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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

 

Enjoying Fall’s Light in Siouxland, Gull Point State Park

6 Dec

I love the play of light when I am out photographing in Siouxland and elsewhere. I don’t always capture what I see, but it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the effects of light and shadow play or the interaction of color say between water and foliage. And then I try to amuse myself taking a self-portrait via a reflection and getting results that might be questionable but still fun nonetheless.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Woodlands near Gull Point State Park in Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A short pier at Gull Point State Park in Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Self-portrait at Gull Point State Park in Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Festival of Trees in Siouxland, Cherokee

2 Dec

Sometimes revisiting places in Siouxland leads one to pleasant little surprises. One such visit to Cherokee recently I dropped by the Sanford Museum and Planetarium and came upon its Festival of Trees.

A house from across the street is reflected in the windows of the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Small Christmas trees decorated by a variety of groups from the area each giving their own tree a special spin and unique look.

Each of the Festival of Trees entries have unique aspects about them during the exhibit at the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Sometimes those decorating exercise their sense of humor as well.

Playing on words for one Festival of Trees entry at the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

So it’s fun to visit different communities this time of year to see what is going on, even though the theme of Christmas is the same. Pleasant surprises await the person willing to make the time to visit.

The museum and planetarium provides the community and surrounding area residents a place when there are art shows and history programs. A small display with the history and information about the museums’s benefactor plus a room with some items from a founding community family gives visitors a little background. Just another reason to do a bit of local travel to explore areas in Siouxland.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A decorated tree in the “Sanford” room at the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

History about the Sanford family at the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 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)

Outdoor Research in Siouxland, Iowa Lakeside Laboratory

24 Nov

Sometimes as I travel about Siouxland I come across places that make me wonder what life may have been like had I chosen another path. Especially when I visit the Iowa Lakeside Laboratories in the Iowa Lakes Region which was created to study nature in nature as it is noted. I stopped by there this fall as the stone buildings built during the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corp sit atop a hill and gives a nice view of the surrounding area.

Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The labs are dedicated to various types of studies under the auspices of the University of Iowa and was founded or received its impetus from a former professor.

A bench dedicated to a former Iowa State University professor, Dr. Lois Tiffany, sits on the grounds at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The grounds are well maintained and trails leads one in and around Little Miller’s Bay which the facility sits along and is open for research from those interested from a variety of places, high school and college students as well as instructors themselves looking to further their own knowledge or research. Aside from hot and muggy days, or colder  ones, the chance to explore and learn outdoors seems tempting. Communing with nature to me seems a great way to pass the time.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bench dedicated to a former Iowa State University professor, Dr. Lois Tiffany, sits on the grounds at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory overlooking Little Miller’s Bay near Milford, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Color in Siouxland, Le Mars

16 Nov

As November begins and the cooler days increase I am trying to enjoy the remaining color I find as much as I can. The grey of winter will be here soon enough in Siouxland. There will be those glorious sunny blue sky days of December and other winter months, but it may also be 20 degrees out which puts a bit of chill on the enjoyment. So I look, admire, try to get creative with the color I see.

Fall colors at Westmar Park in Le Mars, Iowa Sunday Oct. 16, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Or simply record the scene as the days pass and get shorter, cooler and darker.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Fall colors at Foster Park in Le Mars, Iowa Sunday Oct. 16, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fall colors at Westmar Park in Le Mars, Iowa Sunday Oct. 16, 2016. (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

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