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Celebrating Memorial Day in Siouxland, Le Mars

12 Jun
DAVE OTT, foreground, and other American Legion Wasmer Post 241 Honor Guard members fire a 21 gun salute as area residents and community members attend the Avenue of Flags Memorial Day program at the Plymouth County Courthouse in Le Mars, Iowa Monday, May 31, 2021 hosted by the city of Le Mars and American Legion Wasmer Post 241. There are currently 1,428 flags posted for the day of celebration and remembrance, all donated by family members of those area and local residents who served in the armed forces, living and deceased. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A member of the Armed Forces salutes during the presentation of the Colors as he and area residents and community members attend the Avenue of Flags Memorial Day program at the Plymouth County Courthouse in Le Mars, Iowa Monday, May 31, 2021 hosted by the city of Le Mars and American Legion Wasmer Post 241. There are currently 1,428 flags posted for the day of celebration and remembrance, all donated by family members of those area and local residents who served in the armed forces, living and deceased. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a number of places one can celebrate Memorial Day in Siouxland, remembering those who have and are serving along with loved ones who have passed on to a better place.

I always enjoy the ceremony in Le Mars, where this year another 40 some flags were added to the Avenue of Flags that dot the Plymouth County Courthouse lawn and this year the boulevards across the street. At one point in the program all of the names belonging to those flags that family members have donated are read. This year that number totaled over 1,400 names.

Dennis Britt’s wife, Joyce, and family donated a flag in his honor at the Avenue of Flags Memorial Day program at the Plymouth County Courthouse in Le Mars, Iowa Monday, May 31, 2021 hosted by the city of Le Mars and American Legion Wasmer Post 241. There are currently 1,428 flags posted for the day of celebration and remembrance, all donated by family members of those area and local residents who served in the armed forces, living and deceased. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
ROCKY BUNJES, of Le Mars, IA, and American Legion Wasmer Post 241 member served in the Army during the Vietnam war. Area residents and community members attend the Avenue of Flags Memorial Day program at the Plymouth County Courthouse in Le Mars, Iowa Monday, May 31, 2021 hosted by the city of Le Mars and American Legion Wasmer Post 241. There are currently 1,428 flags posted for the day of celebration and remembrance, all donated by family members of those area and local residents who served in the armed forces, living and deceased. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Dog tags hang from each flag as area residents and community members attend the Avenue of Flags Memorial Day program at the Plymouth County Courthouse in Le Mars, Iowa Monday, May 31, 2021 hosted by the city of Le Mars and American Legion Wasmer Post 241. There are currently 1,428 flags posted for the day of celebration and remembrance, all donated by family members of those area and local residents who served in the armed forces, living and deceased. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Not as many people attended this year as I have seen in the past. That is understandable. There is still residual dealings with the ongoing pandemic, while circumstances are getting better, a success over this health issue doesn’t seem to be here yet. But those that did attend found a nice day, with moderate temperature and light breeze that made celebrating a bit more joyous that a rainy, overcast and more somber type of day.

Family members and area residents attend the Avenue of Flags Memorial Day program at the Plymouth County Courthouse in Le Mars, Iowa Monday, May 31, 2021 hosted by the city of Le Mars and American Legion Wasmer Post 241. There are currently 1,428 flags posted for the day of celebration and remembrance, all donated by family members of those area and local residents who served in the armed forces, living and deceased. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Flags flutter from a breeze as area residents and community members attend the Avenue of Flags Memorial Day program at the Plymouth County Courthouse in Le Mars, Iowa Monday, May 31, 2021 hosted by the city of Le Mars and American Legion Wasmer Post 241. There are currently 1,428 flags posted for the day of celebration and remembrance, all donated by family members of those area and local residents who served in the armed forces, living and deceased. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Next yearI will probably visit another community during its remembrance. Sad in a way that so many remembrances are held, but good that people take the time out of a “holiday” to remember those who served their country and embraced a challenge when one arose.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

