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Missing Memorial Day Celebration in Siouxland, Sibley

14 Jun

Recently for the Memorial Day Holiday I wanted to visit another place in Siouxland to see how other folk celebrate the holiday. Granted, the routine is pretty much all the same, but there seems to always to nuances. However this Memorial Day my well laid plans fizzled. The time I believed was set for the ceremony I found for the celebration in Sibley was incorrect. As I pulled into the cemetery I saw people gathered about a few vehicles. And after asking them about the ceremony they looked at me, maybe in pity, and told me I was too late.

Well, the 2.5 hour drive it took for me to get there left me a little deflated but then I drove into town to take a peek and decided I needed to return at some point just to see the downtown area alive with people. For the holiday, no one was downtown this Saturday as all were with friends, family and doing what folk do on a weekend, holiday weekends included.

So Sibley is on my “to so” list and hopefully to do yet this summer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Celebrating Christmas in Siouxland, Anthon

7 Jan

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

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Starting the New Year off on the right foot in Siouxland, Stone State Park

5 Jan

The Friends of Stone State Park co-hosted a 1st Day Hike Jan. 1 with the local park ranger Kevin Pape who explained that this event was not only happening state-wide, but nationally as well as parks across the country were trying to entire people outside and introducing them to their local state park in their particular area. It was an easy hike that approximately 30-35 people took advantage of with the temperature hovering around single digits to the teens.

Area residents pose for a photograph before setting off on a 1st Day Hike at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. A concerted effort by parks nationwide to get people out into nature in their area and introduce them to local parks and what is available. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Area residents pose for a photograph before setting off on a 1st Day Hike at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. A concerted effort by parks nationwide to get people out into nature in their area and introduce them to local parks and what is available. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Keepsakes for area residents who came out out for a 1st Day Hike at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. A concerted effort by parks nationwide to get people out into nature in their area and introduce them to local parks and what is available. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Keepsakes for area residents who came out out for a 1st Day Hike at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. A concerted effort by parks nationwide to get people out into nature in their area and introduce them to local parks and what is available. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dressed appropriately and moving, the temperature was not much of a concern. Park Ranger Pape also talked about the history of Stone State Park as we traversed a small section of it. Originally land owned by a Daniel Talbot, an early settler of the Sioux City area. Talbot purchased a lot of land but during the late 1890’s with bank failings, eventually lost the land to Thomas Stone, a local banker that personally guaranteed a loan to Talbot and later foreclosed on the land as Talbot was not able to pay. Ranger Pape explains that Stone’s children later donated the land Stone obtained to the City of Sioux City which then created a park area. Later on the city ceded the park to the State of Iowa and Stone State Park was created.

Some of the stone structures in areas of the park were formerly built by the city to house a local zoo. While trying to find more cursory information about the Civilian Conservation Corp that purportedly did work in Stone State Park in the 30’s I could only find reference to other state parks through the state’s Dept. of Natural Resources website.

Besides the historical footnote mentioned above, Stone State Park currently offers a lot of opportunity to get away from urban living even though it is situated on the outskirts of Sioux City. City sounds drift away, except for occasional traffic driving through.

Having hiked through several parts of the park over the years, it is a place to forget about current events and enjoy the moment and whatever nature provides that day. On a good day with good weather, one can see a variety of birds, deer and other creatures. Once while out with some Loess Hills Audubon people doing a December bird count I even saw a coyote on a hillside early that morning.

It’s good to unplug and tune into nature, maybe next year there will be enough people for two sets of hikes on a first day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Celebrating Christmas in Siouxland, Le Mars

22 Dec

A number of communities in the Siouxland area are celebrating the Christmas season and Le Mars, Iowa is again hosting a Lighted Parade as well as a Christmas Village where parade attendees and others can go for hot drinks and cookie treats, listen to live music, ride in light decorated wagons and spend a nice evening.

This year’s celebration was warmer than other years but it was also drizzling a bit which put some chill in the air. But people turned out for the parade downtown and the wet pavement made for some nice photos and added to ambiance. When shooting various events at night, I am all for whatever ambient light is available and the wet pavement was an added bonus, even if the air temp was colder.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Winter’s Embrace in Siouxland, Storm Lake

22 Dec

I drove over to Storm Lake, Iowa a week or so ago to check out a holiday place that I have been meaning to visit but never during the appropriate season, Christmas. It had been snowing most of the morning in Siouxland and I made the trip in the afternoon as the roads were not so accommodating earlier in the day. After my visit to the holiday place which I will soon share, I stopped by the lake in Storm Lake and briefly walked around. I did not spend much time there as I previously have because of a stiff wind and wanting to get on the road before the sun dipped on the horizon. Living in the Midwest, I always respect the possibility of black ice on roadways, since the temperature was hovering around 25 degrees. Welcome winter, with more below zero temps predicted to come, and along with that, snow.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Santa’s Castle in Siouxland, Storm Lake

20 Dec

On a visit to Storm Lake, Iowa recently I finally was able to visit a place I had seen numerous times, but always during the wrong season. Santa’s Castle in Siouxland is every child’s dream.

Santa is waiting to talk with children and pose for photographs.  While waiting for your chance to talk with the Jolly Old Elf, there is a maze of animated toys and Christmas decorations which can overload the senses. One could easily spend a couple of hours watching the various toys come to life and still bring a smile to even the most curmudgeon old soul. And during the walk through the maze of lifelike toys children participate in a scavenger type hunt looking for various objects hidden among all the toys.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Music Appreciation in Siouxland, National Music Museum

13 Dec

I attended a noon time holiday concert recently at the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, in Vermillion, South Dakota. Before the “main event” took place, another group performed. The Queen’s Pleasure is a Renaissance performance group that enjoys playing recorder instruments and early music,  which came into its own as early as the 13th century.

The five members of the ensemble or collegium are all capable of playing four different instruments and bring about thoughts of Shakespeare and a setting with courtly manners and refined graces. It is a quiet music, not the blaring sounds of brass or loud instrumentation of strings, but more contemplative. One really needs to listen to hear the soft sounds. The National Music Museum is a wonderful place to enjoy this and other music, with houses a large collection of instruments on display dating back to the 1500’s, and worth a visit.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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