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Celebrating History, 150 years worth in Siouxland, Washta

25 Jul

Recently the small community of Washta celebrated its sesquicentennial or 150 years of being a community. It’s a small community of a little over 200 people who came together and had three days to commemorate its being in existence. I attended the day the small town had a parade and even though the temperatures were hitting high notes that day, people came out to enjoy the festivities and enjoy themselves.

Classic cars lined the downtown street prior to the parade for the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People line up for a box lunch of pulled pork and sides during the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have visited a number of small communities since starting this blog and some after 100 years are faring better than others. With changing times, demographics  and employment, small communities sometimes find it hard to continue. So it’s a blessing and a joy seeing people revel in their community’s existence and enjoy the day. Small town festivities are like no others that one will encounter. During the parade a man yelled out to someone in the parade asking if he still had seen corn to sell. With the current heavy rains, some farmers are having to replant some fields which were drowned out. It’s that kind of atmosphere and closeness that is nice to see. As well as people who probably have lived their entire life there remembering past times as they watched the parade.

An older farmer watches the parade and probably remembers years past during the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A small band plays during the parade at the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With a number of smaller communities losing young people to “big” cities it’s nice to see a slice of Americana that still exists in a small way and for people to still enjoy a slower and more quiet way of life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A grain elevator can be seen in the background during the parade of the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Only in smaller farm communities will children wave at farm implements participating in a parade like the one for the Washta, Iowa sesquicentennial, Saturday July 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A quiet time in Siouxland, Quimby

9 Jul

Living in Siouxland affords one an opportunity to visit small communities and their festivals or celebrations. Although as with anything else, timing is everything.

A downtown street is closed for Quimby’s Watermelon Days’ activities Saturday June 23, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I visited Quimby, a small community of about 300 people, not too long ago when it was celebrating its Watermelon Days. A tasty treat on a hot day. Since Siouxland has been experiencing a lot of rain recently, I checked the forecast and it was possible there might be rain beginning early afternoon. So I visited in the morning. And before getting there had done some due diligence to see what kind of schedule of events there might be.

Residents play a bean bag game during the morning at Quimby’s Watermelon Days Saturday June 23, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Beyond finding some folk tossing bean bags and relaxing, there wasn’t a lot going on mid-morning, and a couple of girls told me that the rides set up downtown probably wouldn’t start until the latter part of the afternoon. Timing is everything and the thought of grabbing some homemade pie from a local booth or a burger soon disappeared from my lunch plans.

Two girls walks through the downtown streets before the Quimby Watermelon Days’ activities start Saturday June 23, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Downtown streets are quiet before the start of Quimby’s Watermelon Days’ activities Saturday June 23, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So it was a quiet morning in a small Iowa town as people enjoyed their weekend and celebrating their community, just a bit later in the day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Carnival rides are quiet before the start of Quimby’s Watermelon Days’ activities Saturday June 23, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating the Fourth of July in Siouxland, Storm Lake

7 Jul

This recent July 4 I visited Storm Lake and its July 4 celebration in Siouxland , at least its parade and a few other activities during the holiday. The small community has become a melting pot of diversity and embraced the many heritages that make up its community.

Thousands of visitors watch the parade and celebrate the Fourth of July in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Becoming a melting pot as a community, a number of nationalities now live and celebrate the Fourth of July in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Everyone was showing his/her patriotic enthusiasm, some a little more than others as one former resident was looking to sell his oil paintings during the holiday gathering along the lake front. Others showed their support through the many flags on floats and dressing in red, white and blue.

Charles Bade, Denver, Co and former Storm Lake resident, dresses the part for celebrating the Fourth of July as he sells oil paintings in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Mascots for a band performing in the parade were decorated in red, white and blue balloons while celebrating the Fourth of July in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Many floats and vehicles participating in the parade were decked out with flags as they celebrate the Fourth of July in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even gathering storm clouds couldn’t deter people from attending and enjoying the parade and other festivities for the day which also included an artist’s row.

Storms clouds started gathering after a parade celebrating the Fourth of July in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

On a very hot and muggy day with a high heat index some people came prepared as they watched the parade and celebrated the Fourth of July in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A tuba player entertains the crowd with various patriotic tunes as they celebrate the Fourth of July in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But with so much white noise going on in this country these days and rhetoric that people use to make us as a nation more divided than united, it was refreshing to see one community come together and share their respective heritage with each other and visitors showing people what actually makes this country a great nation.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Honoring the Birth of a Nation in Siouxland, Rural Plymouth County

3 Jul

A lot of my driving around the backroads of Siouxland is done in anticipation that I will find something surprising and not previously seen by me. Although many of the places I visit I am certain are frequented by those living nearby.

