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Celebrating Christmas displays history, Santa’s Castle, Storm Lake

15 Dec
Santa waits patiently for a young girl to stop crying and talk with him at Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop. Santa’s Castle opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People enter Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, as it opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When it’s Christmas time in Siouxland, a favorite place to visit is Santa’s Castle in Storm Lake. It had been a few years since I was last there and always enjoy it because it’s the kind of place that celebrates the kids in all of us. There are so many various types of animatronics on display collected in the last few decades that are still functioning and brings smiles to all who pass through.

This year the Castle was reorganized and displays apparently were grouped by decades of when they first appeared and people come in the front door and then snake around the area until at last they meet the. Big Guy himself, and kids get to ask their favor of Santa.

Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A large contingent of parents and grandparents with children in tow meander through looking for answers to a handout fact sheet they receive when entering. The various displays are mesmerizing and one could stand more minutes at a time to watch the animation unfolding in front of them. Sadder still, maybe, in that some of these animations I recognized seeing as a child myself. Which I hope I still am in spirit if not in flesh.

A family tries to engage a young boy for a photographer as Santa also tries to coach the boy’s attention Santa at Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop. Santa’s Castle opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa and a young boy try to coach the boy’s sister to talk with Santa at Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop. Santa’s Castle opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Walking through Santa’s Castle is a bit of a sensory overload but in a nice way. In the building’s basement is a large scale model train setup that still captivates and holds everyone’s attention, possibly letting them relive those former childhood memories. Memories one may hope that more folk can enjoy in a positive way and find a continuing of the Christmas spirit through the next year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Children and those young at heart watch a train display as Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop. Santa’s Castle opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa’s Castle Board president Ron Hott, left, talks with electrician Ray Delp, right, about some glitches Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 as Santa’s Castle opens for the holiday season running through Dec. 26 in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An Early Christmas Celebration in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

25 Nov

A young boy gets his photo taken during Christmas at the Homestead at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes Christmas is celebrated a little early in Siouxland as various places and organizations host events and get togethers before the onslaught of family and other activities become overwhelming with too many choices. The Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve held its Christmas at the Homestead which is always early November although this year with the current cold weather that has come early it felt like winter, minus the snow.

Wearing elves hats to get in the mood during Christmas at the Homestead at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Carolers sing in a former church now located on the grounds during Christmas at the Homestead at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is always Santa to greet kids at the welcome center and carolers in the church and activities for children to create crafts in the former one-room school house. And even though it was unseasonably cold this year, many people attended and crisscrossed the grounds to peek inside the various buildings, grab a treat and some hot chocolate getting them in the mood for the upcoming holiday.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A child creates a Christmas ornament with the help of a parent during Christmas at the Homestead at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People line up to take a Christmas photo looking through a cutout during Christmas at the Homestead at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even the sheep are sporting Christmas attire during Christmas at the Homestead at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a photo with the Christmas sheep during Christmas at the Homestead at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A decorated Christmas tree inside Mary Adams house during Christmas at the Homestead at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A line to see Santa next to the Christmas tree in the welcome center during Christmas at the Homestead at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Children making Christmas ornaments in the one-room school house during Christmas at the Homestead at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Making their way to the various buildings for different activities during Christmas at the Homestead at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Christmas lights are strung from the trees are see during Christmas at the Homestead at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some Days are for Clowning Around in Siouxland, Grand Meadow Heritage Days, Washta

26 Oct

Clown Special K launches bubbles into the air at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When visiting the Grand Meadow Heritage Days earlier this fall in Siouxland there were a few artists and others set up to entertain visitors to the museum and enjoying a look back in time at the displays. The clown Special K was creating balloon hats for kids and releasing bubbles into the air. Lots and lots of bubbles. Even though she probably entertained those attending, it would have been nice had more people shown up. Rest assured she went home “squeaky clean”

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Clown Special K launches bubbles into the air at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Clown Special K launches bubbles into the air at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Clown Special K launches bubbles into the air at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Clown Special K with a tool of her trade to launch bubbles into the air at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Clown Special K creates a balloon hat at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Reliving the Old Wild West in Siouxland, Iowa Western Border Agents, Grand Heritage Center, Washta

22 Oct

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While attending the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival Days in Siouxland, in September, I ran into some folk who I previously met and photographed who belong to a black powder gun club, the Western Iowa Border Agents, and do staged Wild West Shootouts at various places they visit. Sometimes parades, sometimes other festivals. I talked with some of the club members a few years ago and asked about their interest in the Old West. Some of the kids then are now grown adults and according to one dad, living on their own as he smiled and looked at his sons.

