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Celebrating Labor Day in Siouxland, Hawarden

26 Sep

An Iowa Army National Guard Honor Flag unit lead as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Labor Day in Siouxland and the rest of the U.S. is the holiday that basically says summer is over and fall is beginning with everything else to follow. It’s the time to celebrate the working men and women that make an economy thrive. Most small towns celebrate Labor Day in one way or another. Hawarden does so each year with a parade.

A grain elevator anchors one end of down town as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The West Sioux High School football team rides in the parade and is a combination of Hawarden, Ireton and Chatsworth communities that consolidated their school resources. Residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Members of the West Sioux High School cheer team rides in the parade and is a combination of Hawarden, Ireton and Chatsworth communities that consolidated their school resources. Residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The small town community celebrates its small town atmosphere. A number of floats contain local town folk, young and older. And the streets are lined from downtown out to a city park with food booths and other entertainment. Probably mild by larger city standards, the parade is enjoyed by the community residents and a chance to relax before life becomes more hectic as schools once again are up and running after the summer break and farmers anticipate their fall crop harvest normally started in October and November, depending on the crop growing season.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sioux County Youth Fair royalty, princess KAIE PLENDL, left, queen OLIVIA FEDDERS, center and Little Miss Sioux County BREA LEUSINK, ride a float as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Always a favorite as small town parades the Abu Bekr Shrine Rat Patrol perform precision driving along the parade route as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A young boys points out the large tractor and grain wagon as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Mariachi band performs along the parade route as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Graduating class members of 1972 from West Sioux High School participate in the parade as residents and guests line the street to watch the 2022 Big Sioux River Labor Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 5, 2022 in downtown Hawarden, Iowa. The small western Iowa community is home to roughly 2,500 people and while the celebration’s name and homage has morphed over the 60 decades the parade has been in existence, area locals and former residents still return to partake and visit with old friends. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hobnobbing with Fellow Wizards (photographers) from around Siouxland, Gene Leahy Mall, Omaha, NE

20 Sep

A water pool and art installation seen during a Rockbrook Camera photo walk at the Gene Leahy Mall in Omaha, NE Friday, August 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Instructors and photo enthusiasts enjoy a night out photographing during a Rockbrook Camera photo walk at the Gene Leahy Mall in Omaha, NE Friday, August 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As much as I like to get out and travel to various points in and around Siouxland, and points outside of the Siouxland region during solo trips, it is also fun to sometimes hang out with fellow photography enthusiasts, chatting and learning from others.

A recent outing in Omaha, NE at the Gene Leahy Mall, brought together a collection of photographers through a photo walkabout sponsored by the Rockbrook Camera photo club. Everyone’s mission was to make an interesting photo within the confines of the mall, which has recently been redone by the city, and those were later shared amongst the participants. A couple of instructors from Rockbrook were on hand to answer questions and guide the group through the 2-hour session.

Photo enthusiasts enjoy a night out photographing during a Rockbrook Camera photo walk at the Gene Leahy Mall in Omaha, NE Friday, August 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Downtown Omaha in the background during a Rockbrook Camera photo walk at the Gene Leahy Mall in Omaha, NE Friday, August 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Contrasting shapes seen during a Rockbrook Camera photo walk at the Gene Leahy Mall in Omaha, NE Friday, August 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The friendly group wandered about checking out various angles and designs provided by surrounding buildings and artwork within the mall area. When a collection of photographers assemble in the same setting I am always amazed at the various subjects of interest and different interpretations achieved by different individuals. When I previously taught a Photo Safari class at a local community college the most fun was seeing all the images at the end of the 6-week session and listening to those in the class amazed at how people saw the same situations and subjects, but created varying images that represented the individuals interpretations.

A scene during the Rockbrook Camera photo walk at the Gene Leahy Mall in Omaha, NE Friday, August 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Jerred Zegelis of Rockbrook Camera, one of two instructors for a photo walk at the Gene Leahy Mall in Omaha, NE Friday, August 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A little girl enjoyed a water pool and photo enthusiasts took advantage of her getting wet as her mom watched during a Rockbrook Camera photo walk at the Gene Leahy Mall in Omaha, NE Friday, August 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As I would always tell students when out shooting with them on the Safari photo trips that I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a day than making photographs. It’s still true, and the Siouxland and surrounding region still provide much material to explore and share.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Downtown Omaha is seen in the background during a photo walkabout outing by Rockbrook Camera at the Gene Leahy Mall in Omaha, NE Friday, August 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some ducks know a good thing as they are fed in a small lagoon area seen during a Rockbrook Camera photo walk at the Gene Leahy Mall in Omaha, NE Friday, August 26, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating History and Tradition in Siouxland, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska’s 156th Annual Homecoming Celebration, Winnebago, NE

