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Waseca native Jack Anderson (gold) shows excitement after winning the silver medal in the 50-meter dash at the 2022 Special Olympic USA Games in Orlando, Florida. (Photo courtesy of Julie Anderson)

Jack Anderson medal


IV Play has appeared at Hay Daze in years past, and for the 2022 edition they headlined the Main Stage on Friday night, playing from 9 p.m. to midnight. (Ethan Becker/southernminn.com)


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Little Rascals theater to perform "Goldilocks on Trial"
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With kids out of school for the summer, many parents are looking for a fun activity that their little ones can do to keep them busy during the summer and help them stay in touch with their friends. For some, that activity is the Waseca Community Education’s Little Rascals Theater Troupe, who will be performing their summer show, “Goldilocks on Trial”, on at 7 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Baby Bear, played by Maddie Hall, and Papa Bear, played by Andy Vasquez, argue about what happened the morning of the break-in during the trial. (Ethan Becker/southernminn.com)

The Little Rascals program

“The name was actually inspired by the man who did the music for The Little Rascals, Leroy Shield, who was born in Waseca,” said Karen Pfarr Anderson. “E. Jack Williams began the theater as a way of establishing a middle school theater program, and I came on to help him direct.”

Chloe Roemhildt (left) plays Goldilocks as she sits at the desk with her attorneys, portrayed by Jack Durisen (middle) and William Mansfield. (Ethan Becker/southernminn.com)

Anderson is the language arts teacher at Waseca Junior High School and has also been one of the directors of the Little Rascals theater troupe since 2007. In 2010, Anderson took over the reins as the sole director, and has put on shows every summer since, with the exception of 2020, when the show had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We do a rotation of five shows, so every five years we do the same shows,” said Anderson, adding that it adds a level of excitement for the kids. “They get to see those shows come back around again and remember when they were in that show and what part they got to play.”

This year, there are 22 kids in grades four through eight performing in the show, which Waseca Community Education is able to put on thanks to grants from the Waseca Area Foundation and the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council. Graduates from the Little Rascals program have gone on to be assistant directors for the program, as well as perform for community theaters such as the Mankato Playhouse and the Little Theater of Owatonna.

Two jurors fight with silly string during the trial of Goldilocks, causing the lawyers to have to stop their arguments and clean up. (Ethan Becker/southernminn.com)

“We have an extremely talented group of kids this year. There are several younger kids, in fourth or fifth grade, who this is their first time performing and while I’m watching them I’m thinking, ‘these kids could’ve been leads’,” Anderson said, “Our eighth graders have been amazing and have been awesome leaders. These kids all have great talent, energy and stage presence.”

Goldilocks on Trial

Andy Vasquez plays Papa Bear, the patriarch of the bear family, who yearns to eat something other than porridge. (Ethan Becker/southernminn.com)

The show that the Little Rascals Theater Troupe is putting on this year is “Goldilocks on Trial.” A synopsis from playscripts.com describes the show, “Goldilocks is on trial for breaking and entering. Will she be found guilty and sent to prison, or will the truth come out … It’s up to Judge Wallabee and some very silly jurors to decide … This play takes a familiar tale and throws in exciting twists and back stories of the characters.” Performances are at 7 p.m. on June 24 and 2 p.m. on June 25, with tickets being able to be purchased at the door for $5.

The lawyers in this play don’t just have to worry about presenting their case, they also have to deal with jurors getting out of hand with actions like playing video games, reading books or even talking on their phone. (Ethan Becker/southernminn.com)

Anderson says the theater program is important not only because it gives students the ability to do something they haven’t done before while learning important life skills, but also because it is a way to make friends, describing the performers of each show as, “almost like a family.” Sadie Schimming, an eighth grader who plays Mamma Bear in the show, couldn’t agree more.

“I just like seeing everyone having a lot of fun acting. I really loved last year because there was a lot more time backstage where we could hang out and get to know each other better,” Schimming said, adding the cast of the show this year is another tightknit group. “There are a lot of good people here and we all mesh together so well. My fellow Papa Bear and Baby Bear are some of the nicest people that I know.”

