WELLFLEET — The small town of Wellfleet filled up with folks from across Nebraska and, yes, even Texas at the annual Fall Festival on Saturday.
There are just under 80 residents, but on Saturday there were more than 10 times that number of people celebrating with the townsfolk. The event has been going on since the 1950s and celebrates the community bringing together friends and family for food, music, tractor and truck pulling, to go along with a cattle sorting competition.
Claudia Dineen came all the way from Tioga, Texas, and rode her horse in the parade. She said she has friends who live in Wellfleet.
“Barb Brosz lives in Wellfleet and is really involved with the festival,” Dineen said. “Barb is one of my best friends and she is training my 3-year-old horse.”
The day began with the fishing tournament at 7 a.m. and ended with the dance that featured the popular Calhouns musical group.
Dani Jorgensen of Sutherland was in town to play in the volleyball tournament.
“I love the small town feel,” Jorgensen said. “I have young kids and I can let them go anywhere and I don’t have to worry about them. They check back in, everybody’s watching your kids the whole time. It’s great.”
Jorgensen said she started coming to the festival about 25 years ago.
“We played (volleyball) in the mud the first time I came down here, which was way fun,” Jorgensen said. “The thing that I like the best is the cow sorting. I’d never seen it before.”
Jodi Lemmert of Wellfleet is one of the organizers of the 2019 event.
“This is the second time of the year that Wellfleet comes alive,” Lemmert said. “We do Junkin’ in June and the Fall Festival.”
She said the fact most of the events are free makes it a unique festival.
“We try to keep it where everybody can come and enjoy it and don’t have to pay,” Lemmert said. “We’ve tried in the past to keep it all centrally located.”
The free barbecue draws a lot of people, Lemmert said, as well as other events.
“The team sort draws quite a few people,” Lemmert said. “We have a lot of events for the kids to enjoy.”
Bonnie Sellers lives a couple miles outside of Wellfleet.
“I grew up at Sommerset and I’ve been here for 70 years,” Sellers said. “I’ve been coming to the festival most every year since I moved here. The best thing about living near Wellfleet is that it’s just country life, quiet country life.”
Kay Cooper lives about 10 miles north of Wellfleet.
“There’s so many people that you know and the town has different programs you can get into so you get to know everybody that’s around here,” Cooper said. “That’s probably the best reason for being in a small town.”