10 Sep

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One annual event I look forward to while traipsing around Siouxland is the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska’s Homecoming celebration which has been annually celebrated since the tribe’s Chief Little 7Priest and his warriors returned home from serving with the U.S. Calvary in the 1860’s. Since that time many of the tribe’s members have served and continue serving in the U.S. military. And the homecoming celebration honors those veterans current and past.

It is also a time when tribal members and other tribes can “show off” their regalia and dancing skills as many contest are held throughout the 4-day event which is a chance for non native individuals to meet and learn about their Native neighbors. And where members of the various tribes pass on their traditions to their younger children and relations always remembering the reason why they celebrate.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in an intertribal dance during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in an intertribal dance during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebrates its 156th Pow Wow celebration at Veterans Memorial Park Pow Wow grounds in Winnebago, NE Sunday, July 31, 2022. The pow wow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers with local, regional and national tribes participate in the Grand Entry during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 29, 2022. The powwow honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing History Re-enacted in Siouxland, Canton Civil War Days, Canton, SD

8 Sep

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently I attended a Civil War battle re-enactment in Siouxland of the Champion Hill battle that took place outside of Vicksburg, MS in 1863. Interestingly enough the family that hosted this event had a great grandfather or great, great grandfather who actually fought in this particular battle and was part of an Illinois regiment that fought for the North during the Civil War. Sometimes listening to speakers and commentators speaking through a loud system one does not always hear correctly. And this was the first year this event was held.

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

From news accounts I read, a local from the area of Canton had become interested in Civil War re-enactments and attended some in the past out of state. But with the last couple of years or so being skewed by the Covid pandemic and possibly not wanting to travel so far, this individual began investigating whether or not such a re-enactment of an actual event could take place in Canton. There were some accounts about this being possibly controversial, only because at the time of the Civil War, the Dakota Territory was still just that, a territory and not yet divided into two individual states.

Re-enactors portraying Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas discuss issues of the day during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An audience listens as re-enactors portraying Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas discuss issues of the day during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This re-enactor from Missouri talks about his interest in the Civil War history when in 2005 wasinvited to participate in a staged battle and has stayed involved participating in many staged events throughout the county, the latest at the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Confederate Army encampment seen during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During the re-enactment two “gentlemen” dressed in period attire spoke about the war and added many factoids and bits and pieces of the war between the states. I am not certain where these gents haled from or their background, but they were knowledgeable. Nor did they sugar coat or try “rewriting” history but said through all written declarations about the South and its secession it was all about the slavery. And the ability of the southern land owners to continue reaping benefits and profits from enforced slavery to plant and harvest crops. The men also talked about the toll of the war on communities and the men who fought. They recited facts and figures of desertions from men for the South and the North who became disenfranchised with the fighting that dragged on for years which was much different than what many were told at the outset. That the war would be over in a short time. Much like the bravado evidenced in the movie “Gone with the Wind”. But reality was much different and much crueler.

A Union Army encampment seen during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An audience takes a seat along a farm field road to watch the staged Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John (seen in blue tee shirt) and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A smoke ring created after firing a canon as Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I found the running commentary helpful in putting facts and fiction and other accounts into perspective. One can always take what is said with a grain of salt. And today, so many “learned” folk try to rewrite history to serve their own purpose. Many politicians of all stripes and parties. Shameless. It seems sometimes that ethics and honor doesn’t really matter anymore. But it was an interesting glimpse into the past of this country and in talking with a few of those participating in the battle, all have a genuine interest in the history and portraying it honestly, traveling from eight different states to attend. History never changes, it’s just the interpretation.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Documenting the Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Documenting the Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Civil War re-enactors from eight states stage the Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An audience takes a seat along a farm field road to watch the staged Champion Hill battle of May 16, 1863 during the Canton Civil War Days in Canton, South Dakota, Saturday, August 13, 2022. The Civil War Days take place on the property of John and Lori Lems, whose great grandfather, or great, great grandfather fought for the North in an Illinois regiment in the actual Champion Hill battle that took place in Mississippi. It was a pivotal battle in the Vicksburg campaign of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursuing the Confederate States Army of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating History and Heritage in Siouxland, Honoring Veterans, Winnebago, NE

