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Missing Celebrations in Siouxland, Orange City Tulip Festival

4 Jun

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©)

This year the sounds of wooden shoes on pavement was quiet in Siouxland as the 80th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the nation. The three-day event generally draws anywhere from 80,000-100,000 visitors the small “Dutch” community estimates.

Children perform a Dutch dance routine during the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Participants in the Orange City, Iowa, Tulip Festival, get buckets of water to prepare for the street cleaning, Thursday, May 16 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The festival is an economic boost to the community as well as a chance to show itself off to visitors and something most residents participate in. Many former residents return to visit family and friends and “relive” their own former participation of the festival.

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©)

 

A mom juggles taking photos of tulips while holding her child. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) the 80th Annual Orange City, Iowa, Tulip Festival was cancelled this year. Over a 3-day period the community of roughly 6,200 residents sees anywhere from 80,000-100,000 visitors attend a celebration of the community’s Dutch heritage. The cancellation economically impacts the small community. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So this year halfway through the usual festival routine, a few people make their way around tulip beds in the city park to enjoy a bountiful display of the many colored flowers and each hoping that normal returns safely and sooner than later.

A father takes a photo of his son in a Dutch costume in front of a patch of tulips. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) the 80th Annual Orange City, Iowa, Tulip Festival was cancelled this year.  (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An employee of the Woudstra Meat Market poses in her Dutch costume in front of her store. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) the 80th Annual Orange City, Iowa, Tulip Festival was cancelled this year, seen Friday, May 15, 2020. The cancellation economically impacts the small community. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like many communities, Orange City residents will take the cancellation in stride. Some thinking too much was made about the pandemic while others believe it was a smart course of action. With a virus, the unknowns take on a large factor, especially when close to 100,000 “strangers” visit your community was various parts of the country and the world. And one can only hope that next year will bring the return of many community celebrations here and other communities as well.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People check out a working windmill in Windmill Park. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) the 80th Annual Orange City, Iowa, Tulip Festival was cancelled this year.  (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A mother and her sons pose for photographs. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) the 80th Annual Orange City, Iowa, Tulip Festival was cancelled this year. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A young boys seriously checks out a patch of tulips. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) the 80th Annual Orange City, Iowa, Tulip Festival was cancelled this year.  (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Taking Precautions in Siouxland, Sioux City

2 Jun

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic someone covered the mouth and hand of a Abraham Lincoln statue with a face mask and glove located at the entrance to Grandview Park, a city park, in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, May 12, 2020. A (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

With the current pandemic of the coronavirus going on, some people in Siouxland are taking extra precautions to see that others do not fall ill or make someone else ill. Such was the case near Grandview Park in Sioux City. Some resourceful soul wants to keep Abe Lincoln safe as people venture out into the park to enjoy the outdoors as the weather is nicer. Hoping that continues, but soon people will forget there were any issues and carry on as before, for good or ill.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Taking a cue from the South Dakota governor’s campaign slogan dealing with a meth problem in that state, someone created a sign with the slogan “We Got This” and added a glove and face mask for the COVID-19 pandemic to an Abraham Lincoln statue at the entrance to Grandview Park, a city park, in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, May 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Peeking Outside in Siouxland, Hitchcock Nature Center

27 May

The downtown area of the city of Omaha, NE can seen from an observation desk at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy visiting the Hitchcock Nature Center in southern Siouxland, especially its tower next to the nature center. The view allows one to see downtown Omaha, NE across the Missouri River and other areas as well. Normally during midweek there is not a lot of people. This particular day was in February of this year as the COVID-19 situation was beginning to ramp up and the weather was warmish for a February day.

People hike along a trail at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes it is just nice to go outdoors and being there.  No agenda, no excessive hiking, just observing and enjoying the moment, photographically speaking anyway. As the weather finally begins to warm up even though it is already May, I look forward to some more outdoor forays and just spending time in the fresh air and sunlight, and hopefully sunshine.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Smoke rises from might be a controlled burn near the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County near Honey Creek, Iowa Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Remembering in Siouxland on Memorial Day, Sioux City

25 May

Flags flutter in the breeze at city owned Graceland Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Memorial Day is an annual event of remembrance in Siouxland and elsewhere in the U.S. A time to reflect and honor our loved ones and those who have served in the armed forces of this nation. This year’s day like other days going forward will be a new experience for many.

A wife watches her husband clean his parents’ grave site at Memorial Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Helping her grandmother, a young woman looks for grave sites of those who served in the military to place a flag at Memorial Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Her grandfather is a member of the American Legion. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The coronavirus pandemic has given all people a moment of pause. Creating a variety of stress for some and only adding to stress others already felt because of life’s circumstances. And going forward this year’s remembrance may cause people to reflect more deeply as the official start of summer. But maybe I am too optimistic in that respect  that people will actually take stock and be thankful for those who have come before and continue to protect this nation and give it a sense of honor where others who should do not.

