‘Million Penny’ parade and festivities scheduled
For the Star Journal
WOODRUFF – Plans are underway to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Million Penny Parade in Woodruff. Festivities will be held July 15.
Organizers are planning several events to honor the rich history of the original Million Penny Parade including a car show, petting zoo, musical entertainment, games, food, a million penny drive, parade and more. The parade will start at 1 p.m. and most of the festivities will take place near the Dr. Kate Museum located at 923 2nd Ave in Woodruff.
“We’re hoping to make the 70th anniversary of the Million Penny Parade one of our best,” said Marsha Doud, Dr. Kate Museum Board secretary and curator. “We’d love to have community members and businesses get involved by creating a float or marching in the parade. Be creative.”
The original Penny Parade was held on Memorial Day in 1953 after 17 students from Arbor Vitae-Woodruff High School collected one million pennies to donate to the hospital fund drive. The students collected pennies from 48 states and 26 countries across the world so a hospital could be built in the community.
The hospital fund drive was inspired by Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb, who practiced medicine in the Northwoods for more than 20 years beginning in 1931. She treated trappers, Native Americans, locals and tourists alike. She would tie on her snowshoes or travel by canoe and face the elements. She was inducted into the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa tribe as “The Lady of the North” in 1954 and was featured on the television program “This is Your Life.” In 1956, the biography. “Dr. Kate: Angel on Snowshoes” was published. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the festival or the Dr. Kate Museum.
The event is a fundraiser for the Dr. Kate Museum and Historical Society who is organizing the event along with AV-W Elementary School, Happy’s Pub, Howard Young Medical Center – part of Aspirus, Let’s Minocqua Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce and dedicated community members.
If you are a Dr. Kate baby, an Arbor Vitae Woodruff High School or grade school alumni, please consider being in the 70th anniversary parade. The Planning Committee is also looking for any students or their relatives from the geometry class who worked on the first Million Penny Parade who might participate in this celebration.
“We’d also like to thank the towns of Woodruff and Arbor Vitae for their support of this 70th anniversary event as we raise funds for the museum and scholarships,” added Doud.
The Museum Awards a $1,000 scholarship each year to a graduating Lakeland Union High School student who graduated from Arbor Vitae-Woodruff Elementary School and is pursuing a career in either teaching or the medical field.
“Start saving your pennies,” Doud said. “We collected a million on the 50th and 60th anniversaries and we hope to collect another million pennies on the 70th anniversary.”
Anyone interested in entering a classic car in the car show, or taking part in the parade should call Marsha Doud at 715-356-5562, email main[email protected] or visit drkatemuseum.org for more information.