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Mousehole Days returns to Melbourne

T-R PHOTO BY SUSANNA MEYER — A woman pulled a train full of kids behind her during the Saturday morning Mousehole Days parade in Melbourne, and the kids waved at the spectators as they passed.

MELBOURNE — Mousehole Days is a summer tradition in Melbourne, and it was back at full capacity last weekend after a scaled down event in 2021.

Dee Pickard, one of the main organizers of the festival, said last year was smaller because it was only herself and the city clerk planning it, but this year, she had a lot more help.

Mousehole Days kicked off on Friday evening with a softball tournament and a fish fry, followed by a kid’s pedal pull. After that, Drew Kuhse and Charlie Winheim were chosen to be Mr. and Miss Melbourne. Friday night concluded with root beer floats, a performance by Elevation Performing Arts Center and a kiddy parade.

Saturday had even more events, with an all-day softball tournament, a parade, a 5K race and an evening street dance, among many other activities.

Pickard has been in charge of Mousehole Days for about two years now, and while the festival hasn’t been that well attended in recent years, she feels it has mostly been due to the pandemic and the lack of hands on deck.

A softball player slides to a base just as the softball is caught during the all-day softball tournament Saturday at Mousehole Days in Melbourne.

“We had a great committee going (for Mousehole Days), and all of that committee was just kind of done with it. They were burned out, they were like ‘We need someone else to take it over,’ and no one took it over,” Pickard said.

Now that Pickard has taken the reins and several other volunteers have pitched in, she was confident Mousehole Days would be back in business. Pickard grew up in Melbourne and has fond memories of the festival, so being able to organize it and bring that excitement back was important to her.

“Growing up in Melbourne, Mousehole Days was one of the most fun weekends of the summer, because everything we could do, we as kids could just ride our bikes and go do,” she said. “We didn’t have to worry about driving across town or having to worry about hitching a ride with someone. We honestly could pedal our bikes from Main Street to the softball diamonds and that was all weekend long, just having fun with everyone.”

The hard work of Pickard and her volunteers paid off, as the Saturday softball tournament garnered a lot of attention from both players and viewers alike. When the parade went by, Main Street was lined with excited spectators watching as different vehicles and people passed.

Sunday was a quieter day in Melbourne, as there was only church in the park and yoga in the park at dusk on the agenda.

Charlie Winheim, left, and Drew Kuhse, right, were chosen to be Mr. and Miss Melbourne for Mousehole Days, and they rode in style during the Saturday morning parade.

Though the 2022 Mousehole Days have concluded, Pickard is hopeful that next year will be just as good if not better, and with any luck, more people will join the fun.

“We are not letting off the gas pedal at all. We want to keep this going. We want to bring it back to its glory days,” Pickard said.

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Contact Susanna Meyer at 641-753-6611 or smeyer@timesrepublican.com.

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