The Wautoma Rotary Club and Waushara County Chamber of Commerce recently held a T-Shirt Design Contest for the 2019 Freedom Fest. This is the first year these two organizations have teamed up. This year, the winner was Grace Detlor, age 11, from Tri-County School. Pictured with Grace (center) are Darleen Rigden and Dr. TJ Rinaldi.

Wautoma Rotary & Freedom Fest working together to Promote 2019 Festivities

2019 brings a new flare to the July 6 Freedom Fest, organized by the Waushara Area Chamber of Commerce. The recent growth of the Wautoma Rotary Club has brought heightened energy toward more community events. Though the club has supported the Freedom Fest fireworks in the past, this year the club expressed interest in a greater sponsorship as well as in added services towards the fun-filled day.


“Our membership growth in recent years, and specifically since last July, gained recognition from our governing Rotary District. District 6270 places our club in Wautoma 3rd in membership growth out of 54 total clubs reaching all the way from Kenosha in the southeast to us in Wautoma in the northwest, and this includes all the Milwaukee clubs along with the traditionally active suburban clubs,” said 2018-19 Rotary Club President Dr. TJ Rinaldi. “We’re on a roll, and I’m excited that area professionals and business owners want to get involved in Rotary. All the efforts new for this year at Freedom Fest come from new membership. Darleen Rigden from Dairy Queen came aboard with a whirlwind, and all the ideas and leadership on this are coming straight from her. It’s become really fun to see this develop for us. As Jeff Martz becomes Club President in a few weeks, this kind of momentum will continue strong. This is the mark of the kind of group people want to be a part of.”

What Dr. Rinaldi describes is an added food stand along the Wautoma Main Street parade route, and then exclusive vending to follow at the Waushara County Fairgrounds, Wautoma. Before the fireworks, Wautoma Rotary will host a booth making available a commemorative custom designed T-shirt, glow items, party favors, and more. The funds raised by the club will not only support the fireworks, but also the many other efforts which come their way each year.

“Waushara County has need; sometimes it’s sub-stantial and there are other clubs in our area doing a really great job. Groups like Wild Rose Lions, Wautoma Kiwanis, and the Wautoma Masonic Union in particular do big things and I want to call them out. We don’t do lots of big things, actually. What Wautoma Rotary does do that sets us apart is try to honor each and every qualified request that comes. We give at least something to everyone, and the asks are many,” said Dr. Rinaldi. Last year Wautoma Rotary supported nearly 50 different groups with a budget of $8,800; this does not include the efforts of the separate Wautoma Rotary Scholarship Committee which paid out over $4,000 as well.


Anyone curious about the service projects Rotary is involved with, or about how philanthropic support can be multiplied through belonging to a service club is invited to attend one of the club’s weekly meetings each Wednesday at noon, upstairs at Christianos, 200 W. Main Street in Wautoma. The club can also be reached on Facebook or at