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Jasper to celebrate 125th birthday

JASPER — Founded in 1888, Jasper will celebrate its 125th birthday in conjunction with the annual Quartziter Days this weekend.

The three-day celebration will begin today with festivities including the Jasper All-School Reunion, which is coordinated every five years. Jasper City Clerk and Treasurer Terri Ryan said more than 1,800 envelopes were mailed out to invite people to the reunion, and 420 have registered to attend.

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“We’re excited about everyone coming back for the All-School Reunion,” Quartziter Days Committee Member Ilene DeBates said. “Some people have been away for years, and now they are bringing back their spouses and family.”

In addition to the All-School Reunion, the city will host numerous activities for adults and children as part of the Quartziter Days, including the dedication of a large stone to mark the anniversary. Chuck Hey and Bill and Dick Sexton, former business owners and community members, will lead the dedication. The stone will join others in the city park that mark significant anniversary milestones for the community.

“It’s a stone that a group from the committee had gone out and picked out and is made out of Jasper stone,” DeBates explained.

During the 125th anniversary stone dedication, the city will also dedicate a caisson that was given years ago to the community by the state of Minnesota.

“The caisson is horse-drawn,” Ryan explained. “It’s what they used in the war with boxes where the shotgun shells are carried.”

The caisson has been in the Jasper park for years, and DeBates credited the refurbishment efforts to the promptings of community member Bob Bell.

“It was basically a pile of junk when they started,” DeBates said. “But Bob Bell, he kept after everyone — ‘We need to restore that caisson,’ he said.”

Extensive work was done to the caisson to return it to its original condition, including the crafting of custom-made wheels from Letcher, S.D,, a fresh coat of paint and the repair of the ammunition boxes.

The project took “a lot of time and money,” DeBates said, and the restoration efforts will proudly be displayed as the caisson is drawn down the street by horse in today’s parade.

A one-of-a-kind Winchester Model 9433 Lever Action Rifle, donated by the LaWayne Leuning family, will also be auctioned off on Saturday.

“There was never another made,” DeBates said of the rifle. “LaWayne passed away, so his family gave it back to the Legion for an auction.”

Auction proceeds will go toward the caisson refurbishment.

Turtle races, an event not been seen in the community for 10 years, will also return to the Quartziter Days. Adult and youth participants will be required to bring their own turtle — the only stipulation is that no snapping turtles are allowed.

Following is the schedule of events:


10 a.m. to 8 p.m.: all-school reunion registration

4:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Whopper feed and ice cream social

7 p.m.: parade

7:45 p.m.: Jasper Blowhards Concert in the Park

9 p.m. to 1 a.m.: Kory and the Fireflies


10 a.m.: turtle races

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: carnival games

11 a.m.: kids power pedal pull

11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.: roast beef sandwich luncheon

1 to 3 p.m.: fire truck rides

1:30 p.m.: SuFuDu Drumline Performance

3 p.m.: All-School Choir practice

3 to 4 p.m.: pet parade

4 p.m.: dedication of 125th anniversary stone and caisson

4 p.m.: rifle auction

4:30 to 7 p.m.: pork loin supper, kids hot dog meal and ice cream social

5 p.m.: Great Plains tractor pull


7:30 to 10:30 a.m.: breakfast at Memorial Hall

10:30 a.m.: church Service at the Park with Hallelujah Hooligan’s and All-School Choir

Noon: community potluck meal

1 p.m.: Hot Foot Antique tractor pull

1 p.m.: bean bag tournament

Alyson Buschena
Alyson joined the Daily Globe newsroom staff after spending a year in Latin America. A native of Fulda and graduate of the University of Northwestern, she has a bachelor's degree in English with a dual concentration in Literature and Writing and a minor in Spanish. At the Daily Globe, Alyson covers the crime beat as well as Pipestone and Murray counties, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and cooking. More of Alyson's writing can be found at
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