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Sharing One’s Heritage in Siouxland, Tulip Festival, Orange City

17 Jun

Young boys “clean the streets” and themselves as per tradition during the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have attended the Tulip Festival for many years in Siouxland which occurs over a three-day period. The community of Orange City celebrates its Dutch Heritage with sometimes well over 20,000 visitors in one day. A review of the various areas of the Netherlands are represented by folk in the regalia they wear which depicts what part of the country and the status of the folk wearing the outfits.

While that is educational, one of the better parts in my opinion is the street cleaning. It can never be clean enough.

Boys place water for “cleaning the streets” during the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Boys place water for “cleaning the streets” during the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes it’s a near miss for the young girls who follow with brooms to sweep the street clean during the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The burgermeister or mayor, walks the parade route and then declares it untidy and a “band” of boys appear and begin to pour water onto the streets and each other followed by young and girls and often their mothers sweeping to make the street/parade route presentable for visitors to enjoy the parade.

Young girls and their mothers sweep the water strewn street for the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Young girls and their mothers sweep the water strewn street for the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Young girls and their mothers sweep the water strewn street for the the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When the streets are clean the parade begins and all is right in the world.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Young girls and their mothers sweep the water strewn street for the the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Young girls and their mothers sweep the water strewn street for the the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Attending a Community Celebration near Siouxland, Cinco de Mayo, Omaha, NE

5 Jun

Parade participants dance and perform during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always love a nice parade, even if I need to drive a bit outside of Siouxland to see one. In early May a Cinco de Mayo parade was held in South Omaha celebrating Mexico’s victory of France in a battle that occurred in the 1860’s. According to a history site the celebration, while a minor kind of celebration in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of note for Mexican culture and heritage in the United States.

Parade participants dance and perform during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People line the streets to watch the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Parade participants dance and perform during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And like most parades these days, this one had its own pace to maintain, and also allow various organizations and parade participants a chance to perform and share their culture with those watching. One interesting side note is that candy and other items that are normally tossed with abandoned and the hopes it falls outside of the parade route at those parades I have attended in the past in Siouxland, was forbidden at this parade. Folk with stuff had to actually walk over to those on the sidewalk and hand the candy or items to the people so there would be no issues with kids running into the streets to retrieve the goods. Of many parades I have attended I have seen a few near misses of tires and small children colliding with no one apparently “minding the store” to ensure safety.

It was a nice way to spend a day and to appreciate another culture and heritage of this melting pot we call the United States.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A parade participant reaches for more candy to hand out to children during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two Caballeros ride their horses during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A person holds a Mexican flag during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dressed in costume evoking a historical person parade participants walks during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dressed in costume evoking a historical person a parade participant walks during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Parade participants dance and perform during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Parade participants dance and perform during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

an attendee snaps a camera phone picture during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An area marching band parades in front of carnival at the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Remembering on Memorial Day in Siouxland, Ireton

30 May

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers assist in putting out flags alongside 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Memorial Day in Siouxland is remembered by a large majority of folk. It always seems a bittersweet kind of memory. And with the recent spate of mass murder shootings the remembrance is not going to get any easier.

Originally designed to remember those who had fought during the Civil War, Memorial Day today seems to embrace remembering those who served their country and also for the loved ones who are no longer with us.

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers erected 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers erected 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An organizer for the white cross and flag display explained this was something new this year for the community, in most part sponsored by the American Legion Bertram Post #276. The 197 with crosses represent those veterans buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery who served between WWI to the present.

Community volunteers came out early on a Saturday morning to add the flags to the crosses as well as putting up larger flags that would line a drive into the cemetery. And weather permitting, a service will be held Monday morning.

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers erected 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers assist in putting out flags alongside 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

JIM HUENINK places a flag near a white cross prior to Memorial Day. Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers assist in putting out flags alongside 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Ireton is a small northwest Iowa community with a population approaching 600. Memories in small towns are usually taken seriously by community members. Whether it be a remembrance like Memorial Day or when the high school (if there is one these days, and even if there isn’t anymore) won a state championship in whatever sport. All holidays are somehow noted and shared before folk move on to their own sharing with family and friends for that particular day. A time for thought and a silent prayer that maybe life can be better for those who remain.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Members of the Ireton Cadet Club, under the leadership of the Ireton Christian Reformed church, volunteer to place flags alongside 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present, an event organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers erected 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Counting the Little Birdies in Siouxland, Audubon Christmas Bird Count, Sioux City

27 Dec
Local Loess Hills Audubon chapter member Jerry Probst programs a portable speaker to emit barred owl sounds as he spends the morning participating in the annual Audubon Society Christmas bird count in Stone State Park Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 in Sioux City, IA. The pair didn’t find any owls while out looking. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes one has to have faith that you will find what you seek. Even if you feel you are walking in a dark wilderness and feeling your way, metaphorically speaking. But starting the day before sunrise looking for birds can feel that way. And in the end, one may or may not be successful in the endeavor.

