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2011 Ox Cart Days grand marshals selected

Bert and Ruby Frey

When Bert and Ruby Frey got the call asking them to be this year's Ox Cart Days grand marshals, they were shocked.

"I think I said, 'Huh? Us?'" said Ruby Frey.

The Freys have lived in the area all their lives. Ruby grew up in Star Prairie and Bert grew up in Cylon.

"I grew up on the Apple River," Ruby said.

Between swimming in the summer, playing Cops and Robbers on the banks, skating in the winter and collecting ice from the river to make homemade ice cream, Ruby said many of her childhood memories revolve around the Apple River.

"It was just a great place to grow up," she said.

Bert grew up in Cylon and was part of New Richmond's champion boxing team - winning Middle Boarder Conference titles in 1946, 1947 and 1948. He also played baseball for both Star Prairie and Cylon for a number of years. Now, instead of on the field, Bert would rather be in the field - in his vegetable garden.

"He has a huge vegetable garden," Ruby said. "He probably has 400 plants."

Bert said he enjoys growing vegetables for friends and family - he even sells a few.

When Ruby and Bert met in high school it was love at first sight.

"We're high school sweethearts," Ruby said. "We went to school here in New Richmond and have been married for 62 years and it's been pretty easy."

The two were married in 1949 and moved seven times in seven years. In 1956 Bert said he had enough.

"I said next time we move it'll be permanent," he said.

When a house in Star Prairie became available, the Freys pounced on it. They've been there ever since.

The Freys said they're excited to be part of the parade.

"I used to go all the time, but I have trouble walking now," Ruby said. "I can drive down to the bridge, but then they have the road blocked off and I have to walk - that's just too hard now."

Bert enjoys attending the ball games associated with Ox Cart Days.

"I played for 40 years so it's nice to get out and see it," he said. "There aren't many local teams anymore."

Ruby said that while she's excited to represent the village as grand marshal, it also has special meaning because her parents -- Carl and Mildred Haroldson -- were also grand marshals in 1983.

The Freys were chosen because of their history with the community, said Chris Boardman Lions Club president.

"I thought they chose us because we're probably the oldest couple in Star Prairie," Ruby said with a laugh.

The Freys have two children, Cheryl Johnston (Howard) of Deer Park and Brent Frey (Diane) of Amery; seven grandchildren, Bryan, Kevin, Laura, Luke, Lacy, Melanie and Megan; and five great-grandchildren - with two more on the way.

Ox Cart Days will be held Aug. 18-21. The following is a list of events.


5:30 p.m. Party in the Park

6 p.m. Performance by Trigger Happy


6 p.m. Fast pitch softball tournament

7 p.m. Bingo

8:30 p.m. Street dance featuring The Dweebs


8 a.m. Fast pitch softball tournament; Fun Run/Walk 5K and 10K at Star Prairie Ball Park

10 a.m. Vendor craft sale begins

11 a.m. Bean Bag tournament

1 p.m. Canoe race

2 p.m. Kid's games; classic car show at Community Center on Bridge Avenue

4 p.m. Rubber duck race - kid's division

4:30 p.m. Rubber duck race at River Island Park

6 p.m. Bingo

7 p.m. Street dance featuring Last Page

9 p.m. Street dance featuring Toybox


8 a.m. Pancake breakfast in the bingo building; fast pitch softball tournament

9 a.m. Church service at the ball park

11 a.m. Queen's tea at River Island Park

1:30 p.m. Kiddie parade

2 p.m. Grand parade

4 p.m. Pie and ice cream social

4:30 p.m. Queen coronation followed by bingo

7 p.m. Grand prize raffle drawing

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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