The smell of fizzy, sweet anise licorice with a hint of vanilla wafted in the summer air so thick and inviting it was as though one could reach into the sky and grab a frosted mug of root beer. In Taylor, children laughed and played along the well manicured grass, as dog ‘Barq's’ beckoned one and all to the pleasure of a community social.
Root beer floats, summer weather and social gatherings all go hand-in-hand, and Taylor put their own fun twist on the traditional ice cream social at the newly renovated Taylor Opera House on Tuesday afternoon.
Members of the community were able to complete their census, receive complementary root beer floats, and meet the new official leaders that will help run the Taylor community.
“What’s happening with the school park?” and “Do our children have to wear masks this year?” were questions on the minds of many who joined the social in hopes of speaking with their elected and city officials.
The newly elected mayor, Emory Vaagen, Ken Christianson, the president of the newly elected Taylor Park and Recreation Board members, and Kelly Peters, the newly elected superintendent of the Richardton-Taylor school district, were all in attendance to meet with the people of Taylor and answer questions, take suggestions and put a face to a name.
For Vaagen, the ability to socialize with the community was a charming experience that provided him the opportunity to introduce himself to those that may not be familiar with the newly elected official.
“I’m really excited that we were able to have this event,” Vaagen said. “There’s several people in the community that don’t know who I am, and it’s just nice to be here and give the public, and myself, the opportunity to see what their needs are and wants are for me and from the city council.”
For Christianson, the opportunity to mingle with the residents of Taylor provided the Park & Rec Board the chance to take suggestions on how to best improve the city’s park system. The opportunity was a first for Christianson, as the board recently saw its own transition following elections in July.
‘With our board showing our ideas, people are just coming up to us saying, ‘this is a good idea, this is a really good idea, you have to do this,’ that’s where it is truly helping us,” Christianson said. “ Our main goal was just to get the people out and get people to notice us a little bit as the Taylor Park & Rec. Board and give us some ideas.”
With the 2020-21 school year right around the corner for Richardton-Taylor, parents and students were able to have concerns about the coronavirus and what school would look like quelled. Peters shared with residents plans for the upcoming school year and eased concerns.
“It’s part of being up and being part of the community, listening to them, listening to concerns, answering questions for them so they feel safe sending their students back to school,” Peters said. “We want to start, we want to finish. Everything that we’re hearing from the community members is they want to get back to school and the structures and routine of school, get back to face-to-face education and get back to school activities, that’s what we want to do.”
By the end of the social, as the sun set over the western North Dakota horizon, all agreed that the event was a success.