Every Christmas the Audubon Society conducts an annual Christmas bird count where chapters of the Society, like the Loess Hills chapter, throughout the U.S. during a two-week period in December look for whatever species happens to be there and record their findings. These may be birds that are indigenous to the area as well as those migrating to another clime to winter at.

Local Loess Hills Audubon chapter member Jerry Probst places a portable speaker in some brush to emit barred owl sounds as he spends the morning participating in the annual Audubon Society Christmas bird count in Stone State Park Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 in Sioux City, IA. The pair didn’t find any owls while out looking. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

City lights from Sioux City is seen past the dark trees before sunrise as local Loess Hills Audubon chapter members Jerry Probst and Warren Dunkle spend the morning looking for barred owls for the annual Audubon Society Christmas bird count in Stone State Park Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 in Sioux City, IA. The pair didn’t find any owls while out looking. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was difficult photographing this bird count which I previously had done, but then it was later in the day and I actually had light to be able to accomplish the task. But two Audubon Loess Hills chapter members Jerry Probst and Warren Dunkle were looking for owls. At least they were “looking” to hear owls at Stone State Park and had brought along a small portable speaker to start a dialogue with these elusive creatures.

And one never really knows what you might find go bump in the night (dark) or, literally, stumble upon as the pair made their way along one of the roadways in the park.

A woman walking her dog in total darkness called out as she saw the red light the two used to check their footing and avoid fallen limbs that littered the roadway due to recent storm activity that brought some F1 tornado activity throughout Iowa and not that far from Sioux City, damaging buildings and downing trees and limbs.

A woman walks her dog in Stone State Park as local Loess Hills Audubon chapter members Jerry Probst and Warren Dunkle spend the morning looking for barred owls for the annual Audubon Society Christmas bird count in the park Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 in Sioux City, IA. The pair didn’t find any owls while out looking. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A woman walks her dog in Stone State Park as local Loess Hills Audubon chapter members Jerry Probst and Warren Dunkle spend the morning looking for barred owls for the annual Audubon Society Christmas bird count in the park Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 in Sioux City, IA. The pair didn’t find any owls while out looking. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

She seemed genuinely surprised that other folk were out so early in the morning walking trails in the park, as were Probst and Dunkle. But then not many folk probably venture into the park in total darkness. And try as they may to get whatever owls might be around to respond to the calls made, not a sound could be heard, not even a “Merry Christmas to all and to all a Goodnight” from these furry creatures.

But with the recent weather activity with the recent warming periods and then dip into cold, it seems even these creatures have had to learn to adjust their formerly normal activity that might also include a new normal. But as an annual event, the bird counting folk can always look forward to next year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Local Loess Hills Audubon chapter members Warren Dunkle, right, moving to stay warm, as he and Jerry Probst and spend the morning looking for barred owls for the annual Audubon Society Christmas bird count in Stone State Park Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 in Sioux City, IA. The pair didn’t find any owls while out looking. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Local Loess Hills Audubon chapter members Jerry Probst said he’s been involved in the Audubon Christmas bird count for over 20 years as he spends the morning looking for barred owls for the annual Audubon Society Christmas bird count in Stone State Park Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 in Sioux City, IA. The pair didn’t find any owls while out looking. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Local Loess Hills Audubon chapter member Warren Dunkle says he mostly is a second pair of eyes as he spends the morning looking for barred owls for the annual Audubon Society Christmas bird count in Stone State Park Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 in Sioux City, IA. The pair didn’t find any owls while out looking. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bah, Humbug and Dance in Siouxland, Old Dominion Dance group, Omaha, NE

23 Dec
A mix of ages attend the Old Dominion Dance Fezziwig Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always fun attending various events in and around Siouxland, whether during the holidays or not. To see like-minded folk enjoying themselves and supporting something is always good. The Old Dominion Dance group of Omaha, NE again sponsored a Fezziwg Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens. Attending this year it was nice to see a larger mix of ages, and folk “dressing” for the occasion of an 18th century period.