ISAAC JOHNSON of Le Mars, IA, reads a dog tag looking for the flag of his grandfather Jerry Johnson as he and other area residents and community members attend the Avenue of Flags Memorial Day program at the Plymouth County Courthouse in Le Mars, Iowa Monday, May 31, 2021 hosted by the city of Le Mars and American Legion Wasmer Post 241. There are currently 1,428 flags posted for the day of celebration and remembrance, all donated by family members of those area and local residents who served in the armed forces, living and deceased. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Area residents and community members attend the Avenue of Flags Memorial Day program at the Plymouth County Courthouse in Le Mars, Iowa Monday, May 31, 2021 hosted by the city of Le Mars and American Legion Wasmer Post 241. There are currently 1,428 flags posted for the day of celebration and remembrance, all donated by family members of those area and local residents who served in the armed forces, living and deceased. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Heritage in Siouxland, Tulip Festival in Orange City

23 May
Two young parade participants appear tired as thousands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With recent announcements about “life returning to normal” occurring even in Siouxland, the Tulip Festival held annually in Orange City had recently what some are saying is a historic turnout of crowds visiting the festival over its three days of a community celebration.

Thousands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Thousands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Because of a prior engagement I didn’t get to spend as much time wandering about the festival in the town as much as I might have liked. I will admit I was in a very small minority of people wearing a mask, maybe 5-6 others that I saw along the street during the parade the day I attended. Expecting people to be honest about getting vaccinated and no concern for new variants being discovered overseas and now again in the U.S. doesn’t appear to bother folk much.

A family poses for a photo at a tulip bed as thousands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A family takes photos near a tulip bed as thousands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I, like many, look forward to life pre-pandemic, but sometimes I think actions can be a bit premature and previously when caution was thrown to the wind, like the college spring breakers in Florida a year ago that led to a resurgence of the virus throughout the country, I wonder if the tulip festival and other events in various locales is a giant petri dish. I sincerely hope not, but caution can be a prudent thing.

It was nice to see people enjoying themselves and having fun as the weather becomes increasingly summer-like. I too enjoy getting out and visiting places again, but will hope for the best and remain cautiously optimistic.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two festival participants pose for a photographer as housands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A couple takes a keepsake photo near a tulip bed as thousands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Parade participants wait for their float to begin moving as thousands of people gather at the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating History in Siouxland, Old County Courthouse, Sioux Falls, SD

19 Apr
Background history of the Sioux Falls Municipal band is on display in an exhibit in the Old Courthouse Museum downtown Sioux Falls, SD, Friday, January 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

No matter where I might travel in Siouxland, history is always a draw for me, and learning a little bit more about a place or the people. Such was the case again in Sioux Falls at the Old County Courthouse Museum where a display of the history of the municipal band was on display.

A photograph of the Sioux Falls Municipal band is on display in an exhibit in the Old Courthouse Museum downtown Sioux Falls, SD, Friday, January 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
“Uniforms” of the Sioux Falls Municipal band is on display in an exhibit in the Old Courthouse Museum downtown Sioux Falls, SD, Friday, January 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I admit I have never heard this particular band play, even in its current iteration. Many times over the years various “organizations” and groups change. It’s only natural. But I can imagine hearing them play during a summer evening, music wafting out from a bandstand and people relaxed and enjoying a musical treat. It happens every summer in Sioux City when a local group performs 8 Sundays over the summer in a local park.

It is a very nice way to spend an evening, somewhat harkening back to remembrances of a certain era that evokes the play “Our Town“by Thorton Wilder about an imaginary place of innocence during an early Americana period.

Historical displays like this remind people of a snapshot in time about a place and the people. In this case hopefully happy memories to those familiar with the municipal band and a time when their only concern was hearing the music.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A photograph of concert, possibly summer, of the Sioux Falls Municipal band is on display in an exhibit in the Old Courthouse Museum downtown Sioux Falls, SD, Friday, January 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A portrait of an earlier Sioux Falls Municipal Band is on display in an exhibit in the Old Courthouse Museum downtown Sioux Falls, SD, Friday, January 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Some instruments used for the Sioux Falls Municipal band is on display in an exhibit in the Old Courthouse Museum downtown Sioux Falls, SD, Friday, January 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Art in Siouxland, Le Mars Art Center

17 Apr
Friends and others gather at a reception at the Le Mars Arts Center for artists Jane Schultz and Judy Zoeller in Le Mars, Iowa , Saturday, March 27, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always fun to go to a local arts center and enjoy the work of people from the area who share their talent with the community which gives friends and other arts supporters a chance to celebrate them, their talent and to let folk know that art is alive and well locally.

