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Bonanzaville Celebrating Pioneer Days with Landmark Church in Disrepair

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A trip to West Fargo this weekend is a trip back in time...

Bonanzaville is celebrating its 56th annual Pioneer Days.

But the old town's landmark church is still in disrepair and the town is now coping without its centerpiece.

William Rostedt/ "General Custer": "It's kind of at the end of the street here and it's kind of the focal point of any pioneer village or any pioneer settlement."

Take if from General Custer... or the history buff beneath the wide-brimmed hat.

For 16 years William Rostedt has played the General and other calvary characters at Bonanzaville's Pioneer Days.

Rostedt: "it's pretty much the way it was."

But aside from the entertainment, food and old-time characters that show up every year, one of Bonanzaville's landmarks is out of commission for Pioneer Days.

Emily Wehlander/ Bonanzaville: "It's hard for them to see the church like this... with it being such a landmark of Bonanzaville.

While Bonanzaville is still looking to replace the historic church... Staff here says the fire garnered a little more attention for the pioneer village.

Wehlander: "People are really sympathetic and are looking for ways to donate and it just shows how important the church was -- is to Bonanzaville still."

The church is still awaiting asbestos screenings before demolition. Meanwhile, the rest of the village is buzzing with thousands of visitors.

Wehlander: "The village just comes to life... that's when you get a chance to come out here and you people dressed up in pioneer clothing... Like I mentioned the demonstratos...just to get out here and see all of those old-time activities being done."

Rostedt: "I'm sure the southern Calvary can handle anything those hostiles can throw at us."

Pioneer Days continues through tomorrow.

It costs 12 dollars for adults and 6 dollars for kids.

You can contribute to a fund for replacing the old Bonanzaville church at any Fargo-Moorhead Bell State Bank location.

Catherine Ross

Catherine joined the WDAY 6 News team as a reporter and photographer in April of 2014 and is honored to bring you stories from around the Red River Valley. She grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis and got her first taste of the news industry during a high school mentorship at Fox 9 in the Twin Cities. Catherine graduated from Emerson College in Boston where she participated in the student-run TV station WEBN and spent a semester in Washington, DC working at Voice of America. Those opportunities gave her a front-row seat to the 2012 Presidential election cycle, reporting at the Iowa Caucuses, Republican National Convention and President Obama’s second inauguration. Now happy to be back closer to family, Catherine enjoys exploring the nature and culture of the upper Midwest. She’s an avid runner, novice foodie and lifelong Twins fan. If you have any story ideas or just want to say hello, Catherine would love to hear from you!

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