The king and queen of this year’s Horse & Buggy Days Parade are Bill Stearns and Edith Butt.
They will reign over the parade, which will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15.
“Horse & Buggy Days has been good for Weyauwega,” said Stearns. “I remember the big tent with the polka band. It’s a nice parade. It’s well known. People come from quite a distance just to see the parade.”
Both he and Butt remember going to the annual event many times.
Stearns and Butt, both widowed, could not say “no” when the were asked to be the king and queen of the 52nd annual event.
“I’d rather be in the back row than in the spotlight, but I couldn’t really refuse either,” he said.
Butt said, “He (Stearns) called me and asked if I wanted to. I said, ‘Why not.’ He’s lived around here all his life. He’s just as important as the rest. We have to keep it going.”
After graduating from Weyauwega High School, Stearns farmed. Later, he drove truck, including for Mercury Marine.
He and his late wife Sharlene raised their three children – Dan, Debra and Tim – in rural Weyauwega.
Retired since 1997, Stearns has six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
He loves John Deere tractors and drove a 1959 one in last year’s Horse & Buggy Days Parade.
Butt was born in Fremont and grew up near Saxeville. She attended Oakdale School through eighth grade.
Then, with six brothers and two sisters, she began working.
At age 17, Butt started waitressing at the Fremont Hotel. For 30 1/2 years, she worked at the former Benson Corporation in Weyauwega, retiring in 1996.
“I worked all my life,” she said.
Butt and her late husband Lee raised their three children – Leonard, Judy and Glenn – near Fremont. Butt has six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
She belongs to the Waupaca Old Car Club and enjoyed snowmobiling in the past.
Stearns, too, liked to snowmobile. He also liked to take his motorcycle out for rides and said he and Sharlene did quite a bit of traveling.
As he talked about Horse & Buggy Days, he recalled the days when men grew beards and people dressed in clothing of that era for the event.
“It’s important to keep it going,” he said.
The registration and line-up for Saturday’s parade will begin at 11:30 a.m., at the Waupaca County Fairgrounds, before heading down Elizabeth Street to Main Street.
Weyauwega-Fremont High School choral students will sell water and soda along the parade route, and downtown businesses will sell food and refreshments on the sidewalk.
There will also be craft vendors.
After the parade, the Weyauwega Area Historical Society will host a cemetery walk at Oakwood Cemetery. The Little Red Schoolhouse in Weyauwega Community Park will be open from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
In addition, the Weyauwega Fire Department will hold a firefighter competition on Main Street, after the parade. There will also be fire prevention activities for children.