The Le Mars Art Center recently had an opening for artists Jane Schultz and Judy Zoeller, both of whom are watercolorists or painters. Both have been “practicing” their talent for decades and presented some very nice work for others to see with an exhibit running to May.

Friends and others gather at a reception at the Le Mars Arts Center for artists Jane Schultz and Judy Zoeller in Le Mars, Iowa , Saturday, March 27, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Friends and others gather at a reception at the Le Mars Arts Center for artists Jane Schultz and Judy Zoeller in Le Mars, Iowa , Saturday, March 27, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With a redesigned look to the gallery area inside the art center it gives artists a space for their work to “breathe” and allow visitors and patrons a chance to stop and enjoy the work on display, as much as any larger city art gallery or museum. Each place does what it can in the area that is located, and the folk in Le Mars work hard to present quality work and display it.

And everyone needs a break once in a while to just enjoy a scene and step away from the “white noise” and enjoy beauty for what it is and what is might mean to them.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Friends and others gather at a reception at the Le Mars Arts Center for artists Jane Schultz and Judy Zoeller in Le Mars, Iowa , Saturday, March 27, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Friends and others gather at a reception at the Le Mars Arts Center for artists Jane Schultz and Judy Zoeller in Le Mars, Iowa , Saturday, March 27, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Friends and others gather at a reception at the Le Mars Arts Center for artists Jane Schultz and Judy Zoeller in Le Mars, Iowa , Saturday, March 27, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

NAIA 2021 Women’s Division 2 National Basketball Championship Tournament, Sioux City

22 Mar
A University of St. Francis player sports a floral cross on her arm and waits to toss the ball from out of bounds after a foul was called in game action as Campbellsville plays Lewis-Clark State in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, March 19, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sioux City is hosting the NAIA National Women’s Collegiate Division II basketball tournament for 2021 at a local events arena here in Siouxland. An honor the community and area folk have held for a number of years, working hard for visiting schools, athletes and fans, and family to feel welcomed and enjoy a bit of Midwestern hospitality as teams compete for the top honors. The division is made up of the smaller liberal arts and faith-based colleges and universities, but the athleticism and drive to excel and win is none the less present as these young women play to be crowned this year’s winner.

Thomas More plays Dakota State in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sterling plays Dakota State in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Concordia plays Morningside College in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I previously worked for newspapers I shot a lot of sports, ranging from pee wee stick ball, little league, high school and some college. And on occasion I also photographed some professional football games. When you work as a photographer for a newspaper, you shoot some everything. Sports is not my forte. I always felt more at ease covering spot news and shooting features and portraits. Assisting a friend in covering these games I felt a little trepidation as I had not covered for a number of years, only sporadically photographing various events as was necessitated by freelance work.

Capturing fast-paced action in a tight environment, say under the basket where one might find 4-5 bodies vying for a loose ball, or players stopping someone from driving to the basket or shooting a three pointer to score, has always been a challenge. Stopping the action and framing it well is one thing. Then add in tack sharp focus on moving subjects is another. These hell bent for leather young women are not going to stop and pose for a picture, as they have an agenda to win. And they all play hard.

Campbellsville plays Indiana Wesleyan in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Westmont plays Clarke in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
MidAmerica Nazarene plays Clarke in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, March 19, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The first two rounds of action are completed and four teams out of 16 (this year paired down from a 32-field possibility due to COVID-19) are still in play the next couple of days, with the championship game being played this week. It’s been fun being able to photograph such a high level of sports action again and regaining some “sea legs” after so many years of not shooting sports.

All the teams are deserving of being the champion, but that determination is playing out on the court as the teams have good and not so good performances. And then as most fans know if slightly disappointed, there is always next years.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa


Westmont plays Clarke in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Westmont plays Lyon in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Campbellsville plays Indiana Wesleyan in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Concordia plays Morningside College in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Campbellsville plays Lewis-Clark State in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, March 19, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Sterling plays Dakota State in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Thomas More plays Dakota State in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Westmont plays Clarke in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Campbellsville plays Indiana Wesleyan in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Westmont plays Clarke in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
MidAmerica Nazarene plays Clarke in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, March 19, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Thomas More of Kentucky plays Mount Vernon Nazarene of Ohio in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Southeastern plays Indiana Wesleyan in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, March 19, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Sterling plays Dakota State in first round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, March 18, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Campbellsville plays Indiana Wesleyan in the quarterfinals round NAIA Div. 2 women’s basketball tournament at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, March 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Small Town Christmas Celebration in Siouxland, Little Sioux

