Reporting Chris Simon
RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WCCO) — River Falls Days starts Thursday — an event that will be considerably subdued this year in the small community, after such tragedy.
“I think it will be lower-keyed this year. This is a small community and what a terrible thing to have happen. Everybody has kids, and they can relate how this would put a damper on things,” said River Falls resident Stephen Mills.
Under the dark shadows of Tuesdays triple homicide, this tight-knit community is forging ahead with the four-day community-wide celebration, which is highlighted by a Main Street Parade on Friday and carnival all weekend.
Resident Buddy Swenson, having his morning cup of coffee at the local Main Street cafe, said the show will go on.
“Well, it’s going to be in the back of everyone’s minds, overshadowing for some, so I think it won’t be as loud as usual, but we gotta get it done,” he said.
Swenson said his town is very ill affected by the loss of the three Schauffhausen sisters — Amara, Sophie and Cecilia. Their father, 34-year-old Aaron Schauffhausen, is facing charges for their deaths.
“Even when that little autistic boy, Scotty Meyer of Prescott went missing, the entire town rallied to help find him,” Swenson said. “They even closed the cafe in order to send folks out there to look for him — that’s who we are.”
Main Street preparations continue to go on for River Falls Days, with blankets and chairs marking off peoples’ places for the parades and the town putting on its best face, in the shadow of the most diabolical crime it has ever experienced.