25 Aug

Members of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska hoist American flags at dawn, one representing current and former members of the U.S. military, as they celebrate the tribe’s156th Pow Wow celebration at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Thursday, July 28, 2022. The homecoming honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Every year for the last 156 years the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska has held a “Homecoming Celebration” that other folk know as a powwow that takes place in Siouxland. I have attended the homecoming over the years and besides the pageantry that does take place with various tribal members displaying their regalia while dancing for competitions or enjoying what is an intertribal dance, the main purpose of the homecoming is honoring the veterans of the tribe and veterans in general who have served the U.S. which began when Chief Little Priest and his warriors of of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. Each day of the celebration flags are raised at dawn and the colors retired before sunset.

Members of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska hoist American flags at dawn, one representing current and former members of the U.S. military, as they celebrate the tribe’s156th Pow Wow celebration at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Thursday, July 28, 2022. The homecoming honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Members of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska hoist American flags at dawn, one representing current and former members of the U.S. military, as they celebrate the tribe’s156th Pow Wow celebration at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Thursday, July 28, 2022. The homecoming honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Members of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska hoist American flags at dawn, one representing current and former members of the U.S. military, as they celebrate the tribe’s156th Pow Wow celebration at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Thursday, July 28, 2022. The homecoming honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

After an afternoon of dancing and displaying of regalia by the various tribes who attend and participate, the colors are retired, and for both posting and removing, all veterans are asked to attend and help out with respect for those who have served and fought in wars since the 1800’s to the present day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Colors are retired for the day as the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebrates its 156th Powwow celebration at Veterans Memorial Park Powwow grounds in Winnebago, NE Saturday, July 30, 2022. The homecoming honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A veteran salutes as the Colors are retired for the day as the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebrates its 156th Powwow celebration at Veterans Memorial Park Pow Wow grounds in Winnebago, NE Saturday, July 30, 2022. The homecoming honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Gustave Smith, a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska served as a tank operator under the command of General George S. Patton during WWII and was honored this year during the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska celebration of its 156th Powwow at Veterans Memorial Park Pow Wow grounds in Winnebago, NE Sunday, July 31, 2022. The homecoming honors the return of War Chief Little Priest and his warriors of Company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts Nebraska Volunteers, who were scouts for the U.S. Calvary from 1863-66. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Passing Through Siouxland while Blinking, Westfield

17 Aug

A flower planter at a park in downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A lot of times when I am driving about Siouxland it tends to be doing the week and most times there are not a lot of people about. Sometimes when attending an event in a small town there will be more folk. But I enjoy seeing what architecture is still in place and it always makes me wonder how a community has changed through the years, most always thriving at first with the railroad passing through or nearby and then slowly evolving and changing over the decades, century as life and work revolves less around agriculture and small towns and more about industrialization and larger cities.

A former hardware store in downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A view of downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A former gas pump decorates the outside of a bar and grill in downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Westfield has been in existence for a long time but searching online doesn’t net one a lot of information. Like so many smaller communities it seems a quiet place to live and come home to away from a busier world outside of the community. Although some necessities may seem lacking, one would guess the residents are content and enjoy the quiet and solitude they have come to embrace.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An antique agricultural implement at a park in downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A former U.S. Post Office in downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A former business gets a make over in downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

City hall in downtown Westfield, Iowa Saturday, July 16, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Screaming for Ice Cream, Ice Cream Days, Le Mars

31 Jul

A pet pooch keeps its “eye on the ball” or ice cream wrapper during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A annual Siouxland community celebration is the Ice Cream Days in Le Mars. Wells Enterprises is the located there and the maker of Blue Bunny Ice Cream.

A Blue Bunny “bunny’ mobile snakes its way down a main drag during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A small marching band steps in cadence as they await their turn to play during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A number of floats, mostly ice cream related, travel along the parade route. And a big hit is when the Blue Bunny folk go by and hand out frozen ice cream sandwiches. Even at 10 a.m. who can refuse such a treat. But one crowd favorite every year are the go carts driven by a Shriners group as they raucously careen up and down the street performing maneuvers and spinning out and often times laying rubber.