People dance during the Old Dominion Dance Fezziwig Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A group circle dance is performed by folk attending the Old Dominion Dance Fezziwig Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A dance caller walks people through a particular dance sequence during the Old Dominion Dance Fezziwig Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Having participated in a folk dance group while in college, I always find it fun and enjoyable to see people relive history through some particular form. Most times it is theatre or music, but dance as I learned in college was happening during some very important historical dates and never really gave it much though until a college professor pointed out those facts. History can be illuminating as well as fun.

The dance group always performs a portion of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” involving Ebenezer Scrooge’s fond memory of the Fezziwg dance he attended as a younger man and before life’s intervening circumstances changed his path. The actors for this evening’s portion rehearsed ahead of time although I think after year’s of practice they have their parts down cold. One of these years I will have to stay for the entire evening. But an early morning appointment for bird watching the next day didn’t allow me.

I don’t know if there was any offering of mulled wine but the dance revelers probably didn’t need it to give their spirits a lift. Although, maybe later as the temperature dropped and the prairie breeze picked up.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A gentleman gets makeup as he readies to play the ghost Marley during the Old Dominion Dance Fezziwig Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A dance caller walks people through a particular dance sequence during the Old Dominion Dance Fezziwig Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some people dance while others opt out until the next one during the Old Dominion Dance Fezziwig Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Young people the Old Dominion Dance Fezziwig Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Young people the Old Dominion Dance Fezziwig Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People enjoy themselves while dancing during the Old Dominion Dance Fezziwig Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People enjoy themselves while waiting for the next dance to start during the Old Dominion Dance Fezziwig Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People enjoy themselves while dancing during the Old Dominion Dance Fezziwig Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People enjoy themselves while dancing during the Old Dominion Dance Fezziwig Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The “ghost” of Bob Marley watches others dance during the Old Dominion Dance Fezziwig Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating the Christmas Holiday in Siouxland, Sioux City

21 Dec
Folk inspect the decorated Christmas trees at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like many communities, Sioux City has a number of festivities that celebrates the Christmas holiday and season. One of which is the Festival of Trees, with decorated trees that are then available through a private bidding auction which helps support one chosen charity or organization that particular year. Various organizations and people decorate their tree and they are available for viewing for a week or so until the bidding process ends and people who win can pick up their very own Christmas tree for the holiday.

Folk inspect the decorated Christmas trees at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Folk inspect the decorated Christmas trees at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But during the first evening while the parade of lights is happening outside, folk who wander into the Ho Chunk Centre are also entertained. A local church bell choir, Grace United Methodist Church, perform a few numbers that is always amazing to hear. All the more I think because the bells always seem to be perfectly tuned. Making me wonder how exactly can bells be tuned.

The 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Grace United Methodist Church bellringers performing at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Grace United Methodist Church bellringers performing at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And then to top off the evening, a local dance group performs various numbers or routines to renditions of holiday Christmas songs. Mostly jazzy version that matches the energy of the young dancers. Cute as they are, the younger ones making the best of it while not always hitting the mark or executing their cue. But no one cares. It’s a fun performance for the beginning of the holiday season and gets people into the mood for the season with a reason.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Children set up to perform their dance at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Parents record their children performing at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Parents record their children performing at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Last Ride in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

5 Nov
Enjoying a summer’s day on a hayrack ride during the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Growing up on a farm when I did I was lucky enough to experience the “coming future” but still see some of the past as a youngster. In Siouxland various places celebrate the past and its history like the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve. In agricultural communities where I grew up it was no big deal for there to be hayrack rides for various reasons connected to all sorts of events. Something for from the city enjoy as much without knowing the heat, humidity and sweat that went along with baling hay. But this is a different kind of hayrack ride and it celebrated the Homestead’s fall festival which also included a threshing demonstration partially showing what it was like to harvest an oat crop.

A volunteer explains a bit of the history of the hayrack ride to those heading out during the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People enjoy a hayrack ride during the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is nothing quite like riding a hayrack in early evening, with dusk coming on, the smell of a distant bonfire and hearing friends laughing and telling stories. A different childhood that most might encounter but as with anything, pluses and minuses, good or bad, depending on a point of view and whether one wants to embrace it or not.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Plenty of acreage for a hayrack ride during the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Chipping in, in Siouxland, Fall Festival Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

18 Oct
A family poses with cow chips at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In recent weeks the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in Siouxland celebrated its 24th anniversary as a state preserve. And the park, as it does every year, hosted a fall festival. One of the activities that always draws a crowd is the cow pie chip throwing contest. Having grown up on a farm and done my fair share of “tossing” cow chips with a shovel while cleaning out a barn I am always amazed at folk wanting to participate.

