Every July since 1965, the community comes together to celebrate Alpenfest in downtown Gaylord. Music, crafts, games, rides and the Queens Pageant are enjoyed by one and all. Jim Mongeau was a founding member of the volunteers who made the annual event a highlight for the community, and in 2008 an endowment in his name was established with the Otsego Community Foundation to support this event. Jim was a longtime chairman and general manager of Alpenfest and was also named the very first Buergermeister in 1980. From the World’s Largest Coffee Break to the Alpenfest Grand Parade, Jim’s hard work and dedication to the community he loved was seen by all.
In 2018, the Jim Mongeau Alpenfest Fund helped support the education scholarship for the 2019 Alpenfest Queen, Abby Rajala, and supported the Arts Tent. Abby is a student at Grand Valley State University entering her third year, double majoring in marketing and advertising. “With Grand Valley being a four-year university, tuition and books become fairly expensive. Receiving the Alpenfest Queen Scholarship allowed me to access supplies, books and other necessities that allowed my educational experience to be more affordable and attainable,” stated Rajala. “This year has been an amazing experience representing our community as the 2018 Alpenfest Queen.”
Local art teacher Stephanie McNamara held art classes inside the Art Tent that drew large attendance each session. “The opportunity to volunteer for my community doing what I love fills my heart. As a teacher, I have selected various options of watercolor templates that will accommodate all ages. This provides time for a whole family to create memories and masterpieces. The pure joy of the artists as they completed their masterpiece is undeniable and the reason I am here to teach, inspire and to create. Passing on the gift of art is a gesture of love, just as children consistently do. We treasure artwork as a memory. Art awakens our senses and balances our soul,” stated McNamara.
“One of the sweetest thank you’s from the Art Tent was an older lady approaching me to thank us for the activities in the tent. She had never had the opportunity to fingerpaint. She tried it and loved it! She’d found a hidden talent she didn’t know she had”, stated Alpenfest board member Mike Czwik.
Stephanie McNamara and her daughter setting up the Art Tent
2018 Alpenfest Queen Abby Rajala
If you would like to support Alpenfest, please click here and select the Jim Mongeau Alpenfest Fund of the Otsego Community Foundation. Your donation will bring smiles to Alpenfest for years to come.