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Members of the “Green Team.” Conservation Club volunteers with trash cans at the ready (Photo courtesy Waconia Chamber of Commerce)

Most people attending Nickle Dickle Day this Saturday will be fixated on classic cars, crafts, food, games, store sales or other attractions. What most visitors won’t see is the garbage they leave behind or the volunteers behind the 58th annual community festival.

But those are huge considerations in hosting the large event, notes Waconia Chamber of Commerce President Kellie Sites. Nickle Dickle Day annually draws some 30,000 people to Waconia.

A battery of volunteers from four organizations helps stage the event and another group of volunteers helps keep the City Square Park grounds and downtown streets “Disneyland clean,” Sites notes.

Volunteers with School District 110 Community Education organize the Nickle Dickle Day fun runs that kick off the day, while the Waconia West Carver Rotary runs the unique and popular duck races. St. Joseph’s Church volunteers handle the 3-on-3 basketball tournament and Chamber of Commerce volunteers help organizer Mike Keaveny with the classic car show, which yearly spans several city blocks.

Chamber volunteers and staff also assist with set-up and details around Nickle Dickle Day and the street dance the night before.

Sites estimates that about 300 volunteers in all help with the event each year.

“Also, a big thanks to the city of Waconia for their support of this Chamber-run festival,” Sites said.

Student groups also get into the act. Members of the high school football team, for example, lug pop for the Chamber’s beverage booth. Volunteers Judy Koch and Becky Larsen managed that booth for years, Sites notes. This year, Marta Beckett and Nancy Lenzen are the co-chairs.

The pop booth is both a fundraiser for the organization and an opportunity for volunteers to gain exposure and attention for their business.

“The great thing about Nickle Dickle Day is it benefits so many businesses and organizations,” Sites said. “It helps raise money and brings people to town to discover our shops, restaurants and businesses. Without them, we don’t have a town.”

A final factor in staging Nickle Dickle Day is clean-up.

That falls to the “Green Team,” a group of high school Conservation Club members who place and empty trash barrels to try to keep flies, bees and unappetizing smells away from Nickle Dickle Day visitors. That team is led by “street sergeant” Bill Sites, who happens to be the husband of Kellie Sites.

“Each of our volunteer groups understands their roles and performs them flawlessly,” she said. “It’s such a relief to know that all these things are being taken care of, and we couldn’t carry on this event without our volunteers.”

For a complete Nickle Dickle Day schedule of events, go to

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