One participant tries her luck at the cow ship throwing contest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People line up to participate and watch the cow chip throwing contest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Not to be outdone by the Olympics, volunteers with the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve measure the distance cow chips were thrown at the fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A cow chip “lady” retrieves previously thrown chips so more folk can participate during the cow chip throwing contest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I noticed throughout the contest that there was no personal hand sanitizer available for participants and those volunteers who were retrieving the chips for other throwers. The nice thing about chips though is that the odor normally associated with cow pies was not noticeable. Small blessings.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Giving it a fling, brings smiles to some folk watching the cow chip throwing contest at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing History Re-enacted in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

8 Oct
A volunteer tosses oats into a conveyor during a threshing demonstration at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall is arriving in Siouxland as it is in other places. The leaves on trees are beginning to change, slowly, although it is still unseasonably hot making one think that maybe the leaves will not be so colorful this year due to a drought, lack of rain, and changing temperature scheme that is needed to make the change.

But unlike the unpredictable weather, there are certain perennial activities that take place, like the Fall Festival at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve. One of the annual offerings is a look at how harvesting was done a couple centuries ago. Although not using horses for the demonstration, the use of an older threshing machine and seeing how it functions gives people an idea that technology has indeed advanced much further beyond this equipment.

A volunteer prepares for a threshing demonstration during the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Making them shine before a threshing demonstration during the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A grandfather and grandson watch a threshing demonstration during the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Today large combines run through fields comprised of hundreds if not thousands of acres of planted crops. There is still manual labor involved but not as much as was needed in an earlier century. When farming operations consisted of maybe 200-300 acres along with some cows, pigs and chickens and horses that were used for earlier farming later replaced by tractors.

Science and technology has made farming easier and more precise, but like in a lot of things, it’s always good to know where one came from to understand how one got to the current place today and what might be expected in the future. Farming still depends on hard work and luck though, as weather conditions play an important part whether crops can be planted and then harvested without any devastating storms or conditions that can cost a small farmer a fortune because of no return on the investment for planting and harvesting, and who has little cushion unlike large conglomerate farming operations.

History can be a good teacher and give some insights into the past if one only takes the time.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Possibly reliving thoughts of his own youth and participating in threshing bees that occurred during another century among farmers in the Midwest while watching a threshing demonstration during the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A volunteer monitors the tractor and the speed of the threshing machine during a demonstration at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Chaff exits a threshing machine separating the oats from the stems during a threshing demonstration during the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve fall festival day in North Sioux City, SD Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Affirming One’s Faith in Siouxland, Pilgrimage of the Cross, Sioux Rapids

8 Sep
Fr. Doug Klein, pastor of Christ the King church in Sioux Center, Iowa (of the Sioux City Diocese) before the start of the day’s 24 miles of a 100 mile pilgrimage, Thursday, July 29, 2021 leaving from Sioux Rapids, Iowa. They carry the corpus from the Sacred Heart Church of Laurens, Iowa. With fewer priests available in the diocese to oversee services and duties and diminishing number of members attending the outlying parish churches, the Ministry 2025 Pastoral Plan called for creating a number of cluster parishes to serve the faithful. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fr. Doug Klein, center, pastor of Christ the King church in Sioux Center, Iowa (of the Sioux City Diocese) says a prayer with parish members Dave Klein, Janet Klein, Vickie Ryan, Robyn Van Venrooij and Maria Cartelan before beginning their 24-mile walk of a 100 mile pilgrimage Thursday, July 29, 2021 through rural Buena Vista county at St. Josephs’s Church in Sioux Rapids, Iowa. With the newly constructed Christ the King church completed, the 5-day parish pilgrimage began in Mallard and will end in Sioux Center. Fr. Klein gathered various sacrosanct items from each church in the parish, such as the corpus from Sacred Heart Church of Laurens, seen on the cross, to be used at the newly constructed parish church. They will carry the corpus from the Sacred Heart Church of Laurens, Iowa. With fewer priests available in the diocese to oversee services and duties and diminishing number of members attending the outlying parish churches, the Ministry 2025 Pastoral Plan called for creating a number of cluster parishes to serve the faithful. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The faith landscape of Siouxland as of other places across the U.S. has been changing in the last few years. While many folk continue to say they are believers in Jesus Christ and an afterlife, the attendance to formal institutions has been dwindling, not only for the Catholic faith, but Protestants, Methodists and other established religious orders. All have had their troubles with problematic faith leaders erring in their own lives and causing pain amongst the faithful.

