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Enjoying a Town Fair in Siouxland, Marcus

19 Aug

Many of the floats seen during the at the Marcus Town Fair parade contained graduating classes and families celebrating in Marcus, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 . (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

Bigger isn’t always better. And sometimes the smaller events have that small town feel, where practically everyone knows everyone else. Visiting the community of Marcus this year during its annual town fair is always fun. I arrived later than I wanted though, and while I got to see the parade, I missed earlier events at the fair but didn’t stay long enough to see any of the rides in action.

Still a little early in the day for rides to begin at the Marcus Town Fair in Marcus, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 . (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

 

A wood pile for possible use by a chainsaw artist createing his pieces during the Marcus Town Fair in Marcus, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 . (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

 

A chainsaw artist creates his pieces during a demonstration at the Marcus Town Fair in Marcus, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 . (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

There is animal judging for the 4-H kids and exhibit halls with a variety of items to check out and always a delicious noon meal for which was over by the time the parade started which was later in the afternoon. Parades are always highlights of community celebrations. The kids don’t go home empty handed, no matter what the age. And the floats in the Marcus parade generally included high school graduating classes from years’ past and families having one big reunion and a reason for those who have left to return, if just to see their relatives.

Kids scramble to collect candy tossed by passing “floats” during the Marcus Town Fair parade in Marcus, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 . (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

 

It’s not just youngsters who should be able to catch and gather treats during the Marcus Town Fair parade in Marcus, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 . (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

One can possibly expect too much when visiting these events. Having worked for various newspapers over the years I learned to take in all in stride, each one being unique in and of itself if one just enjoys what is before you, rather than wishing for something that isn’t, or will not be there. It’s a slice of Americana nestled in flyover country which doesn’t disappoint those who participate and attend. Life is, and you make the best of it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An older parade watcher, possibly a farmer, checks out the farm equipment as it passes by during the Marcus Town Fair parade in Marcus, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 . (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

 

A number of “antique” and collectible farm tractors on display at the Marcus Town Fair in Marcus, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 . (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

 

An exhibit with a sense of humor on display at the Marcus Town Fair in Marcus, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 . (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

Seeing details in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve

17 Aug

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve celebrates its 22nd year as an official state park, beginning its operation in 1997 and located in North Sioux City, South Dakota Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 . (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

Visiting a number of places in Siouxland, then revisiting them, I am always amused to “see” something I overlooked previously on a visit. Whether that’s good or bad, and depending on what I was concentrating on something else at the time, I always rationalize that it gives me something to look forward too on a return visit. And most times it’s the small details that I overlook. The big picture is just that.  All engrossing because it’s focuses one’s attention in a big way. But the details fill in the gaps, and perhaps lend another thought to history or part of the story. Or just more questions about a period of time one can read about, but again, it’s mostly just the big picture that is painted by the words, no time or space to delve into some of the details.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Summer Concerts in the Park in Siouxland, Sioux City Municipal Band

13 Aug

Summer is that season everywhere and here in Siouxland as well when all want a chance to relax and enjoy local festivities and other forms of entertainment. The local Sioux City Municipal Band has been playing summer concerts for a number of years. It’s a free event and people can bring lawn chairs, pack a snack or summer and sit back and enjoy the sounds which can include patriotic tunes, show tunes, movie tunes and classical tunes. Although I am sure music aficionados would not refer to the music as tunes.

The Sioux City Municipal Band performs at the Band Shell in Grandview Park as part of a free summer entertainment series Sunday, July 14, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Sioux City Municipal Band performs at the Band Shell in Grandview Park as part of a free summer entertainment series Sunday, July 14, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The musicians themselves spend the time to practice and then play these summer evenings which occasionally can include thunderstorms and most likely hot and humid nights towards the end of July. But they persevere as well as perspire like the rest of us, they just don’t show it. But it’s a nice event for local residents and those visiting family over the summer months. The 8-week long series varies with the music selection year to year. But their performance never varies, always enjoyable.