Families decorate grave sites of loved ones at Graceland Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A grounds keeper trims grave sites at Memorial Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And in a year’s time, will folk look back and be thankful for such a pause in routine, or still curse and not think of it at all but for being a disruption they should have done without. Human beings are a fickled lot. While many are thankful, I sometimes wonder if most are just expectant of what they deserve, some more than others. Life’s circumstances have benefited some more than others, sometimes unfairly. But that is for someone else to judge, and sometimes I kind of hope, harshly.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A grounds keeper puts up a tent for a Honor Guard at Memorial Park Cemetery Friday, May 22, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. Because of COVID-19 an annual Memorial Day celebration has changed to a drive by Honor Guard to be held at Memorial Park Cemetery. Stormy weather is expected for the area Monday. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Backyard Neighbors in Siouxland, Sioux City

23 May

A cardinal eats a seed while visiting a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, March 31, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Life in Siouxland like in many places is running at a much slower pace these days. While I can’t say I am bored because I get the occasional visits from some animal neighbors who drop by, sound off a greeting, and then continue on their way. These days with sunrises earlier and sunsets later, I miss some of these friends as they tend to be earlier risers than I am.

A red-bellied woodpecker looks for a snack in a backyard Sunday, March 29, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A squirrel peeks out a feeder to see if the it’s safe to leave in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It has been and will continue to be fun watching these critters now that I am more fully aware that they come and visit. It’s funny the things one might see while traveling at a speed less than warp.

A starling sits on a line in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, April 11, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Hairy woodpecker sits in a tree in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, March 30, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And as the weather continues to warm and be nice with only the occasional rain showers I hope my neighbors continue to spend some time in the neighborhood.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A sudden breeze ruffles feathers on a robin in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, April 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Pause in Activities in Siouxland, Grandview Park, Sioux City

17 May

A stormy looking day creates contrast in Grandview Park in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, May 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The current pandemic, COVID-19 or the coronavirus as some prefer, has caused many people and places to hit the pause button here in Siouxland. For many activities. And like elsewhere, as various political bodies and people decide what time is right for folk to plunge back into “normalcy”, there will be many missing local events. Already high school graduations are being posted online and not held at the various schools with throngs of parents and friends cheering as students cross the finish line, er stage. It seems since May is already here, there will be few Memorial Day celebrations throughout the Siouxland region.

Fans enjoy the performance of The Dirty Heads playing at the 23rd annual Saturday in the Park music festival in Sioux City, Iowa, July 6, 2013.

A couple events I will miss seeing happen in Grandview Park in Sioux City. The Sioux City Municipal Band playing consecutive Sunday evening concerts and the perennial Saturday in the Park music festival. Both are free to those attending. SITP draws people from all over, as big name entertainers perform along with up and comers.

MELISSA ETHERIDGE performs during the 23rd annual Saturday in the Park music festival in Sioux City, Iowa, July 6, 2013.

 

MELISSA ETHERIDGE performs during the 23rd annual Saturday in the Park music festival in Sioux City, Iowa, July 6, 2013.

The park’s bandshell was built during the depression years by the Civilian Conservation Corps and has hosted many events. On a pleasant summer’s eve it is a nice place to sit and relax, even with a few hundred of your rowdy friends, depending on the program.

A family enjoys the Sioux City Municipal band as it plays a medley of songs at the Bandshell in Grandview Park in Sioux City, Iowa, Sunday July 5, 2015. (Photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

But keeping one’s distance at these events would be impossible, no almost about it.

The Sioux City Municipal band plays a medley of patriotic songs at the Bandshell in Grandview Park in Sioux City, Iowa, Sunday July 5, 2015. (Photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

And so the park will sit quiet for a few months. No music to enliven its environs or bring smiles and memories to those attending. It’s hard to imagine outdoor or indoor concerts happening any time soon. Outdoor would be safer, but there just isn’t enough space.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A quiet, tempest looking day in Grandview Park in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, May 12, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Venturing out in Siouxland as Temperatures rise, DeSoto

11 May

Getting out and enjoying oneself at the DeSoto National Wildlife, NE Saturday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It is nice that there are a few nature preserves in and around and nearby in Siouxland where one can venture out and safely respect other people’s space while all enjoying the outdoors at temperatures now permit. And getting watch nature in its own natural habitat is always a plus.

Enjoying nature at the DeSoto National Wildlife, NE Saturday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It still seems with the extended cool weather that is now slowly warming up that spring has taken a while to arrive and for the region to start showing some greenery to brighten up a brown and dismal looking landscape.

Spring arrival at the DeSoto National Wildlife, NE Saturday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And folk can begin wandering about and finding spots to pursue their own recreation and see what luck they have in catching some dinner. When I fished as a child, it was always feast or famine. And just glad I didn’t have to depend on what I caught when I got home for supper.

Getting out and enjoying oneself at the DeSoto National Wildlife, NE Saturday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And glad there was always one parent around to make certain the young ones were fed and tended too, just like in nature.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Eagle watching at the DeSoto National Wildlife, NE Saturday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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