The Diocese of Sioux City (Iowa) has been readjusting its “deployment” of personnel or priests the last number of years as attendance has dwindled along with men willing to heed the call of God and serve as ordained priests. So the diocese has been consolidating its parishes with one community serving as a hub for an area and is closing some of the smaller, less or least attended churches within its area of coverage.

Which then makes it most remarkable that a new church has been built for the Diocese to minister to the faithful in an area that is predominantly Reformed Dutch. With the closing of some of the smaller communities places of worship the priest for Christ the King church, Fr. Doug Klein, put together a pilgrimage that started and passed through a number of the areas now covered by the new church but will lose its own house of worship. Fr. Klein gathered artifacts from the various communities and made the almost 100 mile walk to the new church along with parishioners to show the commitment to faith and the continuing idea of community in one’s faith.

Gene Bartels drives the tractor as Fr. Doug Klein, pastor of Christ the King church in Sioux Center, Iowa (of the Sioux City Diocese) and parish members Dave Klein, Janet Klein, Vickie Ryan, Paola Rivera and Maria Cartelan leave Sioux Rapids, Iowa to begin their walk of 24 miles of a 100 mile pilgrimage Thursday, July 29, 2021 through rural Buena Vista county. They carry the corpus from the Sacred Heart Church of Laurens, Iowa. With fewer priests available in the diocese to oversee services and duties and diminishing number of members attending the outlying parish churches, the Ministry 2025 Pastoral Plan called for creating a number of cluster parishes to serve the faithful. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Gene Bartels drives the tractor as Fr. Doug Klein, pastor of Christ the King church in Sioux Center, Iowa (of the Sioux City Diocese) and parish members Dave Klein, Janet Klein, Vickie Ryan, Paola Rivera and Maria Cartelan walk 24 miles of a 100 mile pilgrimage Thursday, July 29, 2021 through rural Buena Vista county. They carry the corpus from the Sacred Heart Church of Laurens, Iowa. With fewer priests available in the diocese to oversee services and duties and diminishing number of members attending the outlying parish churches, the Ministry 2025 Pastoral Plan called for creating a number of cluster parishes to serve the faithful. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is debate about the loss of faith in the U.S. and how godless it has become. But it seems the loss of faith is more directed to those overseeing the flock and some of those individuals loss of direction for personal gain or need of power and the feeling of importance, rather than actually ministering to the needy. And any judgement that might come from any for or against the idea of faith, will ultimately be decided on that one day for what some evangelicals call the “end of days”. And for those who truly believe, the only important judgement comes from the Trinity and not a self-appointed judge among the many now living on earth.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Gene Bartels drives the tractor as Fr. Doug Klein, pastor of Christ the King church in Sioux Center, Iowa (of the Sioux City Diocese) and parish members Dave Klein, Janet Klein, Vickie Ryan, Paola Rivera and Maria Cartelan walk 24 miles of a 100 mile pilgrimage Thursday, July 29, 2021 through rural Buena Vista county. They carry the corpus from the Sacred Heart Church of Laurens, Iowa. With fewer priests available in the diocese to oversee services and duties and diminishing number of members attending the outlying parish churches, the Ministry 2025 Pastoral Plan called for creating a number of cluster parishes to serve the faithful. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Gene Bartels drives the tractor as Fr. Doug Klein, pastor of Christ the King church in Sioux Center, Iowa (of the Sioux City Diocese) and parish members Dave Klein, Janet Klein, Vickie Ryan, Paola Rivera and Maria Cartelan walk 24 miles of a 100 mile pilgrimage Thursday, July 29, 2021 through rural Buena Vista county. They carry the corpus from the Sacred Heart Church of Laurens, Iowa. With fewer priests available in the diocese to oversee services and duties and diminishing number of members attending the outlying parish churches, the Ministry 2025 Pastoral Plan called for creating a number of cluster parishes to serve the faithful. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Gene Bartels drives the tractor as Fr. Doug Klein, pastor of Christ the King church in Sioux Center, Iowa (of the Sioux City Diocese) and parish members Dave Klein, Janet Klein, Vickie Ryan, Paola Rivera and Maria Cartelan walk 24 miles of a 100 mile pilgrimage Thursday, July 29, 2021 through rural Buena Vista county. They carry the corpus from the Sacred Heart Church of Laurens, Iowa. With fewer priests available in the diocese to oversee services and duties and diminishing number of members attending the outlying parish churches, the Ministry 2025 Pastoral Plan called for creating a number of cluster parishes to serve the faithful. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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