 Sunday evening to kick off the Blooming Prairie Cancer Group’s annual tradition of painting the town pink in preparation for its biggest event of the year.

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That tradition, which begins with the display of pink ribbons and flags throughout the city, is the result of hours of work on Sunday as well as the weeks ahead and following by local students, business owners and residents.

“It’s a community effort,” said Cheri Krejci, a cancer group member.

Evidence of that came as Krejci listed the individuals who made the cancer group’s fourth annual Field of Flags display, which honors and remembers those who battled cancer with 250 pink flags, a reality.

Dennis Heimerman, owner of Metal Services, donated the metal poles for the flags while Adam Bishop donated the little pink flags, Dick Raimann donated his land for the display, Mike and Sandy Jones marked the field last week and repainted the auction sign, Greg Johnson, owner of B to Z Hardware, donated supplies and Tyler Kruckeberg with Minimizer completed the graphics on the cancer group’s newest addition to the field — a large black flag with the phrase, “Support the fighters. Admire the survivors. Honor the taken.”

“It’s been a few weeks in the works,” Krejci said.

And now, the cancer group is encouraging local businesses and residents to decorate their window displays and lawns pink, too.

“We’d like them to show their support in the fight against cancer and paint Blooming Prairie pink,” Krejci said.

The cancer group’s “Paint the Town Pink” event leads up to the 15th annual Cancer Auction.

This year’s live auction will be at 7 p.m. on two days, Friday, Sept. 11, and Saturday, Sept. 12, under the big tent outside the Cue Company in Blooming Prairie.

But there is plenty more pink to come.

Starting on Sunday for its fourth year was the flamingo game, which individuals donating $10 to place flamingos in someone’s yard, and then that individual donated $10 to have the flamingos removes and placed in someone else’s yard.

“It’ll last at least two weeks,” Krejci said. “It could go all month though depending on the interest.”

On Friday, the Blooming Prairie football team will have its pink night against St. Clair.

Krejci said the senior football players will sport pink warmup jerseys before the game, and all the players will have their cleats laced with pink shoelaces, which is courtesy of Prairie Sports and Chiropractic in Blooming Prairie.

“There will be one pink jersey that will be signed by the whole team and auctioned off on Saturday night at the cancer auction,” Krejci said.

The Blooming Prairie volleyball team will have its pink night on Tuesday, Sept. 8, against Austin.

“They have some stuff they’re going to do that night, too,” Krejci said.

For the third year, the Blooming Prairie Cancer Group is hosting its annual cancer memorial run/walk, which will be a 5K this year, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Field of Flags. The run/walk will take participants along a path marked with pink ribbons through Blooming Prairie.

Registration for the run/walk is from 9 to 10 a.m. on Sept. 12, but participants may pre-register, too, by calling Mandy Doocy at 507-530-5084 or Ashley Valek at 507-676-2156 or stopping in at Krejci Ford. It costs $15 and includes a T-shirt, and the event without a T-shirt is $10.

Also, Saturday morning Barb Kraling, owner of The Cutting Edge, is bringing something new to the cancer group’s weekend.

Under a tent in the Field of Flags, Kraling, along with others, will offer mini manicures, crazy hair, haircuts, games, face painting, chair massages, bracelets and food from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“I thought we’d give something else a try,” she said. “We hope this inspires more people to come out.”

Kraling said she will be cutting hair for a donation of at least $5 and no appointment is necessary.

“We want to do everything we can for the cause and raise money,” she said.

On Saturday, the evening festivities will begin at 4:30 p.m. with family bingo. After bingo, the Blooming Prairie drum corps, Stix of Fury, will perform at 6:30 p.m. and the live auction will begin at 7 p.m.

Krejci said at least 100 items will be auctioned off each night.

Some items include an autographed Ford racing poster, handmade quilts, wood furniture, casino trips throughout Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, and a week-stay at a cabin in northern Minnesota as well as a one-night rental for Tom and LaVae Kramer’s diner in Hayfield that’s equipped with a 1950s diner look, movie theater, basketball court and games.

Krejci said the diner rental accommodates between 50 and 75 people.

“This is new,” she said. “We’ve never had it before. It’s a really cool item.”

Krejci said there are also several items for children, including two pedal tractors — one a John Deere and the other an International — and a motorized Ford F-150 for children.

“There’s really something for everyone,” she said.

After the auction, the cancer group will raffle off three cash prizes: one for $1,000, another for $300 and the last for $200 in memory of Steve Prihoda, a local farmer who died from cancer.