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Orth Award winners are father-son duo at Woodbury Days

Woodbury Days is a family affair for Bert and Ted Swanson.

The father and son duo have been volunteering together at the Taste of Woodbury event during the three-day festival for nearly 10 years.

Ted and Bert aren’t the only Swansons who can be found at Woodbury Days however, Ted’s wife Kim, who is on the Woodbury Days executive board, is the organizer of the event. Their children also pitch in during the event.

“We do the Taste as a family,” Ted said.

Bert’s and Ted’s dedication to the Taste of Woodbury was awarded the 2012 Orth Award, which recognizes exceptional volunteers from the previous year’s Woodbury Days. The award is named in honor of the late Greg Orth, the former police chief and Washington County commissioner who played a major role in the city’s annual festival.

Even though both Bert and Ted said they are honored to receive the award, they both agree that the other deserves it more.

 “I work on the sidelines, so I didn’t expect it,” Bert said. “(Ted) deserves it a lot more than I do – he puts in a lot of time all year round.”

“My dad works hard out there every year and helps us out,” Ted said. “He’s one of the hardest working guys out there.”

Ted said he started helping out at Woodbury Days as a way to lend a helping hand to his wife.

Bert, who lives in Grand Rapids, Minn., came into the picture to help out his son and daughter-in-law.

“I knew Ted had a lot of work to do,” he said. “I decided he could use some help.”

Father and son said they help out wherever they are needed during the Taste of Woodbury, whether that is hauling trash, helping keep things clean and everything in between.

“We pretty much take care of anything that the Taste needs,” Ted said.

Woodbury Days kicks off for Bert and Ted Thursday night where they spend a few hours getting things set up.

Friday and Saturday are full days for Bert and Ted since the two are typically at the event from 8 a.m. until around 10 p.m. both days.

Sunday is an easier day since it’s a lot of cleanup.

“The days are plenty long,” Ted said, “but, it’s once a year and we get through it – we work hard.”

It’s not all hard work for Ted and Bert though; they both said they love the atmosphere at Woodbury Days because they get to see a lot of old friends.

“It’s just fun working with the people,” Bert said.

Plus, working at the Taste of Woodbury has its perks also.

“We get to do a little bit of (food sampling),” Ted said.

Both Ted and Bert said they are looking forward to making this year’s Taste of Woodbury, and Woodbury Days, as great as it can be.

“I compare Woodbury Days to a mini Minnesota State Fair,” Bert said. “There’s good food, good entertainment, good vendors and it’s just a great family affair.”

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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