#437. Turtle Races

Posted on | The Agurban

Turtle Races

A few years ago, I developed my list of the Top 10 Things I’d Do in Every Town. Number one on my list was to establish a Community Foundation, and this still tops my list.  I had the pleasure earlier this month to visit Minnesota on behalf of the Minnesota Initiative Foundations, and speak to their members and community leaders about the great things happening in rural communities all over our great country, and that they, too, can see positive outcomes utilizing my 7 ½ Keys. Minnesota and Indiana are tops in developing community foundations, something other states should copy.

One never knows where they might find success. Back in the mid-60’s, Russ Nyvall of Longville, MN, realized that there was a need to entertain residents and those vacationing in the area during the summer. So… he started Turtle Races. Yes, real, live turtles, appear on Main Street every Wednesday afternoon from June through late August, often bringing in 500 people. The little town of 156 full time residents and a whole lot of vacationers, is transformed into a mini county fair every week!

In addition to the turtle races, a YMCA dance contest is held, along with other games and contests, including turtle ring toss, chicken dance contest, fishin’ for fun, a hula hoop contest, and many others. The turtle races begin at 2:00pm. The winners are awarded a plethora of prizes provided by merchants.

The town of Longville has been working with the Initiative Foundation to develop ways to keep their town vibrant and alive. The spirit is there! Especially every Wednesday afternoon in the summer! Just because you only have 156 residents doesn’t mean you can’t think outside of the box.