The Sioux City Municipal Band performs at the Band Shell in Grandview Park as part of a free summer entertainment series Sunday, July 14, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Sioux City Municipal Band performs at the Band Shell in Grandview Park as part of a free summer entertainment series Sunday, July 14, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Something residents can look forward too again next year now that the last performance has come and gone and as parent’s thoughts return to the coming school year and others to autumn season which is just around the corner. Instead of hearing the municipal band’s music wafting over the neighborhood Sunday nights, some will begin hearing marching band music Friday nights as the local high school football season kicks off and a different kind of entertainment marks another season of its own.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Sioux City Municipal Band performs at the Band Shell in Grandview Park as part of a free summer entertainment series Sunday, July 14, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Sioux City Municipal Band performs at the Band Shell in Grandview Park as part of a free summer entertainment series Sunday, July 14, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Sioux City Municipal Band performs at the Band Shell in Grandview Park as part of a free summer entertainment series Sunday, July 14, 2019. Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Country in Siouxland, rural Clay County

11 Aug

A meadow situated along a country road in rural Clay County, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently on my way to an event to photograph I passed through some Siouxland countryside in rural Clay County. It had been a while since I was able to just drive about on backroads in this region, many of which I have not driven reminding me that I need to do more of that. Bucolic scenes, meadows, corn and soybean fields, grazing animals and dust with heat. While a fan of most of the former part of that string of words, that latter can be overcome with water and a vehicle’s AC system. It’s just nice to get out, enjoy a little peace and solitude and be, without any expectations.

Thinking of the words to a Simon and Garfunkel song: “Slow down, you move too fast, You got to make the morning last, Just kicking down the cobblestones, Looking for fun and feeling groovy.” My fun is taking pictures and listening to some jazz as I drive about the backroads. Just enjoying without a destination, as long as I can find my way back to a main road and then home.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A country road winds through rural scenes in Clay County, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Round hay bales dot a rural scene in Clay County, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Big Wheels Keep on Turning in Siouxland, Big Boy Engine passes through Woodbine

9 Aug

Onlookers gather at a crossing outside of Woodbine, Iowa as the Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, heads back west on its rail system Friday, August 2, 2019. The engine stopped in the community for onlookers for roughly 45 minutes as it continues its journey home to Cheyenne, WY after leaving Illinois July 8. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One of Union Pacific Railroad’s heritage engines passed through western Iowa recently for a return trip home. Two weeks earlier this behemoth of steam locomotives, Engine 4014, otherwise known as Big Boy, made a trip from Wyoming to Illinois, and then some side excursions.

Big Boy is one of a few heavy duty articulated steam locomotives created during WWII to move freight and other necessities across the country and especially over the mountain ranges because most able bodied men were fighting overseas. The massive locomotive got a nice reception in Woodbine, Iowa recently as it was returning to Wyoming where it’s excursion journey began early this summer.

Onlookers and train enthusiasts gather for a close up view in Woodbine, Iowa of the Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, heads back west on its rail system Friday, August 2, 2019. The engine stopped for onlookers for roughly 45 minutes as it continues its journey home to Cheyenne, WY after leaving Illinois July 8. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Onlookers and train enthusiasts get a close up view and take photographs in Woodbine, Iowa of the Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, as it heads back west on its rail system Friday, August 2, 2019. The engine stopped for onlookers for roughly 45 minutes as it continues its journey home to Cheyenne, WY after leaving Illinois July 8. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Big Boy took two years for a complete restoration and is one of a few restored steam engines now part of a Union Pacific Heritage locomotive fleet. Articulated steam locomotives have two sets of drivers or complete engine units with eight wheel sets total. The front set of driving wheels, referred to as the front engine, can move independently from the locomotive’s permanently attached boiler and rear engine. This allows the locomotive to better negotiate curves.

