Woodbury Days celebrates 35 years

A look back at the city’s premier community celebration.
Bands at Woodbury Days draw big crowds to Ojibway Park.

Face painting. A parade. Rides for kids. Miss Woodbury. While these components have played a consistent role in Woodbury Days, the community celebration has grown and changed over its 35-year history. A Look Back Woodbury Days got its start in 1978 with a small community picnic in Potawatomi Park in the Park Hills neighborhood; in 1980, it was moved to newer and larger Ojibway Park. Mark Ward of the Windy Ridge Ranch served as president of the organizing body, the Woodbury Inter-Club Council, made up of community service organizations including the Woodbury Jaycees, Jaycee Women, Lions Club, fire department, fire department/auxiliary and League of Women Voters. Other key early volunteers were Bonnie Kluge, Lynn Kantor and Kathy Barton.“Back at the start, we all knew everybody at Woodbury Days—it brought the neighbors together,” says Gene Johnson, president and executive director of the Woodbury Athletic Association who served as Woodbury Inter-Club Council president from 1985-1994. “Today, it’s a good place to meet all the people you used to know. I enjoy watching all the people come through, especially the kids, as they’re the future of Woodbury.”In the early 1980s, Woodbury Days was held the weekend after Labor Day, then moved to early August. Highlights included a Woodbury Days Dance held at the Woodbury Community Club on Afton Road, as well as a Teen Street Dance at Valley Creek Mall; a bakeoff; the Woodbury Horse Show for amateurs; a fire engine parade and fire muster (firefighting team competitions). Woodbury Days Council In 1993, the Woodbury Inter-Club Council was re-named the Woodbury Days Council. That year, after moving to Woodbury, Sheila Kaufer joined the council and served as president from 1994 to 1997. Kaufer says, “I went to a meeting, learned more about Woodbury Days and was hooked. It was a great way to learn about the community I had just moved into.”The 1990s brought new components to Woodbury Days, including the 3M Classic Car Show, bingo, Taste of Woodbury and crowd-pleasing bands including the Dweebs. “One of our proudest accomplishments was to obtain professionally run, musically synchronized fireworks in 1995,” Kaufer says. “While the fire department had done a great job in the past with hand-lit fireworks on the 4th of July, it was time to have a larger, faster fireworks display that would really wow the community.”Woodbury Days Today Since 1993, Woodbury Days has been held the weekend before Labor Day, featuring a wide variety of events which appeal to all ages. “The key is keeping the event fresh, refining it and making it better,” says Theresa Janechek, current Woodbury Days Council president. “As Woodbury grew, we were very purposeful in trying to grow the quality of the event. We feel really proud when other cities contact us about our event.”The Woodbury Days Council, made up of 30-35 area residents and business owners, includes a lot of married couples like Janechek and her husband, Jeff, as well as a few kids “who have valuable input,” Janechek says. “Everyone is a volunteer; we’re able to put all the money raised back into the event.”Janechek touts the many partnerships that are critical to the success of Woodbury Days. “We work with local trash hauler Troje’s Trash and Recycling as a sponsor so we don’t have that cost, and Data Doctors partners with us to take care of our server and wireless Internet,” she says. “We partner with several nonprofits, including the Woodbury Ice Kicks which cleans the grounds throughout the weekend. The Rotary Club runs the beer tent, and in return they get a portion of those proceeds.” Janechek’s biggest reward is going to Woodbury Days each year and seeing Ojibway Park transformed into the event. “A lot of people plan family reunions on the Woodbury Days’ weekend,” she says. “It’s an affordable, family-oriented event that citizens really rally around.”