September marks the 100th anniversary of the Watkins Fire Department. The department will be celebrating the event at the Kraut ’N Wurst Festival, Aug. 2 and 3.
Friday night events include the Little Miss Watkins pageant at 7:30 p.m. and the cow drop at 9 p.m. at the city park, with refreshment stands opening at 7 p.m. The food and refreshment stands will open Saturday at 10 a.m. and the parade is slated to get underway at 10:30 a.m. There will be events all day at the park on Saturday, including a bean-bag tournament, volleyball tournament, water ball fight, and a street dance featuring Maiden Dixie, at 9 p.m. There will also be memorabilia for sale, commemorating the event, such as T-shirts, mugs and can coolers.
The festival is sponsored by the Watkins Fire Department, and the parade’s grand marshals are comprised of retired and active fire department members, in honor of its 100-year anniversary. Some of the retired members date back to the 1950s, including Jack Werner, who was a member from 1954 to 1976, Ewald Theis, from 1955 to 1974, and Joe Nistler Sr., from 1956 to 1982. There are 25 active members.
Twenty-year member Joe Kramer retired from the department in July. His long and devoted tenure included serving as captain for five years and assistant chief for five years. Joe is continuing his career in the construction field. The newest addition to the department is Mike Knisley, who grew up near Forest City and attended school in Litchfield. Mike works for Meeker County in the Radio Communication Department. He lives at his grandparents’ farm near Watkins, where he helps out with farming duties. Chief Walter Kramer says Mike will be a “great addition” to the Department. Mark your calendars and don’t miss the Kraut ’N Wurst Festival. The Watkins Fire Department invites everyone to come on out and help them celebrate their big birthday!