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WIld Mountain 12-8-13

home : news : news
January 18, 2022

11/26/2021 2:49:00 PM
Welcome back; Lighting Festival parade returns
by DENISE MARTIN


Taylors Falls is very familiar territory to this year’s Lighting Festival Royal Lady of the Village, Wendy Szczepanski.  

Generations of her family members are at rest in Kahbakong Cemetery and the place she now calls home has been the hub that her extended family has revolved around for decades.

Wendy said military service is a prominent family tradition  and Memorial Day has been a hallowed holiday amongst her clan, and they participated in programs from TF to Franconia.

Everybody would end up at ‘Grandma’s’ west of the elementary school; which could easily be a movie set for the 1800s.  The dwelling was constructed for Wyman X. Folsom, the son of the legendary Folsom House occupant.   Wendy and her husband acquired the eight acre plot, a block from the elementary school, (where she volunteered before the virus.)  
Groves of giant pines occupy areas. and cattails bracket either side of the dirt driveway; there is not a piece of plastic visible anywhere.  There’s a shed with walls made out of doors.  A she-shed is coming to life with french doors and reclaimed windows found  on site.  The solid but unpainted barn looks like it has no plans on going anywhere.  A sculptural piece of farm implement ages gracefully in the yard, atop a huge stump outside a mudroom.

Since moving to town in 2016 Wendy has no regrets about acquiring the family homestead.   She says, it’s been “a labor of love to bring the house back,” after a generation or so of little change, she explains.

The Taylors Falls area,  particularly the Swedish Immigrant Regional Trail which is the celebration theme this year, is so scenic and Waconia, where she moved from, was pretty but there’s no comparison.

And, she has the “blessing of time” to be able to also volunteer.

She is on the First Lutheran Church Council and you may have been to  Wendy’s property for a church rummage sale when they were fundraising for recent exterior projects.
Her real passion is working with kids, and as part of the Taylors Falls Together With Friends summer daycamp enrichment program Wendy gets to work come up with cool art projects.

Volunteers will tell you the benefits far exceed the commitment.  Playing an Elf in the Lighting Festival downtown parade has led to meeting so many people and feeling connected, she explains.

This weekend Wendy will be in the Royal Lady velvet robe and leading the parade. The event last year was a still parade, with the crowd driving on the mainstreet passing by the parked floats, etc.  This year, Friday night, Nov. 26  is a return to the parade as usual.

Wendy also presides over a Royal Lady Tea, an event introduced recently by new coordinator Carol Schumann, who’s been handed the torch by Barb Young.  The tea features tea and a hot berry cider, served in a treasured collection of tea cups and baked goods. It’s in the Baptist Church on West Street, starting at 2 p.m. November 28.

Girls— spend some time with your moms and moms— bring the girls in your life young and old. 



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WIld Mountain 12-8-13

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