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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©)

 

Siouxland History in Action, Grand Meadow Heritage Center

8 Apr

I always enjoy visiting small festival in local venues in Siouxland, like the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta. The people who run the festival revel in bringing history to life and sharing the past with current and future generations in the area. Today, some teenagers and youngsters probably have no idea how hard work could be one, to two, centuries ago. Reading about it is not exactly experiencing it.

A man runs a belt driven former steam powered wood saw at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Men work a belt driven former steam powered wood saw at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Having grown up on a farm in the 1960’s and ’70’s with some automation, one could acquire a few blisters while doing chores and other farm activities. At the festival a crew runs a milling operation, cutting lumber from tree trunks and making boards. The saw being powered in the past by a steam operated tractor. This past year it was operated with a newer tractor and again was belt driven.

Men remove a cut piece of lumbar from a belt driven former steam powered wood saw at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Most pieces of wood handled a few times before finding a resting spot with others, and then one more time transported somewhere else for use. And what I find as interesting and grateful for is that people still know how to operate this “ancient” machinery, a few years past the industrial revolution and the settling of a continent with growing populations and an expanding frontier.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Men take a break from working a belt driven former steam powered wood saw at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Two men demontrate using a chainsaw to trim down a tree trunk at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Characters in Siouxland, Grand Meadow Heritage Center

25 Mar

When attending some festivals in Siouxland there are sometimes characters performing roles that make attending more interesting. At the Grand Meadow Heritage Center Festival there are some fellows and gals that portray characters out of the “Old West” who are the Western Iowa Border Agents, a western action shooting group that dress in historical clothing and try to authentically reenact scenarios that would have occurred in an earlier century.

Two men dressed in western gear and members of the Western Iowa Border Agents who participate in western action shootouts leave a blacksmith demonstration at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Members of the Western Iowa Border Agents western action shootout group relax before putting on their show at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

They provide interest in those attending and a contrast with how people are currently dressed, or have dressed since the 20th century began. Then are those who are very genuine and are who they are as individuals. People such as a person being a black smith, portraying the character yet also being an actual individual who does some smithy work in their “real” lives.

A blacksmithy checks out some recent work he did at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And others going about their lives, primarily living an outdoor life most likely associated with agriculture. My dad used to dress like a farmer 98.5% of the time. Clothes he was comfortable working in and in a way defined him as clothes also define others.

A vendor or volunteer giving out slices of watermelon at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A man sits and watches during the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It will be interesting to see down the road how Goth’s and hipsters and others are remembered and a shift of how people dress that will occur in the future. Trends change, recycle and change again. For me it’s simply people watching and enjoying seeing real individuals, as well as those who portray another era, reminding us at times where we have been before rejoining the modern day race.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Celebrating a Siouxland Christmas at the Pioneer Village, Le Mars

24 Dec

I make an effort every year to attend the Lighted Parade held in Le Mars but sometimes fate just doesn’t allow it to happen. This year I acquired a stomach bug which dampened my enthusiasm and ability to attend. One of the side benefits of attending the parade is to then head over to the Christmas at Pioneer Village located at the Plymouth County Fairground in Le Mars where it is outfitted with lights, kids can visit Santa and there are wagon rides, decorated trees and a Round Barn filled with everything Christmas one can imagine.

People through a decorated Christmas scene at Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 in Le Mars, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Families take pictures of their children sitting on Santa’s lap at Christmas at Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 in Le Mars, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

People clambor off and others wait to get on for a wagon ride during the Christmas at Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 in Le Mars, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

While it is true that Christmas is not everyone’s favorite holiday for various reasons, it’s nice to believe people are thinking about happier occasions in getting together with family or friends and stepping away, if possible, from the daily happenings in life, if only for a short while. The festive lights, various decorations and other accoutrements are a nice diversion. And I personally enjoy them even when ill from some bug.

An assortment of Christmas decorations can be found in the Round Barn during the Christmas at Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 in Le Mars, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A couple checks out an illuminated Christmas tree in the Round Barn at Christmas at Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 in Le Mars, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And it’s nice to see a community help its residents and area guests celebrate the season and forget some cares for an hour or two and think happier times.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sprucing up for Christmas in Siouxland, Small Towns

22 Dec

I find it fun driving around Siouxland during a holiday season like Christmas and seeing what a community has done to spruce itself up to celebrate. Like in Anthon where a decorated Christmas tree sits in the thoroughfare going through the downtown area.

A Christmas tree sits at the end of downtown and across from City Hall in Anthon, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Different communities do similar and slightly different things for its residents. Almost all communities hang decorations on light poles as others have lights to brighten the overnight.

Holiday decorations light the early evening in Akron, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A Christmas ornament on display in Mapleton, Iowa Tuesday Nov. 28, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And while not taking an unscientific poll, I would guess most if not all residents approve of the decorations and may even help to celebrate Christmas like a business in the downtown area of Correctionville.

Holiday Christmas decorations in store windows in Correctionville, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And while the area really hasn’t gotten its first dusting or heavy snowfall yet, one can almost bet that it’s on its way and will just add to the Christmas spirit, until the shovel comes out for a little snow removal.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Celebrating Christmas in Siouxland, Akron

16 Dec

No matter the place, large or small, or the person, adult or child, Christmas is just a joyous occasion in Siouxland. And Akron has started its own tradition hosting a third annual Chamber visit by Santa Claus who kicked off the event with a tree lighting and had children anticipating telling him what they wanted this year to find under their own Christmas tree.

Santa and Mrs. Claus light up the Christmas tree during their visit during the third annual Akron Area Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Christmas in Akron, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Parents take snap shots of their children with Santa and Mrs. Claus while others peek as they wait their turn during the third annual Akron Area Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Christmas in Akron, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Smaller communities invest their time in celebrating holidays for its residents. Santa arrived in style in a fire truck. The library hosted a Santa and Mrs. Claus greet and meet with the children and downtown businesses opened their doors and served treats and hot chocolate. The downtown area was dressed to the nines.

Downtown Akron decorated in a festive holiday mood for the third annual Akron Area Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Christmas in Akron, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Lights and decorations make downtown Akron a festive place during the third annual Akron Area Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Christmas in Akron, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Even if only for a couple of hours, cares and worries are replaced with celebration and anticipation. One joyful fulfillment so far for me is that I can attend these events without driving through any snow, yet. But it’s coming. Maybe Christmas Eve, or possibly sooner, but a Siouxland Christmas doesn’t generally go by without some cold and snow.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

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