eavy rains pelted Clarkfield on Monday (June 11) as residents wondered if the annual downtown block party would have to be postponed for the second time in three years. By late Tuesday afternoon, clouds gave way to sunny skies to create ideal conditions for the town to gather together just for the sake of having fun.

Twenty local businesses and organizations set up tables and booths for playing games and distributing treasures, many of them free. The library set up a street bowling game. The fire department turned on the hoses so children could target the flaming windows of a cut-out house. Handeland Chiropractic handed out free snow cones. Prairie Grain Partners gave away popcorn. Clarkfield Lutheran Church offered bars and blessings at their booth. The Prairie Cardinals served sandwiches and chips. Corey Field held court just outside Clarkfield Family Foods with a large Jenga game.

“There were a lot of people,” Field remarked. “I think Prairie Cardinals served around 300 people.”

The atmosphere was casual and relaxed as youngsters played games and older adults chatted in clusters. The climax of the evening was a Tae Kwon Do demonstration by local students.

Katie Kaatz was visibly pleased by the event. “The turnout was great,” she evaluated. “It was a good time with lots of fun and giggles for the kids.” But Kaatz was already looking ahead to the next big Clarkfield Prairie Cardinals project, Prairie Cardinal Days on July 20-22.

“I hope the turnout will be good for that, too,” she said softly. To make the event even bigger and better, Kaatz was already pitching for more volunteers. “Volunteers make a big difference,” she concluded.

The block party is proof of what volunteers can do.