It’s been 87 years since Ardis Just’s first Kid Day

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Ardis (Plackner) Just with her doll buggy. She was in the first Benson Kid Day parade in 1931. She plans to be in the 88th Kid Day parade Saturday.

Ardis (Plackner) Just participated in her first Benson Kid Day parade when she was only four years old – that was 87 years ago and was the city’s very first Kid Day celebration.

Born in 1927, Just’s mother decorated her doll buggy and made an outfit to go with it for the 1931 inaugural Kid Day. In the years that followed, her mother would come up with new designs for her to wear in the parade.

She’s not sure if the photo of her posed with the baby carriage was her first parade entry, but it was somewhere between 1931 and 1933, Just says. “I know there were a couple of them where I wore little pink outfits. One of them, mother had made a doll buggy with a doll in the middle and then made petals out from the face to make it look like a rose,” she recalls.

She continued to participate in the parade every year until she was old enough to be playing in the band. “Of course, I had to march in the band in high school.”

While she has very fond memories of Kid Day she says she would like to see credit going to those who have made it happen over the years – especially the parents.

“My thinking is that I wish there is something I could give kudos to the wonderful, wonderful people that made it possible,” Just said in an interview with the Monitor-News Monday. “I know my mother spent hours working on my little costumes. “Those mothers didn’t have a whole lot to work with back then, she said. “Everything was crepe paper.”

“They should have a shout-out for all the wonderful work the parents put in it so us kids could enjoy the fun we had doing it,” Just said.

She also remembers that nine years later in 1940, she was part of the crowning of the first Kid Day queen. She wasn’t the queen, Just said, but she did ride on the float.

Just became aware of the Benson Kid Day celebration this year when fellow volunteer workers with her at the Willmar Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau showed her a poster for this year’s event. “They handed it me and said, ‘Here, now you get in on it. You go do this.’ I had mentioned to my cohorts that I was working with that I had been in the first Kid Day parade.”

Her brother Don Plackner of Benson said that a car is being decorated for her to ride in this Saturday’s 88th Kid Day parade....


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Pictured:  Ardis (Plackner) Just with her doll buggy. She was in the first Benson Kid Day parade in 1931. She plans to be in the 88th Kid Day parade Saturday.


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