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Strolling Through the Lights in Siouxland, Pioneer Village in Le Mars

4 Jan

I always enjoy strolling through the Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County fairgrounds during the Christmas holidays. It looks so much different than when seen during the county fair in the summer. Christmas lights and families walking about, even on cold or chilly nights looking at Christmas displays and visiting Santa before the big day.

Christmas lights light up Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Christmas lights light up Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Near the village is a round barn that is set up to display Christmas scenes and gives the chance for children of all ages to enjoy a remembrance from childhood or to make memories that will will carry into adulthood. Even when it is cold it’s hard not to linger and enjoy.

The entrance to the round barn near the Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Christmas villages on display at the Pioneer Village on the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Santa finds his way in the dark in a display at the round barn at the Pioneer Village on the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Near the village is another building with donated decorated Christmas trees where people can enjoy someone’s handiwork in creating such a delight which one can put in a silent auction bid while music plays in the background and local 4-H clubs pass out cookies and hot chocolate or coffee. Sugar rushes are always a nice side benefit to enjoying someone’s decorating attempts and the chance to savor the Christmas holiday for another day or so until next year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Christmas trees on display near the Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Christmas trees on display the Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Winter’s Decorations in Siouxland, near Burbank, SD

21 Dec

Hoar frost coats trees along a snow encrusted roadway just outside Burbank, South Dakota Monday, Dec. 16, 2019 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Travel in the wintertime can sometimes not be for the faint of heart while driving around Siouxland. Recently a morning fog left remnants of a wintry decoration coating trees and vegetation and some roadways as well. It’s so easy to travel around a curve and find oneself continuing a trajectory that was not intentionally planned. But there is also an advantage to driving more slowly on such a day besides safety and that is the chance to enjoy winter’s decorations in nature as fleeting as it might be as the day warms up a few degrees and the sun shines bringing an end to a glistening morning that greets one and begins a new day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Hoar frost coats trees at a small farm stead just outside Burbank, South Dakota Monday, Dec. 16, 2019 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Passing Through a Small Town in Siouxland, Louisville NE

19 Dec

Main street downtown Louisville, Nebraska Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Although driving about Siouxland and similar places some folk might believe all small towns are the same, but one comes to know they are not. The offerings in such places might not be as extensive as larger communities, but places like Louisville, Nebraska has its own small town charm and a place residents enjoy calling home. Visiting in winter is a little different than when I come across places any other time of year. Depending on the weather and how much the wind is blowing, I might not linger much while walking about.

The remnants of a mural seen on a business wall in Louisville, Nebraska Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Cornhusker Country Music Theatre where musicians get together and jam seen downtown in Louisville, Nebraska Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And different times of the year probably has more activity happening on the weekend than what I saw while passing through recently. One downtown place that stuck out is the Cornhusker Country Music Theatre, a venue where folk get together and play music (guess if you haven’t the style) and entertain themselves, friends and any guests that happen by. A trip back at some point during warmer weather is probably necessary.

There were hourly trains passing through the community so it’s safe to assume it has been and continues to be a railway hub of some description, most with railcars pulling coal and other items in bulk. A grain elevator sits just down from the downtown area, and like so many small communities I visit it becomes apparent that agriculture is a major employer of some sort with farms and other industry related businesses in the area.

Trains pass through hourly in Louisville, Nebraska Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A grain elevator has steam rising from its stacks seen in the distance from downtown Louisville, Nebraska Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It was interesting to find a shop espousing medicinal usage of marijuana along a side street and also the ubiquitous barbershop that actually looks like one and not just a more modern version of a stylist salon.

Progressive Nebraskans looking for an alternative medicinal option located in Louisville, Nebraska Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A barbershop closed on the weekend in Louisville, Nebraska Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One never really knows any community unless you spend a little time becoming acquainted and it’s hard depending on one’s travel plans to be able to do so. The road in and out can beckon both ways to visitors and residents alike and time and circumstance dictate which it may be on any given day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A crossroad leading out of town from Louisville, Nebraska Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Sharing the Holiday Spirit in Song in Siouxland, Nora, SD

17 Dec

 

I always find it fun when venturing out in Siouxland to revisit places I have been too. Visited often enough, places become very familiar. Sometimes though a place feels at home as soon as you walk through the door. The Nora, SD country store is located at a crossroads in rural South Dakota and owned by Mike Pederson. Listed on the National Register of Historic places, the store was a true country store, closing in 1962. Some items from its previous life are still sitting on shelves.

Resident cats of Mike Pederson check out visitors’ vehicles while everyone is inside the Nora, SD store for 30th annual Christmas carol sing-a-long Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. Pederson began the sing-a-longs in 1989 when he moved and set up the pipe organ in his store. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of a few remaining country stores, which closed in 1962. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A pet cat looks for some attention outside the Nora, SD, store Sunday Dec. 1, 2019 with remnants of a blizzard still remaining on the ground. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Pederson has been hosting holiday sing-a-longs at the store since 1989, 30 years. He acquired an organ in the early days, learned to play it and began inviting folk to stop by during the weeks leading up to Christmas Day and to share in Christmas music, both secular and religious to just help folk get into the spirit.

MIKE PEDERSON sits at his organ where he plays Christmas music beginning just after the Thanksgiving holiday up through December 15 at his Nora, SD, Christmas store Sunday Dec. 1, 2019. Marking his 30th year of his annual Nora Store Christmas Carol sing-a-long beginning in 1989 when he set up a pipe organ. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

MIKE PEDERSON, fifth from the left, sits at his German-made organ where he plays Christmas music at his Nora, SD, Christmas store Sunday Dec. 8, 2019 and is joined by visitors sharing in the love of singing Christmas carols. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Christmas decorations hang inside the Nora, SD, store Sunday Dec. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

From hosting so many years he tells some pretty interesting stories of people who have visited. Some by chance and others making a pilgrimage to come back, by themselves or bringing family and friends to enjoy a couple hours of singing and leaving cares at the front door and sharing space and time with strangers who are not really that strange. All enjoy singing, some of us more off key than others, but people don’t seem to care and with so many voices it’s hard to tell anyway.

