Falkes selected for Weyauwega’s annual event
By Angie Landsverk
The couple reigning over this year’s Horse & Buggy Days are no strangers to the annual event.
Harold and Jeanne Falke, this year’s king and queen, remember its early days.
“There were four couples. We were really trying to get it rolling, so we all dressed up. We went to Green Bay and promoted it on TV,” he said.
Their trip to Green Bay took place in the late 1960s.
“Years ago, it was a big thing,” Harold said of Horse & Buggy Days.
He remembers the steam engines and those who were big promoters of the event, including the late Sam Goetsch, the late Gordy Baehnman, the late Bob Hofferber and Tony Resch.
The Falkes moved to rural Weyauwega close to 50 years ago.
The former Jeanne Peterson attended Lind Center Grade School and graduated from Waupaca High School.
Born and raised in Chicago, Harold moved to the area with his family after he graduated from high school.
“My dad came up here fishing,” he said. “He got interested in a farm by West Bloomfield.”
Harold and Jeanne met at an anniversary celebration for a couple, and they themselves will celebrate 56 years of marriage next month.
Their four children – sons Gary, Ryan and Jim and daughter Dee Dee Goode – are all graduates of Weyauwega-Fremont High School.
Harold and Jeanne have nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Most of their family members live in the area.
“When we moved to Weyauwega about 50 years ago, we purchased a garbage route. Between Waupaca and Weyauwega, one was for sale,” Harold said. “We changed the name and called it Citywide Disposal.”
They sold it around 1974, and he then went on the road, driving truck.
Harold did so until 1983, when he made the move to working in the office for Transtar. He worked there until 1999 and then worked for H.O. Wolding until 2002, when he retired.
When their children were young, Jeanne was a stay-at-home mother. She worked at Ron & Lloyd’s in Weyauwega for eight years and then at Presto for close to 20 years.
Harold was involved in the Weyauwega Area Chamber of Commerce, Waupaca Jaycees and Weyauwega Lions Club.
Jeanne said it is an honor to be chosen this year’s king and queen for Horse & Buggy Days.
On Friday, Sept. 18, they will attend a royalty breakfast at Lakeview Manor and visit Crossroads Care Center, Fremont Elementary, St. Peter Lutheran School and Weyauwega Elementary School.
The sponsors for their carriage ride will be the Weyauwega Area Chamber of Commerce and World Class Manufacturing.
“We’ve been around so many Horse & Buggy Days,” Harold said. “We’ve always enjoyed ourselves. We do miss a lot of the people who have passed. We loved it when we were young and took our kids to it. They grew up going to Horse & Buggy Days.”
During the event’s early days, they tended bar and also cleaned up at the end of the day.
“We had good times,” Harold said. “We loved the street dance.”
Jeanne said, “We always had fun.”
Now they enjoy seeing new generations enjoy Horse & Buggy Days as well.
“I would encourage people to go just for the fact that it is a true family gathering for all ages. It’s great to support the local community by coming out,” Harold said. “A good time can be had by all.”
This year’s Horse & Buggy Days includes a kiddie parade at 12:30 p.m. and the big parade at 1 p.m., followed by an afternoon of activities for children, music and numerous competitions including a cheese curd eating contest and arm wrestling championship.
“When you think about it and think about all the activities – they’re for everyone,” he said. “It should be a great time.”