A young girl covers her ears right of the Shriners’ go-cart during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During any parade Shriners’ go-cart performances are always a big attraction even with the noise created by the whine of the many engines seen during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Another large contingent of floats this year was a family reunion. There were four floats, each filled with maybe 15-20 people per each one, meaning it was a large family and ever larger family reunion once all the kids, grandkids, etc. were added in. For a Saturday morning, it’s a nice way to start one’s summer weekend. Everyone screams for ice cream.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The first of four parade floats containing a large family gathering reunion join in during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Tractors are always a big hit during any parade and are present at the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A girl anticipates the balloon creation she will get from a clown at the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A girl smiles at the balloon creation a clown gave her at the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating One’s History in Siouxland, Tulip Festival, Orange City

11 Jul

A dance is performed by older students generally in high school at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a few smaller communities in the Siouxland region that each celebrate their cultural heritage on a yearly basis. One of those being the Tulip Festival in Orange City. The entire community seems to get behind the celebration and most everyone seems to be involved, children through adults. The costumes, dances and other “cultural” activities depicted are a fun way to explore and see where a community hails from and their remembrance of those roots. And as is oft stated, pictures are worth a thousand words.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Dancers enjoy themselves performing at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The boy makes a speedy turn with the young lady as a dance is performed by older students generally in high school at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A flag bearer waves during the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A dance is performed by older students generally in high school at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looks like a challenge among the bicycle singers at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A parade participant heads to the starting point for the event at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One of the artisans hawking wares of the day typically found in early Dutch days in the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A character in costume at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Various flags of the Netherlands on display during the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The MOC Floyd High School marching band performs during the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dancers enjoy themselves while performing at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The MOC Floyd High School marching band performs during the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A dance is performed by older students generally in high school at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A local junior high school band baton twirlers perform at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Local junior High school band members perform during the parade at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sharing One’s Heritage in Siouxland, Tulip Festival, Orange City

17 Jun

Young boys “clean the streets” and themselves as per tradition during the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have attended the Tulip Festival for many years in Siouxland which occurs over a three-day period. The community of Orange City celebrates its Dutch Heritage with sometimes well over 20,000 visitors in one day. A review of the various areas of the Netherlands are represented by folk in the regalia they wear which depicts what part of the country and the status of the folk wearing the outfits.

While that is educational, one of the better parts in my opinion is the street cleaning. It can never be clean enough.

Boys place water for “cleaning the streets” during the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Boys place water for “cleaning the streets” during the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes it’s a near miss for the young girls who follow with brooms to sweep the street clean during the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The burgermeister or mayor, walks the parade route and then declares it untidy and a “band” of boys appear and begin to pour water onto the streets and each other followed by young and girls and often their mothers sweeping to make the street/parade route presentable for visitors to enjoy the parade.

Young girls and their mothers sweep the water strewn street for the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Young girls and their mothers sweep the water strewn street for the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Young girls and their mothers sweep the water strewn street for the the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When the streets are clean the parade begins and all is right in the world.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Young girls and their mothers sweep the water strewn street for the the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Young girls and their mothers sweep the water strewn street for the the 81st Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa, May 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Remembering on Memorial Day in Siouxland, Ireton

30 May

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers assist in putting out flags alongside 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Memorial Day in Siouxland is remembered by a large majority of folk. It always seems a bittersweet kind of memory. And with the recent spate of mass murder shootings the remembrance is not going to get any easier.

Originally designed to remember those who had fought during the Civil War, Memorial Day today seems to embrace remembering those who served their country and also for the loved ones who are no longer with us.

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers erected 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers erected 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An organizer for the white cross and flag display explained this was something new this year for the community, in most part sponsored by the American Legion Bertram Post #276. The 197 with crosses represent those veterans buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery who served between WWI to the present.

Community volunteers came out early on a Saturday morning to add the flags to the crosses as well as putting up larger flags that would line a drive into the cemetery. And weather permitting, a service will be held Monday morning.

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers erected 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers assist in putting out flags alongside 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

JIM HUENINK places a flag near a white cross prior to Memorial Day. Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers assist in putting out flags alongside 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Ireton is a small northwest Iowa community with a population approaching 600. Memories in small towns are usually taken seriously by community members. Whether it be a remembrance like Memorial Day or when the high school (if there is one these days, and even if there isn’t anymore) won a state championship in whatever sport. All holidays are somehow noted and shared before folk move on to their own sharing with family and friends for that particular day. A time for thought and a silent prayer that maybe life can be better for those who remain.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Members of the Ireton Cadet Club, under the leadership of the Ireton Christian Reformed church, volunteer to place flags alongside 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present, an event organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers erected 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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