Even as many people prepare for the 64th Annual Whiz Bang Days festival to celebrate the heritage of Robbinsdale, there are some facts about the city and its history festival-goers might not know.
1.) Follow the Bronze Plaques
You can give yourself a historical tour of Robbinsdale -- just follow the bronze plaques. The Robbinsdale Historical Society put up bronze plaques in certain spots throughout the city to describe key buildings and businesses that were there when Robbinsdale first became a city. Some of those locations include 42nd and Broadway, where there used to be an old blacksmith; Sacred Heart Church; and the site of the old Robbinsdale High School at 42nd and Highway 100. There are about 10 plaques total.
"We think that’s it’s a good opportunity for people to learn a little bit about Robbinsdale history in a casual way," says Robbinsdale City Manager Marcia Glick.
2.) The Controversial Captain
The words "Whiz Bang" now embody Robbinsdale’s beloved family festival. However, decades ago, they made conservative residents of Robbinsdale cringe. Captain Billy Fawcett began publishing Captain Billy's Whiz Bang journal in Robbinsdale in 1921. The publication featured stories, jokes and pictures deemed obscene for its time.
"For the 20s and 30s it was racy," says Rollie Heywood from the Robbinsdale Historical Society. "[But] anything that was in there could be on television today."
Captain Billy's Whiz Bang reached readers from all over the country and it even got a mention in the musical, "The Music Man." While it has been out of publication since the 1940s, its legacy is ingrained in pop culture and Robbinsdale's history.
3.) Long-Running City Band
The Robbinsdale City Band is one of the longest running community bands in the state. It was formed in 1906 by about a dozen people, several of whom were from the Grinnell Family of Robbinsdale. Today, the band boasts 75 members. The band is split into the concert band and the marching band and, unlike many city bands, they perform almost all year round.
"We’ve been a very important part of the culture of Robbinsdale," says RCB director Mike Serber. "Back, several years ago, we were famed for our success in the aquatennial parades. We would win championships every year with the marching competitions there. It was always a source of pride for the people of Robbinsdale."
You can catch the Robbinsdale City Band perform during Whiz Bang Days on Saturday, July 14, at Thomas Hollingsworth Park on the north end of Crystal Lake.
July 12, 2012