MIKE PEDERSON puts out more cookies for visitors to his Nora, SD, store Sunday Dec. 8, 2019. Pederson is marking his 30th year for an annual Nora Store Christmas Carol sing-a-long beginning in 1989 when he set up a pipe organ. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

MIKE PEDERSON plays Christmas carols on his German-made organ at his Nora, SD, Christmas store Sunday Dec. 8, 2019 and is joined by visitors sharing in the love of singing Christmas carols. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Pederson told folk attending this year that he has been diagnosed with cancer, but so far, has been blessed with good health as he attends to treatment and the medication that goes along with that treatment. His main concern was in asking for some help in keep the store in repair as it needs some work and because of its historical significance to rural America and the fact that these stores are disappearing. Others in the area have been torn down or destroyed by fire. A slice of Americana that can’t be replicated. And I think he also wants to keep alive that spirit of togetherness, sharing with neighbors,  known and unknown, and taking time out to celebrate a time of year that many find special and a place to enjoy it in, bringing back memories for some and creating memories for others too young to have experience that past.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

MIKE PEDERSON, third from left, tells a story of visiting Norwegians who stopped by a couple years ago to sit Christmas carols at his Nora, SD store seen Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

MIKE PEDERSON, third from left, sits at his organ where he plays Christmas music at his Nora, SD, Christmas store Sunday Dec. 8, 2019 and is joined by visitors sharing in the love of singing Christmas carols, marking 30 years for his annual Nora Store the sing-a-long which began in 1989. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Quality Time with Santa in Siouxland, Akron

15 Dec

A Santa looks surprised looking over a fence during a community Christmas celebration in Akron, Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Spending a little time with Old Saint Nick is every child’s hope come this time of year, for those cultures that embrace Christmas that is. Even in Siouxland a child’s expectation can be pretty palpable when the jolly elf appears on the scene.

Santa and Mrs Claus make an entrance for a community Christmas celebration in Akron, Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Santa lights the town’s tree during a community Christmas celebration in Akron, Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

In Akron Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive in style on a fire truck and then light the town’s Christmas tree, as the little waifs follow along behind waiting for a chance to speak to the man that they hope will provide something of wonder under their own Christmas tree.

Mrs. Claus talks with some young elves prior to them seeing Santa during a community Christmas celebration in Akron, Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A parents enjoy the few moments Santa spends with their child, making a few snapshots to memorialize this year’s moment and also show life’s progression as their children grow. Maybe becoming a little wiser about Santa but never losing that Christmas spirit. Although for some children, the jolly elf takes a bit of getting use to.

A mom takes a photograph of her daughter talking with Santa during a meet and greet at a community Christmas celebration in Akron, Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Santa Claus feels a little empathy for a youngster not sharing in the Christmas spirit during a photo session at the town library during a community Christmas celebration in Akron, Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Area businesses also provide snacks and hot chocolate to residents and visitors alike as well as providing some musical entertainment. I never tire of the holiday itself. The commercialization, yes, but not the spirit of the holiday and the hope of a new and beginning in a not to distant new year. People tend to be a little more forgiving and generous this time of year which gives hope for next year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Carolers sing outside in the downtown area during a community Christmas celebration in Akron, Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

A Christmas tree made of lights in a window of a downtown business for Christmas in Akron, Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Dressed for holiday, downtown is lit with Christmas tree decorations for a community Christmas celebration in Akron, Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The community has a little over 1,400 residents. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A Walking Piece of History in Siouxland, the Meridian Bridge, Yankton, SD

11 Dec

in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always find it nice when local communities help visitors learn a bit more history about itself and its residents. Various Siouxland communities do this and Yankton, SD recently installed signage at the Meridian Bridge, previously a double decker vehicle bridge, now a pedestrian walkway over the Missouri River.

A sculpted art piece at the foot of the pedestrian Meridian Bridge in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Meridian Bridge was formerly a double decker vehicle bridge but is now a pedestrian walkway over the Missouri River in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Of course not all “residents” appreciate the signage or the history, but just enjoy the structure itself.

Pidgeons take a short flight before returning to a resting spot on the Meridian Bridge in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Pidgeons find a resting spot on the Meridian Bridge in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A short walk from the downtown area of Yankton and some eateries, a nice walk is always pleasant and doesn’t hurt the appetite either.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A sign posting at the Meridan Bridge gives a visitor a little background about the area and the Missouri River seen in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A sign posted at the Meridian Bridge gives a little background about an earlier politician seen in Yankton, South Dakota Friday Nov. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying the Light in Siouxland, Onawa

1 Dec

Sometimes when out taking photographs in Siouxland I just enjoy watching the light and the effect it has on an area or subject. Time of day can play a part and whether it is a clear or cloudy day. Nice light is just nice light.

The moon rises above houses along the lake at the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Most times I find myself in the wrong place when this light happens. It is fleeting. maybe 10-15 minutes early morning and in the evening as the sun awakens the day and leaves for the night. Sometimes I get lucky and am near something that embraces the magical light which makes it a magical subject. But not often, so I enjoy the light. Whether I was lucky and was able to make a nice photograph, the jury is still out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sun sun sets and light reflects in a body of water near the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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