Schefield, small in population, but big in spirit as town hosts St. Pius Verein CentennialSchefield may have a population of four, but the spirit of community is alive and well. Located 18 miles southeast of Dickinson, Schefield is hosting a centennial gathering of the St. Pius Verein, a social and fraternal organization founded 100 years ago by Germans from Russia settlers.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
Schefield may have a population of four, but the spirit of community is alive and well. Located 18 miles southeast of Dickinson, Schefield is hosting a centennial gathering of the St. Pius Verein, a social and fraternal organization founded 100 years ago by Germans from Russia settlers.
The celebration is Saturday and Sunday, June 23-24, with plans for a parade, vintage tractor pull, music and old-time games.
“We have gotten quite a few inquires and several are from quite a distance,” said Ann Wandler, St. Pius financial secretary. “We don’t know what to expect, maybe between 300 and 400 people. We have borrowed tents and weather-permitting, most everything will be outside.”
Wandler, who lives in the original parish rectory, moved to Schefield from Wyoming in the 1970s. Retired, she keeps busy with Verein activities, from keeping the books, to upkeep of the hall and serving during social gatherings.
“If you come out to Schefield, you will see our pride in everything,” she said. “We’re trying to get everything all cleaned up and ready.”
St. Pius Verein has 440 members, insured and social. Whenever there is a death, members contribute $1 toward the death benefit.
“This was the way it was 100 years ago, and I’m sure it meant a lot at the time,” she said. “The membership is dwindling, from its highest point of over 800 members.”
Schefield’s pioneers are buried in the St. Pius Cemetery. The cemetery’s focal point is a replica of the church built by Nick Olheiser, a church bell and memorials dedicated to the school and veterans.
“We did a history book on our 90th, and that will be fun reading,” Wandler said.
Wandler is making a float for the parade that starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 24.
“My dad had a sheep-herder’s covered wagon,” she said. “I’m fixing it up to be in the parade.”
Committee member Gary Reisenauer is coordinating the parade.
“We’ll have a lot of antique tractors and older cars,” he said. “The theme is ‘Now and Then’ and we might have some new equipment. I think we’ll have quite a few horses.”
Reisenauer is excited but apprehensive about the approaching centennial.
“We don’t know what to expect until it happens,” he said. “Schefield is known for people who like to come and have a good time.”
Reisenauer attended four years of grade school at St. Pius and four years at a country school. After he married, the couple lived in Dickinson until his father retired and they took over the farm.
Registration for the centennial is noon to 1 p.m. June 23 in the St. Pius Verein Hall, followed by games such as a tug-of-war, sack races and three-legged races. The evening concludes with a barbecue and dance.
June 24 begins with Mass at 10 a.m. in the hall, followed by a dinner, the parade at 2 p.m. and a vintage tractor pull at 4 p.m.
“All day long, we’ll have a jam session with local musicians,” Reisenauer said. “We’re going to have a silent auction all day too, with donations from businesses and antiques are coming in.”
The centennial is intended for people who have ties to the community.
“It will be a good time — I’m looking to see a lot of people I haven’t seen since grade school,” Reisenauer said.
For further information, call Wandler at 701-579-5043.