MARYSVILLE – Most 100-year-old birthday parties are pretty tame.
Not this one.
The party celebrating Kuhnle’s Tavern’s centennial Aug. 25 was wild, more like Mardi Gras. The colorful Sauerkraut Band set the tone for the day as the partygoers were having way too much fun for early afternoon.
Gloria Phillips, who along with Tanya Buttke purchased the tavern in 2011 from longtime owner JoAnn Kuhnle, said like the once-popular TV show Cheers everybody knows your name there. “There’s not a stranger among them,” she said of the dozens and dozens of folks who packed the mostly standing-room-only bar.
Pioneer Edward Kuhnle started the tavern in 1918 and for a long time it was the hangout for local fishermen. His son Kay and his wife JoAnn kept it in the family for decades. JoAnn owned it after Kay died in 2006. Gloria, 73, has been at the bar for 42 years and Tanya, 58, about 30. The original bar back is still there from the late 1800s.
Gloria said the event was like a family reunion, as some of the customers she hadn’t seen in a few years, but returned just for the celebration. Asked how it felt to see all her friends after so many years, JoAnn replied with a smile, “These aren’t all my friends,” meaning she has many more.