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Little Red Caboose variety show back for second Railroad Days

For the second year in a row the Staples Motley Area Community Foundation is hosting the Little Red Caboose Variety Show to help kick off Railroad Days. The action is set to begin at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 21, at Centennial Auditorium, Staples.
The host for this year’s show will be Ken Thomas, the voice of WJJY’s “The Wake Up Show.” Thomas is a well known celebrity in the area who is also an accomplished musician and very funny part time comedian. The show is being co-produced by Ray Gildow and Curt McIlravy. All proceeds are invested back into the Staples and Motley communities through grants.Last year’s show was a sellout and this year’s show should be just as entertaining and fun. 
“We will have repeat performances and brand new acts that should make for a real exciting mix of talent, said Gildow. “We are still tweaking the program so we can still add a few surprises before our final program is put together. “Last year’s headliner, Jill (Mertens) Baker will be back along with the Little Moran River Band and possibly one more band. Kali Klimek and Jenessa Iverson, a big hit last year, are putting together a new skit and Jamie Carlson and Lisa Jenkins are also making a repeat performance of their musical talents.Nate Mathews will be performing again this year and Erin Gaffaney will be back with her singing.Sophie Roberts is joining the slate of returning artists along with the Wayne Renn band.Some of the new performances this year will feature singers Cody Hanson, fresh off his winning country singing performance at a Clarissa singing contest and Andrew Bates singing and accompanying himself with his guitar.
Lee and Gary Paskewitz will be performing Abbot and Costello’s classic “Who’s on First,” a hilarious skit that they have been doing since they were in high school.Also new to the show this year but not new to music fans in the area will be Dawn and Gary Timbs. The dynamic duo that has been performing in the area for a number of years. This year’s show will feature the singing of co-producer Ray Gildow and a first time appearance for Katie Ziegler, an area singing artist who sings throughout Minnesota.Ken Thomas has enjoyed a 33 year career in radio, and currently works as program director and morning show host on WJJY-FM. He is the longest serving radio DJ in the greater Central Minnesota area.He took a three year break to teach radio broadcasting Central Lakes College-Staples where he proved to be one of the most popular teachers on campus. 
Thomas played in the Swingin’ Sertoman’s band for 20 years, raising over $200,000.00 for charity, and still plays in a couple of bands in the lakes area.  He also volunteers for many different events and causes.  Thomas has been married for 29 years to his wife Kathy, and enjoys spending time with his three children and three grandchildren.Lakeland Public Television is again co-sponsoring the show and will kick off the evening with a preview of the season’s new shows lineup.Tickets may be purchased in Staples and Motley at the Dairy Queen and First International Bank and in Staples at Longbella Drug, Miller True Value and Staples World. Advanced ticket will be available until noon Aug. 21. Tickets will be sold at the door if available.