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by Don Blegen

As published in the Spring Valley Sun/Argus, October 27, 2010

Front, Homecoming Royalty: Ron Bailey crowns Queen Beverly Brandt. Next to Bev is 1947 Homecoming Queen Mary Jane Olson (in dark letter sweater) who has just passed the crown to Ron.

From L to R: The spectators include Garda Traynor, Marvel Strom, Palmer Lynum, Bernard Voelker, Dick Brooke, Ron Bailey, Mavis Iverson and Marilyn Stuart (both between Ron and Bev), Mary Jane Olson, Gwen Timm, Lucy Neisinger, Brian Traynor and Anita Larson and Betty Geissinger. Also peeking from the background may be Dick Adank, Bryce Vanasse, Howard Peterson, and Marvin Raehsler.

Photo by George Wentland, contributed by Mrs. Lloyd Ellefson

   How did the tradition of homecoming start? According to Wikipedia, the tradition of electing royalty, having spirit rallies (often with bonfires), parades, and dances goes back at least to 1911, when the University of Missouri Tigers played their rivals the Kansas City Jayhawks. The U of M strongly encouraged their alumni to attend the parade, spirit rally bonfire, and the football game. Their efforts were successful, and 10,000 alumni attended the big game, which ended in a hard-fought 3-3 tie.
    By the fall of 1948, the homecoming tradition was well-established in Spring Valley. On a crisp October night, last year's queen, Mary Jane Olson, passed the crown to Ron "Slug" Bailey, who then crowned Beverly "BeBe" Brandt as his queen. A roaring bonfire topped with an outhouse completed the spirit rally activities.
    The following night, Spring Valley played River Falls. It was a squeaker, but Spring Valley won it 13-12.
More Spring Valley and area history available in Doug Blegen's two books: Spring Valley:The Early Years and Spring Valley: Yesteryear Revisited, available at Matt's drug store in Spring Valley.