Hometown gal who stayed close to her farm roots honored at Pelican Fest

Volunteers Paul and Judy Tabbut, watering the downtown flower planters. Keeping the town beautiful is an “after hours” volunteer activity for Paul and Judy–who will be “Grand Marshall” for the June 29 Pelican Fest parade.

A farm girl from one of the far west outposts of Otter Tail County will be honored as Pelican Fest Grand Marshall for the parade, which will roll at 11 a.m. on June 29. 

Judy (Ohe) Tabbut, a familiar face for decades, thanks to her involvement in numerous facets of Pelican area life, will be waving to the crowds near the front of the procession. Tabbut was honored with the Pelican Rapids PRIDE award by the Chamber of Commerce last fall.  

Growing up on a farm in Trondhjem Township, one of the westernmost townships in the county, Tabbut didn’t stray far from her rural roots. The farm is still in the family, farmed by brother Orland Ohe. As a sidenote, the Ohe home farm is the site of the innovative  Lake Region Electric Cooperative solar and wind power installation, southwest of Pelican Rapids. 

After graduating from Pelican High in 1967, Judy earned her education degree at North Dakota State University.  Her first position out of college was with her hometown school, as a home economics teacher.  She taught 35 years. 

She may be retired from the teaching profession, but  never retired from active participation in the community. Judy was one of the founders and continuing driving forces behind the “Mercantile on Main” cooperative retail store.  She has also been active in the  Chamber and the “Merchants on the Move” retail committee. Many also remember Judy as the “Shake Shack Lady,” operating a milk shake concession wagon for community festivities and dairy events. 

One of her behind the scenes volunteer projects, along with husband Paul, has been watering the decorative flower planters throughout the downtown business district.  By most accounts, the flowers look more brilliant than ever this year.  

In presenting Tabbut the “Pride” award last fall, outgoing Chamber president Paula Waller noted Tabbut was “born and raised in the Pelican area, even teaching in the Pelican school district…This person has helped out at church, volunteered, attended and helped coordinate events…always willing to help and promote Pelican.” 

Tabbut and the “Merchants on the Move” retail committee have been active in the “Old Fashioned Christmas” promotion, among other retail events in the community. 

She is a member of Grace Lutheran Church-Erhard.  

Over the years Judy has also been active in coordinating Red Cross blood drives. 

“It’s easy to have pride in this community, because we have so many great people to work with,” said Tabbut.