This is a guest column NHS Executive Director, Hayes Scriven submitted to the Northfield News on September 5.
For the past two years I have been writing a column to the Northfield News wearing my general chair of the Defeat of Jesse James Days Committee hat. However, since this year I am no longer chair — that honor has been passed onto TJ Heinricy — I will instead don my Northfield Historical Society hat.
DJJD is a fun, family-friendly community event. Because of the crowds and commotion, though, some consider it an annoyance (and understandably so). But here’s an often-forgotten fact: At its heart, DJJD is a community celebration.
DJJD is about honoring the heroes of 1876 and supporting Northfield’s nonprofits. At its core, DJJD is all about honoring Joseph Lee Heywood, Alonzo Bunker, Elias Stacey, Frank Wilcox, Henry Wheeler and the others that were involved in defending the First National Bank of Northfield.
We must remember that what these people did helped shape Northfield into the great place it is today.
Through community pride and support, the DJJD committee is still helping shape our great city. With more than 160 volunteers, DJJD is the largest all-volunteer festival in Minnesota. These are the dedicated people that attend the monthly meetings, chair events, ride horses, drive tractors and much more. This does not include the volunteers from the Rotary Club, the Lions Club, the Sertoma clubs, the Swim Club, the Sundowners Car Club — too many to list in all.
Finally, the one thing most people do not know is that DJJD functions as a fundraiser for many of these service clubs. Last year the DJJD Committee donated $39,000 to charities and high school students in Northfield. That does not include the more than $100,000 that charities made on their own using the DJJD celebration as a fundraiser — the majority of which comes back into the Northfield community.
DJJD is so much more than a carnival, entertainment center, car show or even a parade. It is a time of year when Northfielders can come together to celebrate the unique qualities that make this community great. So please join us September 9-13 to celebrate our community and the sacrifices of the people that came before us. But also let’s just celebrate Northfield!
Northfield Historical Socety