Grand Marshals For Labor Day Celebration
When Graettinger opens its 114th Annual Labor Day Celebration this weekend, the Grand Marshals will be a couple who have been active in the community for many years. Jim and Garnet Voigt have been selected to serve as the Grand Marshals for Iowa’s Oldest Continuous Labor Day Celebration. The couple was selected by the Labor Day Committee in recognition of their support and involvement in the community over the years.
Jim was born near Cylinder and moved to Graettinger with his family when he was 10 years of age. He graduated from the Graettinger Community Schools in 1950 and served in the United States Army before being honorably discharged. Garnet was born near Sheldon and attended the Sheldon Community Schools before she attended college.
When Jim returned from military service, he began farming near Graettinger. Garnet moved to Graettinger in 1954 and began a career in education as an elementary teacher. The couple was married in 1956 in Sheldon and settled on a farm south of Graettinger. They are the parents of two children, Dan, who is Sports Editor for The Reporter and The Democrat newspapers in Emmetsburg, and Diann Burright, who is the Associate Director of Counseling Services at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. Her husband John is the manager of the campus bookstore for the Kansas City Kansas Community College.
Jim farmed for many years in the Graettinger area, as well as working road construction and driving semi for many years before retiring. Garnet taught in the Graettinger Community Schools full time and then served as a substitute teacher for many years until her retirement from teaching this past year.
The couple moved into Graettinger four years ago and continues to be involved in the community. They are members of the Graettinger United Methodist Church, where Garnet has served as the church organist for over 40 years. She has played at countless weddings, funerals and special events at church and in the schools and community over the years and taught organ and piano lessons to countless Graettinger youth during that time. Jim has been a member of the Graettinger Community Club for many years and involved in various Labor Day events, including the tractor pulls. He is a member of the PMS Club and the American Legion and serves on the Honor Guard for military funerals and other events.
Jim collects toy tractors and enjoys tinkering and helping out with Fall harvest each year, while Garnet collects pig statues, shopping and raising a variety of houseplants.
So, what is the biggest attraction that Graettinger has to offer?
“I think it has to be the quality of the school,” noted Garnet. “They turn out students who are very well-prepared for college.”
“The school has put a lot of effort into technology and that is a very positive thing” agreed Jim.
There is also agreement that the community has good churches, good people, and good businesses and is just a very friendly place to live.
”We were very surprised when JR Brown came and asked us to be the Grand Marshals,” Jim said. ”It’s an honor that we never expected.”
As the Grand Marshals, the couple will appear at the Labor Day Talent Show and Queen coronation on Sunday evening, and will be honored when they ride in the Labor Day Parade Monday afternoon in a horse-drawn carriage.