Saturday, April 19, 2014

Changes to tug- of-war in store

The annual cross-border tug-of-war is expected to see a few changes next July 2.
Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft told town council last night that one of the changes is to shorten the event’s title from “Pulling for Peace” to the more concise “Peace Pull.”

“It’s a branding thing, I guess,” he remarked.
“It rolls off the lips a little bit better.”
Coun. Wiedenhoeft added the idea is to have a tentatively-titled “Peace Festival” from July 1-5, with events on both sides of the border ranging from the Dragon Boat Festival on July 1, “Peace Pull” on July 2, another event on July 3, the Fourth of July, and then ending with the Falls’ “Riverfest” on July 5.
“We’re trying to build a five-day festival so we can attract economic development to the community,” he explained.
The “Peace Pull” still will be comprised of three tugs, but two of them will be altered.
Instead of a “celebrity” pull, there will be a “community” pull with dignitaries taking part (this means politicians and other guests will be pulling with the community members).
No Minnesota Vikings will be taking part this time, noted Coun. Wiedenhoeft.
Meanwhile, because 2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the end of the War of 1812, organizers are looking to have the Minnesota National Guard square off against Canadian Forces from this region in the second pull of the day.
Coun. Wiedenhoeft said he will contact Lt. Col. Geoffrey Abthorpe of the Canadian Forces while the Falls will get hold of Maj. Gen. Richard Nash of the Minnesota National Guard.
He added he believes there will be no cost in hosting the soldiers.
Then the third pull of the tug-of-war will be a “power” pull featuring the strongest men and women each side has to offer.
Finally, the theme of a breakfast meeting held prior to the tug-of-war will be health care.
Coun. Wiedenhoeft said the idea would be for health-care reps to talk about the possibilities of share health-care resources in Borderland, noting that Windsor and Detroit apparently have shared facilities.
“We’d like to do something similar here with our dialysis and their MRI machine in the Falls,” he remarked, adding that dignitaries such as Ontario Health and Long-Term Care minister Deb Matthews could be invited.
Last year, the theme of the breakfast meeting was border issues.
All of these changes were discussed at a meeting Friday in International Falls.
It was the first of the event committee following Coun. Wiedenhoeft and Falls Coun. Cynthia Jacksa’s meeting with Canadian Consul General Jamshed Merchant in Minneapolis last month.

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