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Military hero selected as Grand Marshal for Pea Soup Days

Sgt. 1st Class Hayden Eckelberg, a 2000 Somerset High School graduate, has been named the Grand Marshal for the 2009 Pea Soup Days Parade on June 13 by the Somerset Chamber of Commerce.

"We choose Hayden as Grand Marshall because we wanted to honor a Somerset alum who served our country," said Joe Green, vice president of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce. "We wanted to pay tribute to him and his family."

After Eckelberg graduated from SHS, he joined the Wisconsin National Guard. His assignments included the 732nd Maintenance Batallion, 1158th Transportation Company, 829th Engineer Company and the 264th Engineer Group. He also served as a gun trick commander in Nicaragua and Iraq in 2004 and 2005.

Throughout his military career, he has earned the Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Army Achievement Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve medal with the bronze hourglass and "M" device and the Combat Action Badge, among others.

Currently, Eckelberg is a student at Troy University studying business management with a minor in military science.

He lives with his wife, Kelli, and their three children - Jared, Carson and Lauren - in Tomah. His parents are Mike and Lori Eckelberg of Somerset.

The parade will start lining up at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 13, on Sunrise Drive by the schools; the actual start time is 11 a.m. The route will go past Spring Street, through downtown Somerset and end in Veteran's Park. The Somerset High School Dynamics and Choir will perform after the parade, as well as the Lake Country Cloggers.


The carnival will open Friday, June 12 at 5 p.m. and run through Sunday, June 14. It will be located in Village Park.

Thursday will kick off the festivities with the OSI/Training Room Run starting with a 5:15 a.m. registration, 6 a.m. run.

Friday will open the carnival rides, beer garden, booths, softball tournament and concerts by Rhino and The New Skinny.

Saturday is the main day for the activities. It begins with a pancake breakfast sponsored by the Somerset Fire/Rescue from 7:30-10:30 a.m. A softball tournament begins at 8 a.m. at Village Park. The second annual motorcycle run starts at Century Power Sports in Stillwater, ending at Crossroads Performance on Church Hill Road in Somerset with a motorcycle show from 1-5 p.m. The Stillwater Medical Group will also hold an open house to celebrate its new addition from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. They will offer health screenings, face painting and the first 200 visitors will receive a free health organizer.

At noon on Saturday, the carnival rides open as well as the booths, beer garden and Old Town Hall exhibits. Radio station K102 crew will be on hand from 2-4 p.m. The Somerset Fire/Rescue will hold a water fight at 3 p.m. and Wii bowling starts at Rendezvous at 4 p.m. with a $5 entry fee, must be 21 or older to enter.

Saturday evening's entertainment is provided by a 6 p.m. concert from Playback and a 9 p.m. concert by D'Boys. A fireworks show by Spielbauer Fireworks Co. Inc. is scheduled for dusk at Veteran's Park.

Sunday opens with a pancake breakfast by Somerset Fire/Rescue from 8 a.m.-noon. Also at noon, the carnival rides open as well as the beer garden, booths, softball tournament and face painting. The kiddy pet costume/bike decorating parade starts at 1 p.m., the lineup will be in the parking lot beside Village Hall. The parade ends in Village Park and is followed by a scooter race, diaper dash, duck pond and three-legged race. The Teddy Bear Band will perform at 2 p.m.

All the entertainment and carnival rides are held in Village Park. The Bridge Bible Church will also be accepting donations for the food shelf.

For more information about the Pea Soup Days schedule, visit