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Perham's 2008 'Crazy Days' were like good ole' days

With a rock band playing on the roof, the "Keystone Cops" on the streets, and wacky costumes on the sidewalks, Perham promoted "Crazy Days" like the good old days.

This is the first time, in a number of years, that the two days of sidewalk sales were presented more as an event than only a shopping promotion.

"If you missed this one, you missed out," said Chamber Director Dan Schroeder, who said the extra festivities made for a fun, two day event August 8-9.

Winning the Crazy Days costume contest was Lee Omberg, manager of the Thrifty White Drug Store.

The cornerstone was the Keystone Cops, who patrolled the downtown area both days. The zany characters were "arresting" shoppers for various ridiculous offenses, and as a punishment--giving them gifts, courtesy of Perham businesses. The giveaways were part of the "It pays to shop Perham" promotion, in which shoppers were selected randomly to receive gifts..

"Crimes" included:

• laughing at a police officer

• drinking in public, even if it was water or a soft drink

• "moping in a creeping zone"

• one woman was arrested for sitting on a piece of furniture

• another arrest was made for carrying a WalMart bag

The guys in the costumes were Perham Police Reserve volunteers Dale Wright, Jeff Williams, Kenny Wick, and Bob Kinlund. They patrolled the streets on a little scooter and a golf cart--complete with a siren. Wright, a retired downtown merchant, took the lead in reviving Crazy Days with entertainment and festivities.

Meanwhile, the band "Bomb the Day" played in the hot sun--atop the Thrifty White roof for four hours on Saturday.

"This is about the proudest I've ever been of our town and Crazy Days," said Sarah Hayden at the August 12 "Power Hour" meeting. "It was fun, crazy and safe...What town has a band playing on top of the pharmacy?!"

Trumpet player Whitey Schuett roamed the streets and entered storefronts--blaring his trumpet and encouraging customers to shop like crazy.

Many merchants were in the Crazy Days spirit, wearing costumes and bizarre outfits.

Merchants were pleased with the "new" Crazy Days. Traffic was good, though the volume was down in some cases, said retailer Steve Richter.

"It's a little tough with the economy," said Richter, noting that plenty of people attended, but appeared to be buying less.