Horse & Buggy Days royalty
Phillips named Weyauwega’s king and queen
By Angie Landsverk
For Joe and Marlene Phillips, their memories of Horse & Buggy Days include fake robberies, steam engines, bed races down Main Street and spending time with family.
This year, another memory is being added.
They are this year’s Horse & Buggy Days king and queen in Weyauwega.
This is not the first time they were asked.
“Two years ago, they mentioned it to us,” Marlene said.
She is glad it worked out for them to be king and queen this year instead.
That is because her parents, the late Arnold and Meta Ernst, were the Horse & Buggy Days king and queen 25 years ago.
“Isn’t that ironic?” Marlene said.
She has a framed picture of them dressed in their attire and remembers how much that day meant to them.
“I’m glad we’re meant to do it 25 years after my mom and dad. It just means so much to me,” Marlene said.
Joe is a Weyauwega native, and Marlene grew up in West Bloomfield.
“I’ve known him since I was 12 years old,” she said.
The long-time sweethearts are graduates of Weyauwega High School and are married 53 years.
“Neither one of us every dated anyone else,” she said.
They have four daughters – Bobbi Jo Anunson, Toni Higgins, Robin Locy and Traci Zietlow – and one son – Ryan. They have seven grandchildren.
When Joe and Marlene were first married, they had a 160-acre farm by West Bloomfield.
They lived there 30-some years. It is where they raised their children.
Marlene worked at Sanger Pharmacy for 14 years and worked close to 25 years as an activities director at area nursing homes, including at Weyauwega Health Care (now Crossroads Care Center of Weyauwega), Bethany Home and Park Vista.
Marlene loves to cook and also worked part time at Gill’s Landing at one time.
Joe worked in construction for a total of 40 years, including 33 years at The Boldt Company.
They volunteered at Weyauwega’s former St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store and twice a year donate and prepare the food for Weyauwega’s Community Dinner.
Marlene also makes desserts for the Community Dinner and belongs to the Ladies Aid at St. Peter Lutheran Church. She continues to volunteer at nursing homes.
They enjoy boating and shooting darts.
Both remember many past Horse & Buggy Days.
“I can remember when they first had it,” Joe said. “It was around our Homecoming.”
His father, the late Sylvester Phillips, always rode horses in the parade.
Marlene said there were not many years the two of them and their children missed the event.
She helped decorate many floats for Sanger’s.
This year, their children are going to be riding in the parade as well.
“I am for promoting things in town,” Marlene said. “I like traditions.”
They are ready for this weekend’s activities.
Marlene turned a hat she previously wore to a Kentucky Derby party into a hat for Horse & Buggy Days.
She found a top online and a black skirt at Goodwill.
Joe will be wearing black pants, a white shirt, a black vest, a black tie, black boots and a black hat.
The tie he will wear is the same type Marlene’s father wore when he was the Horse & Buggy Days king 25 years ago.
On Friday, Sept. 16, Joe and Marlene will attend the Horse & Buggy Royalty Breakfast at Crossroads Care Center of Weyauwega and then visit with students at Fremont Elementary, Weyauwega Elementary and St. Peter Lutheran School.
On Saturday, Sept. 17, Horse & Buggy Days features a pancake breakfast at 9 a.m., music all day, a kiddie parade at 12:30 p.m. and the big parade at 1 p.m.
There will also be an afternoon of activities for children, a pool tournament, an arm wrestling championship, a pedal tractor pull and raffles.
“I just think the community should keep up with traditions and people should all volunteer and help in any way they can whether it’s for something like Horse & Buggy Days, the chicken barbecue or the community dinners. Just help,” Marlene said.