Gordon Good Neighbor Days picks up momentum

Organizers expect it to be 'bigger, better, badder' then ever. The two day event will take place July 1-2.

090222.N.ST.Gordon logo.png
The Gordon Good Neighbor Days logo.
Contributed / Joy Rogers

GORDON — Gordon Good Neighbor Days is back.

A new committee has assembled this spring, 24 members strong. Their message to the community: The show will go on.

Gordon Good Neighbor Days, which has become part of the town of Gordon’s identity, will take place July 1-2. It will feature returning favorites like mud volleyball and live music, a fireworks display and new activities like yoga and a pancake breakfast over two action-packed days.

“It is a new group, a new energy, and we’ve gotten such a fast start. It’s been utterly amazing,” said committee chairman Erik Finstad.

They’re picking up momentum as they design this year’s activities.


“Keep your eye on it; it’s going to be something to watch,” said committee member Rob Erno.

“The dates are set. The food vendors couldn't wait to sign up again. The 5K is scheduled. Car show, rubber duck race, the parade. Everything is coming back,” said Jesse Smith, who is running the group’s Facebook page.

As reported by Douglas County Circuit Court.
Read the latest news in the Dispatches from Douglas County newsletter published every Friday.
"As part of a Statewide effort to prevent opioid abuse, residents were sent a safe medication disposal bag," writes Lindsey Nelson.
Due to increased refuse and risks, the site will be cleaned up and fenced off, officials said.
Bryant Elementary School fifth grader Connor Bailey had the mayor on the run initially, but was cornered in the end.
Construction on the new bulk handling facility on a long-dormant dock could begin in July.
To submit a calendar event, email or call 715-395-5000. The deadline is noon Wednesday for the Friday issue. Events are guaranteed to publish once.
Students and families celebrated two decades of learning at the elementary school.
The city's Historic Preservation Committee will review the decision to recommend a feasibility study for the Princess Theater.
Douglas County tourism increased 10.9% in 2022, supporting 1,279 jobs and generating $116 million in direct visitor spending, according to data provided by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

The fate of the event was in question when the 2 022 committee resigned en masse Aug. 16 due to concerns over financial discrepancies and town transparency. Finstad said he and Gordon Town Board Supervisor Craig Golembiewski held an initial Gordon Good Neighbor Days meeting in early March. Many of the former members were there. Three days later, most backed out because there had not been enough change in the town.

Finstad had no intention of leading the group.

“This is supposed to be the 63rd (event). I’ve been at 47 of them, and I wasn’t going to see this thing die, so I agreed to carry the torch forward,” Finstad said.

090222.N.ST.Gordon parade.png
A crowd watches the Gordon Good Neighbor Days Parade pass by in downtown Gordon on July 2, 2022.
Contributed / Joy Rogers

Golembiewski agreed to be the town liaison, and the two gave a shout out for volunteers. The result, Finstad said, was amazing. They went from a group of five to 24.

“A couple of leaders from past eras of Good Neighbor Days and then just … I’ve been here almost 50 years and people that I didn’t even know, I’d never even met, and it has been absolutely, utterly unbelievable,” he said.

Leading the push on social media is Smith. He’s not a member of the committee, but he offered to lend a hand.


“Because of the issues with the town last year there were some questions if Good Neighbor Days would continue,” he said. “Nobody wanted it to end and the support from the community in Gordon is always strong. Whether it's saving the fire tower or the post office, or supporting the volunteer fire department and EMS, people in Gordon always step up.”

Among those who did was newcomer Erno. He learned about the need for volunteers when his Wednesday night dance class in the Gordon Town Hall was preempted for a town meeting. His response: “Sure, I’ll help people coordinate a party.”

Erno attended the 2022 event. He had a great time, but knew they could make it “bigger, better, badder.”

“Within the Gordon Good Neighbor Days committee, the people are great, and they are on fire. There’s an energy that makes me think we will do better than it was last year,” Erno said.

He was new to Gordon in 2022, and so the financial issues at the crux of the committee resignation didn’t affect him.
Daniel Gengenbach of Solon Springs passes a ball during the mud volleyball tournament at Warner Park during Gordon Good Neighbor Days on Sunday, July 7, 2019.
Jed Carlson / 2019 File / Superior Telegram

“We can try to learn from that and move on,” Erno said. “We are trying to adjust our bylaws for a little bit more transparency.”

Jeff Davey, one of the 2022 committee members who is back this year, had similar thoughts.

“People make mistakes and things like that and you work through it and you learn from it,” Davey said. “You make it better, and that’s more my mentality.”


He and his wife stepped up to volunteer, despite the changes that were needed or the amount of work it would take.

“Those of us that came back also knew that if we didn’t, maybe the event doesn’t happen,” Davey said.

Finstad said the Gordon Town Board on April 11 approved a request by the committee to create a separate checking account for Gordon Good Neighbor Days, pending the OK from their legal counsel. Separate bylaws for the group were distributed at the meeting and will be voted on at the annual meeting Tuesday, April 18, when new board member Cody Eagle, chairman Jennifer Knutson and treasurer Justin Flamang take their seats. The committee has asked for additional funding for fireworks, which will also be addressed at the annual meeting.

The committee is seeking manpower, donations and positive support.

“We have a new committee, a new energy, a new vision … we expect a much better relationship with the Gordon Town Board,” Finstad said. “And that we are going to put on one heck of an event this year, and we want everybody there.”

This story originally contained the incorrect last name for Jesse Smith and incorrect first name for Cody Eagle. It was updated at 8:41 p.m. April 13 with the proper names. It was originally posted at 7 p.m. April 13. The Superior Telegram regrets the error.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
What To Read Next
Get Local