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Celebrating Art in Siouxland, Art Splash in Sioux City

6 Sep

Each fall around Labor Day the Sioux City Art Center puts on an art celebration in Siouxland known as Art Splash. A juried group of various types of artists from around the region set up booths to display their wares for people to buy. And most people, depending on the weather, come out to enjoy what’s there and some go home happier with newly acquired pieces of art.

Visitors browse the artists’ booths during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Joseph Murray of Jefferson, Iowa sits among his paintings during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The location of the event has changed over the years. Up until 2011 it was held in a park along the Missouri River, when during that year the hundred year flood forced a relocation. Then it was held in Grandview Park, where the hills may have presented a challenge for people to walk up and down to view the artists.

Now in its 25th year, the event is at Riverside Park, nestled among a flat woodland area that later hosts the community’s Riverssance Festival as well. I enjoy going each year just to see what people are doing. At this point in my life I have fewer needs for more things, and the ability to afford art now is prohibitive for me personally. But it doesn’t mean one can’t draw inspiration and enjoy a day out and see what creative people are doing. And the artists are not limited to just visual arts. One artist, Paul Imholte, bills himself as a stringman and plays a variety of instruments.

Artists’ booth sit among a grove of trees during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stringman Paul Imholte performs on a hammer dulcimer during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And different people take away from the event different experiences that may be portraits or time spent with family. Even during those years of inclement weather, people can still enjoy what is offered.

Chun Wang of Shawnee KS works on a sketch of Ben Honomichl of Jefferson, SD during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A mother and son enjoy a bit of lunch along with a number of their closest friends during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Art Splash makes for a nice Labor Day weekend activity both for the artists and area residents who are supporting people who also labor, but in a creative manner adding another oft times needed dimension to life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Sioux CIty Growth Organization decorated their booth with balloons to draw attention to themselves during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Two young artists due their best to add to an already colorful pickup truck to make an overcast and rainy 25th anniversary of Art Splash more memorable which was held at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Vvian Miller of Akron, IA talks with a couple interested attendees during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 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 Siouxland’s Veterans, Quimby

7 Jun

This past Memorial Day I visited a cemetery outside the small Siouxland community of Quimby, which has a population or around 300 people.

Members of the Quimby American Legion Post 398 stand at attention during the playing of Taps at a Memorial Day service at Grandview Cemetery south of Quimby Iowa. Members include from left Ken Hasellhoff, Tim Preuss, Terry Sargent, Commander Ron Bush and Richard Ravnsborg Monday May 28, 2018. Bush said as members die, there are fewer remaining members in the Post to participate in various ceremonies. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Having worked for newspapers a number of years, I have attended many Memorial Day services.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a large service attended by hundreds or a small service, the impact is always the same, the reverence for those who serve.

What struck me though this Memorial Day is the number of veterans who form the Color Guard. In talking with the Quimby American Legion Post Commander Ron Bush, the number of local veterans available for such duty is dwindling. This year’s event members were performing “double duty” since there were only five of them.

Retiring the Colors after a Memorial Day service are Quimby American Legion Post 398 members from left, Ken Hasellhoff, Tim Preuss and Terry Sargent, at Grandview Cemetery south of Quimby Iowa, Monday May 28, 2018. Post Commander Ron Bush said as older post members die, it becomes harder to find locals who served to fulfill the need of ceremonies like Memorial Day and burial details. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Members of the Quimby American Legion Post 398 fire a gun salute during the Memorial Day service at Grandview Cemetery south of Quimby Iowa. Members include from left Ken Hasellhoff, Tim Preuss, Terry Sargent, Commander Ron Bush and Richard Ravnsborg Monday May 28, 2018. Bush said as members die, there are fewer remaining members in the Post to participate in various ceremonies. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the current members get older and pass away, there seems to be fewer available veterans in small communities to fill their positions to honor their fellow service men and women and attend other activities such as high school football games where most times there is a presentation of the flag before the game starts and during the playing of the National Anthem.

No one I have talked with over the years about this particular situation seems to have an answer. Only concerns. And one wonders who will be present when their time comes and they are laid to rest, to honor them with a Color Guard and pay respect.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Quimby American Legion Post 398 members Terry Sargent left and Post Commander Ron Bush attach another flag dedicated to an area resident who served in the military during the Memorial Day service at Grandview Cemetery south of Quimby Iowa, Monday May 28, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A quiet rural scene commemorates a Memorial Day service conducted by the Quimby American Legion Post 398 at Grandview Cemetery south of Quimby Iowa, Monday May 28, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Warm Weather in Siouxland, Sioux City

1 Jan

Like much of the country, Siouxland is caught in the current arctic vortex with air temperature hovering below zero in the single and double digits for a few days. It was sad recently to see buds forming and beginning to leaf on a neighbor’s tree before the cold spell hit. I  haven’t checked the tree recently but can’t imagine the bud will survive to spring. The weather has definitely been wacky and hopes are that it will become a little more moderate. Winter in the 20’s and 30’s temperature wise is great and fun to be outdoors. But single digits and below zero with frost bit setting in within 10 minutes is not so delightful.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Warm “winter” weather has some trees producing leaves from buds Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

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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