13 Jan
A lit community Christmas Tree in a city park’s gazebo in Little Sioux, Iowa Monday, Dec. 121, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Christmas has passed. Celebrations are done. But it was nice while driving around during the holiday season to find small communities celebrating the holiday. Most have Christmas ornaments hanging from light posts in the downtown area. But for some small communities, a long tree, decorated, in a central park allows all who visit a moment to enjoy the shared experience by themselves or with others. Until next year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Changing Holiday Celebration in Siouxland, Le Mars

22 Nov
Workers put up Christmas decorations in preparation for a hometown Christmas celebration the weekend after Thanksgiving at the outdoor Olson Cultural Event Center near downtown Le Mars, Iowa Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. The City of Le Mars facebook website states: “DonÕt toss your save-the-date just yet! While we were hoping to start a new tradition this year, the COVID-19 pandemic had different plans. We may not be able to gather in person, but weÕre still planning to bring joy this holiday season.” The city still plans a drive-in screening of the movie “Elf” and a video broadcast of originally scheduled main stage events to be viewed online from residents’ homes. Recently Iowa’s governor reversed course about masking and social distancing as coronavirus cases spike in Iowa after attending pre-election Trump campaign rallies while not wearing a mask or encouraging attendees to social distance. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Christmas celebrations in Siouxland communities are changing this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many holiday celebrations are being cancelled. Le Mars was going to start a new tradition in addition to its usual Lighted parade that passed through downtown. The Christmas Village celebration hosted at the county fair gounds has been cancelled.

Workers put up Christmas decorations in preparation for a hometown Christmas celebration the weekend after Thanksgiving at the outdoor Olson Cultural Event Center near downtown Le Mars, Iowa Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A recently announced proclamation for voluntary masking and social/physical distancing by the state’s governor who previously dismissed such precautions seems to be more urgent as illness and deaths related to the virus continues to rise endangering the area hospitals with patients and COVID-19 related symptoms.

Decorations are being put up around the community but planned performances at a downtown cultural center stage and other activities scheduled for the end of the month have been postponed or will be live streamed virtually to keep people from congregating and thus perpetuating the virus transmission among different groups of people wanting to see the town’s lighting of its Christmas tree or hear performances by local groups.

Workers put up Christmas decorations in preparation for a hometown Christmas celebration the weekend after Thanksgiving at the outdoor Olson Cultural Event Center near downtown Le Mars, Iowa Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This year is certainly been a departure with previous years and decades of what have for many become traditions for many families and communities alike. One only hopes that people realize how much these traditions mean to one another and will help to combat this disease by working together and thinking of their extended family members and friends and other community residents until life regains some sense of a former normalcy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Christmas decorations are seen in preparation for a hometown Christmas celebration the weekend after Thanksgiving in downtown Le Mars, Iowa Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Performance Art Mezmerises in Siouxland, Sioux City

3 Oct

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl watches intensely during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes in life an occurrence happens in a person’s life that may have a profound influence and unbeknownst to them guides them on a path later in life. During a festival in Siouxland recently a young girl stood transfixed as she watches a performance artist dance with a couple of hoola hoops. The young lass stared intensely hardly ever moving her eyes until seeing the dancer so a particular move then looked at her mother to see if she saw.

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl looks back at her mother during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl watches intensely during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I remember as a young child looking at a particular Sunday edition of a Chicago newspaper, transfixed by a page or two of feature images that appeared every week. I can remember sitting in a room in my parent’s house just looking over the images. I can’t remember why I was fascinated or how that fascination came about. But sometimes these unexplained occurrences manifests the results later in life, a necessary spark to start one down a particular road.