I came across a small, well kept cemetery recently that I don’t recall visiting in the past. In the country it was quiet. Not even passing traffic disturbed the quiet. Seeing one grave in particular it made me think of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday that America celebrates, as do all countries when it comes to their birth and becoming the nation they are today.

A remembrance of a person who served his country in rural Plymouth County, Iowa Tuesday June 26, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fourth of July celebrations for most communities involve parades, backyard cookouts and fireworks. Two out of the three are noisy but fun and delightful. Children these days live for parades and the free candy generally tossed their way by those on participating floats.

So it was this quiet and solitude, a salute to a person who served their country that resonated. No distractions, no noise, just a thoughtful embrace of those who came before.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

A dove finds a quiet spot to rest in rural Plymouth County, Iowa Tuesday June 26, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summertime and finding fun in and around Siouxland, Omaha, NE

29 Jun

On an earlier outing this summer south of Siouxland traveling down to Omaha, NE I came across a street fair that has been a recurring event there, Summerfest. Sioux City where I live also has an arts festival, generally occurring in early September. As I walked about it also happened to be an extremely hot day, but that didn’t seem to deter people from checking out what was there.

Artists stalls line a street at the Summer Fest arts festival in downtown Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A family poses for a street artist during the Summer Fest arts festival in downtown Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I found myself more interested in the canal flowing into the downtown area, maybe because it was shaded and I had already spent a good part of the day visiting the Lauritzen Gardens.

The Summer Fest arts festival borders a canal located near downtown Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A duck quietly sits in a canal that parallels Summer Fest arts festival in downtown Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

However it didn’t escape my notice that a couple of guys demonstrating black smith technique were taking a break working in the heat and putting their portable furnace to a different use, getting in a bit of lunch.

 

Workers demonstrating black smith techniques take a break during the Summer Fest arts festival to grill some lunch in downtown Omaha, NE Saturday June 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

That is the nice thing about traveling, even just down the road, one can always find something new, to oneself, and enjoy the day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Revving up for Summer in Siouxland, Le Mars

17 Jun

As a kid growing up in the Midwest and on a farm, I never got into the fast cars or muscle cars phenomenon that friends of mine did. And I do enjoy looking at someone else’s passion and know-how in creating some of these machines. And to keep them running all these years as so much now seems more computer chip powered as mechanically powered.

A variety of cars appear at a car show at Bob’s Drive-Inn in Le Mars, Iowa at the start of the Ice Cream Days Wednesday June 13, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Le Mars Ice Cream Days kicked off recently and people turned out for a car show at a local drive-inn eatery. The fun lasted for only a short time as a rain storm was pushing into the area and many people didn’t look prepared in getting wet.

A woman keeps her umbrella handy as rain begins to shower on a car show at Bob’s Drive-Inn in Le Mars, Iowa for the start of the Ice Cream Days Wednesday June 13, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Some vintage and other muscle cars populate a car show at Bob’s Drive-Inn in Le Mars, Iowa at the start of the Ice Cream Days Wednesday June 13, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I myself didn’t exactly dress for rain and so as the storm neared, I made a few photos and then retreated to my own vehicle to avoid melting in the soon to be downpour. I kind of wondered about one of the car owners who drove a roadster that had no top. It certainly was going to be a damp evening, but whether (weather) or not it dampened his enthusiasm I don’t know.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Bob’s Drive-Inn in Le Mars, Iowa is a popular spot for car shows, especially ones involving vintage and muscle cars for the start of the Ice Cream Days Wednesday June 13, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People walk a short stretch on a major thorough fare that has been blocked off for a car show at Bob’s Drive-Inn in Le Mars, Iowa at the start of the Ice Cream Days Wednesday June 13, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Tulips and Ancestry in Siouxland, Orange City’s Tulip Festival

1 Jun

I always my visits to the Tulip Festival in Siouxland located in Orange City each year. It’s a nice family event that also has families involved from the community as they work together to welcome visitors and share their love of their Dutch ancestry.

Participants wear a wide variety of costuming representing different areas and cultures of the Netherlands during the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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©)

Before the street cleaning which takes place and a parade of regional dress specific to the Netherlands, a group of singers, The Fiesten Zangers or bicycle singers ride up and down the main downtown street stopping to share a few songs in Dutch and welcoming those attending the festival.

Some of the Fietsen Zangers, or bicycle singers, “rides” are deocrated as they perform a capella for visitors during the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Fietsen Zangers, or bicycle singers, wait to perform a capella for visitors during the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s a nice way to spend the day, especially if the weather is nice enjoying a community celebration and food and the spirit of a small town.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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©)

 

Parade participants stroll the streets in costume until the start of the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors recrod and photograph the Fietsen Zangers, or bicycle singers, who perform a capella for visitors during the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Fietsen Zangers, or bicycle singers, ride down the street to perform a capella during the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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