Young onlookers cover their ears as the Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, heads back west on its rail system passing through Woodbine, Iowa Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, heads back west on its rail system passing through Woodbine, Iowa Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is a wonderful museum in Council Bluffs that is all things Union Pacific Railroad, no ties though to the company. It backgrounds the building of the rail system filling in a lot of minute details about the journey west and what life was like traveling by rail. Today with automobiles and planes, trains are not looked upon as favorably as it still takes longer than flying. But seeing such a large engine up close was a bit surreal. Can’t imagine what it was like for those who traveled by rail accompanying the engine as it passed through the countryside. And it was surprising and pleasing to see that many folk are still enthralled by trains themselves and that way of travel. Depending on one’s point of view, progress is in the eye of the beholder.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Current and retired Union Pacific employees photograph from a hillside the steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, as it heads back west on its rail system passing through Woodbine, Iowa Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Steam rises from the Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, as it heads back west on its rail system passing through Woodbine, Iowa Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Onlookers and train enthusiasts gather in Woodbine, Iowa to get a close up view of the Union Pacific’s steam locomotive No. 4014, Big Boy, as it heads back west on its rail system Friday, August 2, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer Means Siouxland Fair Time, Le Mars

5 Aug

Quilting samples and one fair-themed quilt showing at the Plymouth County Fair in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A mother takes photos of her daughters at a cutout at the Plymouth County Fair in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Growing up on a farm in Illinois now makes me a little wistful when I visit county fairs in Siouxland. I tend to go a little earlier than then and spend time watching 4-H and FFA kids exhibiting their animals and realize the amount of work they have put into such projects. One needed to care for an animal as well as log information about it’s feeding and care. A daunting task for 8-14 years old kids. Now there is even more competition for their time than when I was a child.

4-H competitors trying “guiding” their charges during a competition at the Plymouth County Fair in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

It’s not all glamour for the Pork Queen as she hands out ribbons at the conclusion of a 4-H showing competition during the Plymouth County Fair in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But that part of the fair still generates interest among those who participate and their families and friends. Competition and winning and losing is all part of the “building character” schtick that comes with participating. And rarely do I stay later when the fair’s rides begin and those other activities come to life. Especially when it’s hot. I tend to bail. Find a food stand or someplace in the shade and a tad cooler. But walking around the animals barns one can find all sorts of interesting scenes. Those members intent on preparing their animal or following the latest development elsewhere.

A young 4-H member tries to brush her steers while also keeping up on social media during the Plymouth County Fair in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A steer gets a soap bath before competing during 4-H competition at the Plymouth County Fair in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But most members of these organizations take their competition to heart. I never really cared if I got a blue, red or white ribbon. It was being there and seeing friends or neighbor kids one probably wouldn’t see for another month until school started. And of course taking in the Midway where the carnival barkers try to entice one to spend a little money or ride the ferris wheel and other rides. So I can only smile when I see someone enjoying them self and think back to my time spent of the fair, participating in 4-H for 9-10 years until I aged out and left for college. And for these young members hopefully this will be a time they too can look back on and cherish or at least fondly remember the better times as they grow and become interested in other activities which may entice them away from these organizations.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Young 4-H members wait to show their chicken projects at the Plymouth County Fair in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A chicken rests contently in the arms of its owner as she waits to compete at the Plymouth County Fair in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Photography exhibit at the Plymouth County Fair in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Patchwork Boat Dock Design in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

3 Aug

New boards on a pier give a checkered board effect at West Lake in Arnolds Park, Iowa Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a recent visit to the Lake Region in Iowa I saw some rebuilt docks around Arnolds Park and Okoboji, probably due to age and recent storms. The old and new gave me the impression of a patchwork quilt I see in museums and from what I remember seeing in relatives’ homes growing up as a child. Unlike the museum and wall hanging pieces, these are real life and oft used “quilts” that add a visual element if one is keen to observe.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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