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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

 

Singing Christmas Carols in Siouxland, Nora SD

8 Dec

Around Thanksgiving I attended a Christmas carol sing-a-long in a small community in South Dakota in Siouxland. In Nora, SD music enthusiast and Christmas lover Mike Pederson invites people to come to a former general store and share in the spirit of Christmas.

Mike performs on a pipe organ in the store which he has been doing for 28 years, and is accompanied by a violinist and the voices of people who travel near and far to join in song and celebration of Christmas. The last sing-a-longs will be occurring soon and a real treat, it’s worth a drive.

Mike Pederson plays a pipe organ that sits in the store during the Christmas sing-a-long at Nora, SD Sunday Nov. 26, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

The Nora General Store in Nora, SD, sits along a state highway and is listed on the National Register of Historic, which occurred in 2007. A Christmas sing-a-long has taken place for 28 years at the Nora store, Sunday Nov. 26, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

It is fun to meet people and sing with them, even if your voice sounds better in your head than in real life, like my own. Christmas is a season for rejoicing and sharing and the comradery with happy faces and voices is amazing. Mike would love to have you stop by and join in the fun. However, get there very early, otherwise you might find yourself listening in through the open front doors on a pleasant day, and through the doors on a day with temps in the teens and snow on the ground.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

With the seating and standing room full inside the store, others stand around the front door for the Christmas sing-a-long to sing carols at Nora, SD Sunday Nov. 26, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Enjoying the Light in Siouxland, Woodbury County

30 Nov

The other day I saw part of a gorgeous sunset from my backyard. I only saw part of it because the sky is partially obscured by neighboring homes. The sky still had some clouds, blue sky and such the beginning hint of red. I really should have been out taking photographs. But I contented myself with just watching. With cooler temperatures I need to force myself outside nearer sunset to enjoy the sights of nature and God’s work. Beautiful etchings in the sky. And a moment of  quietude as night comes on.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sun setting behind a cloud near Sergeant Bluff, Iowa off or County Road D45 Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Enjoying the Fall Light in Siouxland, Plymouth and Woodbury Counties

10 Nov

I never tire of driving in the rural regions of Siouxland. Looking at the “vistas” of rural America, scenic agricultural depictions that is part of how this country was founded with the westward movement of people two centuries ago.

The light play in the fall makes driving in a “desolate” area all the more enjoyable.

A barn sits in a field in rural Plymouth County, Iowa Monday Oct. 23, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Most of the time these vistas include fields of corn, lots of corn, barns and winding roads that locals still drive to get to their destinations.

Some trees have already shed their fall color as others slowly turn along a county road in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, part of the Sioux City Diocese, Sunday Oct.15, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Trees along a fence row begin to change color as fall slowly appears in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, part of the Sioux City Diocese, Sunday Oct.15, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I find a sense of peace driving these roadways, away from the noise of larger cities, the use of computers and a chance to just see nature and albeit man’s interpretation of nature as more acreage in rural Iowa is converted into tillable land. But still, it’s good sometimes to take a pause and just enjoy what is there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Brief Drive Through in Siouxland, Wall Lake

6 Nov

There are many small communities that exist and thrive in the Siouxland area. Possibly bigger in past glory days when the area was first getting underway with westward expansion. But these small towns still thrive and are home to residents of Siouxland.

in Wall Lake Iowa Iowa Friday, May 12, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And many times a person actually has to make the effort to get off the interstate or other major highway to drive through these communities to see what makes up their state. It’s true that larger cities have more people and populace, but a large number of people still call rural Iowa home and enjoy the smaller surroundings that make up their communities. Others may see a drive spot on the road, but one never really knows what exists without making an effort to see what is there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Days are numbered in Siouxland, Rural Plymouth County

4 Nov

I know the days are numbered for “nice” weather in Siouxland. I recently heard different local tv weather prognosticators talking about wintry weather mixes appearing soon. Too soon for my taste. It’s just barely fall and Thanksgiving hasn’t arrived yet. So I relish these remaining days, blustery though they might be to just enjoy some nice fall light as I watch it paint the countryside in direct yet a softer glow. And with a colder than normal winter forecast I’ll miss those warm, even hot summer days.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Summer scenic in rural Plymouth County, Iowa, Wednesday, August 19, 2015.

A summer day scenic in rural Plymouth County, Iowa, Wednesday, August 19, 2015.

Moonrise in Siouxland, Plymouth County

27 Oct

As I have gotten older I don’t always get up before the sun or even see it set during certain portions of the year. And that doesn’t both me in the least. But sometimes when out I enjoy varying what I photograph and occasionally I do see a moonrise. No longer working for daily newspapers my schedule is more flexible and less demanding and I can enjoy the evening at home or out photographing.

I generally don’t carry a tripod and make do trying to photograph the scene as best as I can. And while not always a stellar image compared to other nature and landscape photographers I am aware of, it personally is satisfying. And it makes me ask myself why I don’t do more photographs of this nature as I head home anticipating my cup of coffee waiting for me.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Moon over the countryside near Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

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