Students who have graduated from the Little Rascals program will often still get the chance to help the following years, either with assistant directing, being a stagehand, or running lights or sound. Allen Kopetzki and Madilyn Larrabee are two such ninth graders. They performed with the theater troupe for years and — now that they’re both in high school — have stuck around to help run the sound and lights respectively. For many in the show, when looking ahead to the performances, the main feeling they get is excitement, mixed with a little sobriety from those performing in their final show.

This trial is anything but ordinary, with fairy tale characters being called as witness, jurors acting out in unexpected ways and even an impromptu dance party. (Ethan Becker/southernminn.com)

“I’m very excited, as this is my last year, it’s kind of sad also to not be able to do this program any more as an actor,” Schimming said. “But I’m very excited. I think this is going to be a wonderful show.”


The Mittlestaedts pose for a family photo. From left to right: Kayla, Harper, Mitch and Hudson. (Photo Courtesy of Mitch Mittelstaedt)


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WACS and Art Center team up for Hometown Art Show Silent Auction
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The Waseca Art Center and Waseca Area Caregiver Services are teaming up to give area residents a unique opportunity to support local artists while also helping people in the community. The Waseca Art Center has been displaying pieces since June 8 that were donated by area residents in a showcase titled, “Hometown Art Show Silent Auction.”

Kelly Boeddeker (left) from the Waseca Areca Caregiver Services and Jessica Stuckmayer from the Waseca Art Center are teaming up to put local art on display for a good cause. (Photo Submitted by Kelly Boeddeker)

“We have some donated pieces that people just brought in, but we also have works by local artists that have been donated for this fundraiser. So it’s a mix of prints and originals,” said Jessica Stuckmayer said, art director for the Waseca Art Center. She has paired with Kelly Boeddeker, executive director for Waseca Area Caregiver Services (WACS), for this project.

“This purpose of this program is really to come together with the community … the Hometown Art Show Silent Auction lets people bring in art that they like and they can donate it to give back to our mission,” Boeddeker said.

“I was excited to talk with Jessica, and know that she was more than happy to be a part of what we do. It’s good for the Art Center and is something new for the community.”

One of the pieces up for auction at the Waseca Art Center, made out of strings pulled tight and connected to the canvas with pins. (Ethan Becker/southernminn.com)

Until July 29, the Art Center will be displaying these pieces, and residents will be able to bid on them through that time. At the Art Center, people will have the ability to fill out a form and receive a number, which will allow the bidders to place their bids anonymously. Then, on July 29, the Art Center will host a reception from 5-7 p.m. with food and beverages sponsored by Minnwest Bank, Morgan’s Meat Market, Lush Cakes and the Mill. At the reception, the bidders will have one last chance to place bids on the art, with bidding stopping around 6 p.m., and the winners will be able to take their pieces home.

“The art on the walls, everything is valued by [Jessica]. Most of our biddings start low, either $5, $10 or $15. This is something that we wanted to bring to the community, and this way the silent auction will be something everyone can enjoy and be a part of,” Boeddeker said.

All of the proceeds made from this event will go toward WACS, with the funds being split between an addition of a new wheelchair ramp at their building and general program support.

One of the original paintings up for auction at the Waseca Art Center for their Hometown Art Show Silent Auction. (Ethan Becker/southernminn.com)

“Waseca Area Caregiver Services is for aging adults to live well at home. We offer a variety of different in-home services and programs to people as they age,” Boeddeker said.

According to their website, the programs offered by the service include in home respite, which provides a “short break given to a family caregiver by someone else who provides care to an aging adult with special healthcare needs” and Some Time Away which, a “group program great for the person with mild to moderate memory loss and those who spend most of their time alone. It’s social time for them and a chance to have some time away from home.”

The Waseca Art Center began in 1976 as a traveling showcase of art, and has been serving the Waseca community for the last 45 years. Their mission is to expand the quality of life through artistic expression.

“Our goal really is to help local artists and give them an opportunity to showcase their work,” Stuckmayer said. “We provide programming for people who want to take an art class, or classes for local artists who just want to bounce ideas off of each other.”

Above all else, both organizations see this as a way to help the community and to bring a fun experience that not all local artists get.

“We’re all about community, and we do get a lot of older people coming in,” Stuckmayer said. “Anyway that we can give back as well is just an awesome opportunity.”


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