Visitors to the festival watch as the Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The men’s portrayals and sharing of their interest is no different than those who attend Civil War re-enactments around the country, being involved in a kind of real-world experience of past events.

One of the gentlemen told me he does all of the loading for the rounds fired for the pistols and rifles. But that, like with everything else, costs have risen due to the pandemic and limited supplies, some items have gone from $12.00 per pound beyond $100.00 per pound for material. Which for an enthusiast is a steep cost for a hobby.

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Those that watch enjoy the staged event, a retelling of some of the harsher elements of the Old West where slights and disparaging remarks were settled by gunfire. Sadly those, it mirrors some of the current occurrences that happen today. Someone slights someone at a party and then you read about a person returning with a weapon and shooting someone.

One of the gentlemen told me that a parade event the group has been involved with for many, many years and in which they always did a staged shootout during the parade has been cancelled for a couple of years. Organizers cited the Parkland School shooting event which had happened that year and couldn’t in good conscience allow the stage shooting as people not aware of the staged event could panic believing an actual shooting is taking place. Modern society is not so modern sometimes.

But doing the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival in attendance enjoyed the “show” and everyone walked away and deciding who would hit the dirt the next time as we all like to come out as heroes.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club talks to their cameraman prior to a staged Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Iowa Western Border Agents club stage an Old West shootout event during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A couple chat prior to the Western Iowa Border Agents’ stage shootout event at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Reminiscing About History in Siouxland, Grand Meadow Heritage Festival, Washta

14 Oct

A man pauses at a window while visiting the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always find it fascinating to learn about the history of a place and the people when visiting small town festivals or museums. And I have visited the annual heritage festival a few times over the years. Many local and not local folk visit and reminisce about attending school, now museum, which houses many artifacts from previous decades and even a century or two.

A former school now a museum of history at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Farm implements from a couple of centuries ago on display in the museum during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Farm implements from a couple of centuries ago on display in the museum during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Farm implements from a couple of centuries ago on display in the museum during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Children visiting with parents and grandparents seem especially taken with technology they have never seen or heard of let alone used. And probably after a half day’s use might be very thankful for today’s version. And while it may be eavesdropping, hearing people talk about life in the old days is fascinating and telling, as most never say they went without when they didn’t know what they didn’t have to begin with. Although, most would agree, with all sorts of improved technology, the most favored seems to be the invention of air conditioning.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A scene from a history book that some folk still remember and seen at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Early century technology on display at the museum seen during the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The annual Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Pioneer wagons on display at the Grand Meadow Heritage Center’s 46th Annual Heritage Days festival Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, Washta, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Inspiring Art in Siouxland, Art Splash, Sioux City

28 Sep

Artist Maria Loh creates an image on the sidewalk at Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Artist Maria Loh creates an image on the sidewalk at Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Annually in Siouxland a local Art Center in Sioux City holds an “Art Splash” where juried artists can exhibit their wares or creations along with music and activities for children. Artistic endeavors by various artists range from paintings and photography, jewelry, ceramics, wood carving, textiles and fabrics and more.

Jonathan Metzger and his wife, Allison, work collaboratively to create art at Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Jeremy Hansen poses on a sunny day in front of one of his art pieces at Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Todd does some finish work for his paramour Kiara Linda at Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always fun and educational walking about the many artists, seeing the work they have done and feeling inspired and sometimes lazy as one sees the amount of art and effort that goes into some of the items created, whether two or three dimensional. If tired from walking about one can always grab a bit to eat and listen to whatever entertainment is happening at the time. The 2-day event gives one a chance to explore and for many an opportunity to add to their own individual collections be it for indoor or outdoor settings.

Art inspires as do the artists who create it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sidewalk art created by locals at Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People fill a blocked off downtown street to look at various artists’ booths during Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People fill a blocked off downtown street to look at various artists’ booths during Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Children create art on the sidewalk at Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People fill a blocked off downtown street to look at various artists’ booths during Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Labor Day in Siouxland, Hawarden

26 Sep

An Iowa Army National Guard Honor Flag unit lead as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Labor Day in Siouxland and the rest of the U.S. is the holiday that basically says summer is over and fall is beginning with everything else to follow. It’s the time to celebrate the working men and women that make an economy thrive. Most small towns celebrate Labor Day in one way or another. Hawarden does so each year with a parade.

