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Faces in Siouxland, Tulip Festival, Orange City

23 May

As many times as I return to the Tulip Festival in Orange City I am always seeing new and more faces. The entire community is involved in a effort to keep the town’s Dutch Heritage alive  and join in the celebration whether dancing traditional folk pieces, performing in various productions or parading through the streets. One always gets a Midwest welcome from smiling faces and people who genuinely seem to enjoy their 3-day holiday.

Faces of the annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And most of the time entire families are involved in the celebration. I have met and chatted with people that are now adults who remember their childhood participating in children’s activities associated with the parade. And the adults’s parents recall their participation. And now it’s the adult’s children who participate while the adults have moved on to adult enterprises associated with the festival.

Faces of the annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The costumes worn by the residents representing various cultures within the Dutch heritage whether fisherman, cheese makers, farmers, it gives the visitor a glimpse into the past and a little bit of knowledge of where the ancestors of these people hail from. Plus, the food is not bad. And sweets. Did I mention coffee? It’s just a nice day to enjoy a celebration.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Celebrating Dutch History in Siouxland, Orange City

19 May

This weekend is the annual Tulip Festival in Siouxland in Orange City. The small community celebrates its Dutch heritage with locals dressing in costume and performing traditional dancing, street cleaning and a parade of all things Dutch. It’s a three-day celebration. And it’s always fun, even if the weather doesn’t always cooperate. This year it is wet and cool, well maybe cold. Temperatures for some days are expected to be in the low 50’s. Chilly if you can’t wear a coat over your costume. However, for a photographer it gives one the chance to shoot a little differently.

Flowers are part of the parade of costumes exploring traditional Dutch dress of various regions at the annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have been photographing the event for a few years now. And so with a little change in weather it gives me an opportunity to photograph the event a little differently.The overcast sky makes it easier to shoot without harsh shadows and colors seem to pop a bit more, although the tulips seem to be suffering a little with such a cold, wet spring.

A cold wet spring has left blooming tulips a little less spectacular than previous years although a good resting spot for a fly at the annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are so many different facets of the festival that sometimes the choices can kind of keep a person from shooting at all, or not paying enough attention as you flit from scene to scene trying to capture it all.

Town youngsters perform one of several Dutch dances during the annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And this year I spent some time chatting and having coffee inside with a former colleague out of the cool weather which means I need to go back one more day since I missed the parade. But what a nice way to spend a day. Seeing people enjoy themselves despite the inclement weather, and if it’s too cold or wet, there’s always another cup of coffee inside.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Celebrating Christmas in Siouxland, Anthon

7 Jan

While driving about I enjoy visiting smaller communities during the holidays. Many places “deck” themselves out to some extent as much or sometimes more than larger communities. Anthon, Iowa is one such place. A community of not quite 600 people, it dresses itself up which makes the season all the merrier.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Celebrating Christmas near Siouxland, Plattsmouth, NE

9 Dec

 

A lot of Christmas festivities are beginning. Small communities and organizations seem to celebrate the season early, but am guessing they are trying to avoid bad weather and no one showing up, because of bad weather. I have never been to Plattsmouth, NE previous to this year and upon an earlier visit, saw an advertisement about a Christmas on Main, a Victorian celebration of the season with some people dressing the part. This celebration also happens to fall on Small Business Saturday so it’s a nice event with many of the area downtown stores open later than what seems “normal” and giving a push to people to begin to get happy with the Christmas season fast approaching. In one store, a woman in period dress greeted visitors with a chalk board reminder behind her.

Counting down the days to Christmas, a woman greets visitors to a store during the Victorian Christmas on Main, Saturday Nov. 26, 2016, in Plattmouth, INE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Counting down the days to Christmas, a woman greets visitors to a store during the Victorian Christmas on Main, Saturday Nov. 26, 2016, in Plattmouth, INE. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Many stores offered hot chocolate and cider along with too numerous cookies to taste or describe. There was also a petting zoo, Christmas lights everywhere, a street band and carolers and then the lighting of the downtown Christmas tree with more carolers and a number of others joining in. The event was a nice throw back to years past, which may not be true for the community of Plattsmouth, but for me it is a reminder of why small towns have their own charm.

It makes for a nice start of the Christmas holiday season to see so many people getting “into the spirit” and enjoying themselves for one night and being a community.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Christmas Celebration in Siouxland, Sioux City

27 Nov

Christmas celebrations in Siouxland have begun. Small communities and bigger ones are heralding in the Christmas holiday with lighted parades and other seasonal celebrations. As someone mentioned to me recently, to get their celebrations done before the snow flies. Sioux City held its Lighted Parade recently. It was interesting in that, one moment I had gone inside a building to look at decorated Christmas trees that are part of the yearly celebration along with being a fundraiser, and when I came out, the street was populated with people who were not there minutes earlier. Children of course scrambled for tossed candy, a staple of any parade and the parade snaked along an outlying street near downtown. The weather was warmish and pleasant, and the little bit of rain that fell waited until Santa made his appearance and the tree lit before “dampening” everyone’s enthusiasm.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Celebrating Art with a Splash in Siouxland, Sioux City

29 Oct

Early September brought Art Splash again to Siouxland at Riverside Park in Sioux City. A number of artists that are local, regional and others present their expressions for area residents to view and purchase. It is a juried exhibition set in a park setting with an entertainment stage.

Various musical acts perform and the sound wafts over the park area. It’s fun to attend and for collectors a chance to add more items to their walls or gardens and for others a chance to be inspired by what they see. Ceramics, photography, oil and water and pastel paintings, wood working, jewelry, metalurgy, clothing, Art Splash is a plethora of a feast to fill one’s eyes.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

 

Halloween Approaches in Siouxland, Cherokee

27 Oct

Halloween is almost here and children will be out trick and treating with their parents as the eyes loom large at the candy they accumulate and the other “spooky creatures” they see doing the same. On a recent visit to Cherokee, Iowa I saw some decorations in the downtown area as local businesses decorate street corners and store fronts with fall and Halloween decor. Some attempts were made with what seemed more enthusiasm than others. But the attempt was made to decorate the downtown area of this community which is more than can be said for other communities. It was fun to walk and see what was there and to enjoy a ommunity’s celebration of a holiday.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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