I have spent a lifetime photographing events and people for a variety of newspapers I previously worked for, and continue while finding images for this blog. The intensity of sole purpose of the young girl standing so still, watching the street performer makes me speculate that somewhere and sometime in the future seeing this person perform gracefully and appearing to enjoy her work might influence this young lass to pursue her dreams and find a way to fulfill a desire to create, no matter the art form or platform through which she gives voice to a future talent.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl watches intensely during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a National Show in Siouxland, the 153rd American Watercolor Society, Le Mars

22 Jun

Viewing the American Watercolor Society’s 153rd annual travel exhibit at the Le Mars Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, June 13, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s not often that a small town can boast about exhibiting world class works or get the chance to share such work with its community, especially in Siouxland. But the Le Mars Arts Center is currently hosting the 153rd traveling edition of the American Watercolor Society exhibition. Originally scheduled to first be shown in New York City, the show was done virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic and shutdowns in many cities across the country. The show will run through July 31 at the Arts Center.

Viewing the American Watercolor Society’s 153rd annual travel exhibit at the Le Mars Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, June 13, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A member of the Le Mars Art Center talks with people visiting and viewing the American Watercolor Society’s 153rd annual travel exhibit in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, June 13, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Art Center has also recently finished a redesign within its space that provides more room to exhibit art work and gives the interior a more polished feel. Volunteers at the art center were also appropriately attired wearing face masks as they greeted visitors and had extra masks on hand if someone requested one.

Viewing the American Watercolor Society’s 153rd annual travel exhibit at the Le Mars Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, June 13, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some of the artists included are: Suzanne Accetta of Columbus, OH, Ingrid Albrecht of Chicago, IL, Deena Altman of Escondido, CA, Mina Angelos of Plattsburgh, NY, Karen Barnes of Rome, NY. Will Bullas of Carmel Valley, CA, Chung-wei Chien of New Taipei City, Taiwan, Jansen Chow of Petaling Jaya, Malaysia and Junwei Dai of Singaore, Singapore.

Even if one is not exactly a fan of watercolor or art in general, in terms of such an event taking place in the Ice Cream Capital, it is amazing to see the work and the variety of the 40 artists who were selected. And it’s nice that sometimes the little guy does okay for the home team.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visitors viewing the American Watercolor Society’s 153rd annual travel exhibit at the Le Mars Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, June 13, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Missing Celebrations in Siouxland, Orange City Tulip Festival

4 Jun

Cellphones are out recording their favorite dancers during the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This year the sounds of wooden shoes on pavement was quiet in Siouxland as the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the nation. The three-day event generally draws anywhere from 80,000-100,000 visitors the small “Dutch” community estimates.

Children perform a Dutch dance routine during the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Participants in the Orange City, Iowa, Tulip Festival, get buckets of water to prepare for the street cleaning, Thursday, May 16 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The festival is an economic boost to the community as well as a chance to show itself off to visitors and something most residents participate in. Many former residents return to visit family and friends and “relive” their own former participation of the festival.

Young boys “empty” their buckets during the Street Scrubbing at the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A mom juggles taking photos of tulips while holding her child. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) the 80th Annual Orange City, Iowa, Tulip Festival was cancelled this year. Over a 3-day period the community of roughly 6,200 residents sees anywhere from 80,000-100,000 visitors attend a celebration of the community’s Dutch heritage. The cancellation economically impacts the small community. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So this year halfway through the usual festival routine, a few people make their way around tulip beds in the city park to enjoy a bountiful display of the many colored flowers and each hoping that normal returns safely and sooner than later.

A father takes a photo of his son in a Dutch costume in front of a patch of tulips. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) the 80th Annual Orange City, Iowa, Tulip Festival was cancelled this year.  (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An employee of the Woudstra Meat Market poses in her Dutch costume in front of her store. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) the 80th Annual Orange City, Iowa, Tulip Festival was cancelled this year, seen Friday, May 15, 2020. The cancellation economically impacts the small community. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like many communities, Orange City residents will take the cancellation in stride. Some thinking too much was made about the pandemic while others believe it was a smart course of action. With a virus, the unknowns take on a large factor, especially when close to 100,000 “strangers” visit your community was various parts of the country and the world. And one can only hope that next year will bring the return of many community celebrations here and other communities as well.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People check out a working windmill in Windmill Park. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) the 80th Annual Orange City, Iowa, Tulip Festival was cancelled this year.  (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A mother and her sons pose for photographs. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) the 80th Annual Orange City, Iowa, Tulip Festival was cancelled this year. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A young boys seriously checks out a patch of tulips. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) the 80th Annual Orange City, Iowa, Tulip Festival was cancelled this year.  (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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