A grain elevator anchors one end of down town as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The West Sioux High School football team rides in the parade and is a combination of Hawarden, Ireton and Chatsworth communities that consolidated their school resources. Residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Members of the West Sioux High School cheer team rides in the parade and is a combination of Hawarden, Ireton and Chatsworth communities that consolidated their school resources. Residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The small town community celebrates its small town atmosphere. A number of floats contain local town folk, young and older. And the streets are lined from downtown out to a city park with food booths and other entertainment. Probably mild by larger city standards, the parade is enjoyed by the community residents and a chance to relax before life becomes more hectic as schools once again are up and running after the summer break and farmers anticipate their fall crop harvest normally started in October and November, depending on the crop growing season.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sioux County Youth Fair royalty, princess KAIE PLENDL, left, queen OLIVIA FEDDERS, center and Little Miss Sioux County BREA LEUSINK, ride a float as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Always a favorite as small town parades the Abu Bekr Shrine Rat Patrol perform precision driving along the parade route as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A young boys points out the large tractor and grain wagon as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Mariachi band performs along the parade route as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Graduating class members of 1972 from West Sioux High School participate in the parade as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Meeting a Local in Siouxland, up close and personal, Winnebago, NE

22 Sep

A young dancer greets a photographer as other dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographing in and around Siouxland for a couple of decades now I am always pleasantly surprised with some encounters I have with local residents. During a visit to the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska’s 156th Homecoming Celebration a young boy saw me photographing near the circle where the dancers were and unabashedly came up to take a closer look. During my newspaper days I have had such encounters with folk, sometimes very unfriendly folk, and my response has always been the same. Just keep photographing because one never knows how things will turn out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A young dancer greets a local photographer during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A young dancer greets a photographer as other dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating 25 years in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve North Sioux City, SD

12 Sep

Working with quill ink pens is not as easy as it looks seen at the one-room school house during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently a local park in Siouxland celebrated 25 years as a park, or nature preserve, and previously was a working farm. The park consists of roughly 1,500 acres and was donated by the granddaughters of the original homesteader, Stephen Adams. Mary and Maude Adams donated the land in 1984 for people to have a place to go for inner renewal. Part of the park is located along the Missouri River and contains a cottonwood grove and other forested areas as well as prairie meadows both of which are teeming with nature and critters.

A threshing bee demonstration during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Threshing demonstration during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Meeting some of the farm animals during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The park has certainly evolved over this quarter of a century from the homestead , farming and “wild” acreage to a more managed park-like area that still fits the original idea of the granddaughters, but makes it more manageable for park personnel and those that enjoy their time there.

There are now many more manicured walking trails and prairie areas that have been added for the enjoyment of those who venture beyond the homestead. Many bicyclists and runners do, as do some hardy hikers.

Two deer cautiously watch a walker during early morning hours at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday April 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Turkeys on parade at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday April 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What might be a chipping sparrow sits on a log in water looking for insects at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday April 28, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A number of people attended the day’s celebration to support the park and enjoy a nice day. Although predicted to be hot and muggy, clouds moved in and the humidity tamped down making it a more pleasant day. One sometimes can’t ask for more than that.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Hayrack rides during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Kid crafts during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Kids learn candle making during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Mom helps out during a kid’s craft session during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A rope making demonstration during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Park manager Jody Moats and Dave Blaeser during the 25th anniversary of the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebration in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating History and Tradition in Siouxland, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska’s 156th Annual Homecoming Celebration, Winnebago, NE

10 Sep

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One annual event I look forward to while traipsing around Siouxland is the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska’s Homecoming celebration which has been annually celebrated since the tribe’s Chief Little 7Priest and his warriors returned home from serving with the U.S. Calvary in the 1860’s. Since that time many of the tribe’s members have served and continue serving in the U.S. military. And the homecoming celebration honors those veterans current and past.

It is also a time when tribal members and other tribes can “show off” their regalia and dancing skills as many contest are held throughout the 4-day event which is a chance for non native individuals to meet and learn about their Native neighbors. And where members of the various tribes pass on their traditions to their younger children and relations always remembering the reason why they celebrate.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in an intertribal dance during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in an intertribal dance during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebrates its 156th Pow Wow celebration at Veterans Memorial Park Pow Wow grounds in Winnebago, NE Sunday, July 31, 2022. The pow wow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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