Archive | Travel RSS feed for this section

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 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©)

Summertime in Siouxland, Nature in rural Nebraska

7 Aug

Summertime can be a cornucopia of critters, both large and mostly small. Insects blossom during this time of warmer temperatures and humid days. But what can a person do? When driving about in Siouxland I do stop my car and get out and take a look around. Sometimes a closer look, which makes it all the better when one is pleasantly surprised in nature.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A butterfly lands on a thistle in a field at Winnebago, NE August 3, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A butterfly finds a landing spot in a field at Winnebago, NE August 3, 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

Celebrating Heritage in Siouxland, Winnebago Pow Wow, Winnebago, NE

1 Aug

 

Various Native Americans with different tribes participate in the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring 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, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Winnebago Tribe recently celebrated its heritage at its 153rd consecutive annual Pow Wow honoring Chief Little Priest and his warriors who worked as scouts for the U.S. Calvary. The Pow Wow is all inclusive as other tribes also participate from across the U.S. and at times from Canada. The Grand Entrance is the beginning of the celebration each day in the main arena where drums and songs accompany dancing by the many tribe members.

A slow shutter speed accentuates the motion of a young boy dancing during the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring 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, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Various Indian tribes participate in the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring 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, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Each tribe and possibly clan within a tribe has its own particular style of dancing (traditional, grass or fancy and shawl dancing) which is reflected in the attire worn by the tribe members. And these styles and dances are passed down through the generations of family. Another aspect of the dancers is the incredible attire they wear and beautiful work that goes into each one’s creation.

A woman wears a finely beaded hair piece for the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring 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, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A couple with the Omaha Tribe and who live in Macy, NE get their son dressed in his Native American attire so he can participate in the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring 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, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Young girls and women also dance during the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring 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, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Tribe members and visitors can easily interact and chat giving one not familiar with Native American culture an opportunity to learn more about the Winnebago and other tribes and individuals that may travel hundreds of miles to participate and enjoy the camaraderie of similar heritage. If one has never attended such an event it is an enjoyable experience to meet people and gain insight into an American culture that is under appreciated although complicated, like many aspects of American culture, due to a contentious history of the U.S.’ evolution as a nation.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A participant of the Grand Entrance listens to opening remarks at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring 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, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of Native American dress is represented by various tribes from throughout the U.S. during the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring 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, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of Native American dress is represented by various tribes from throughout the U.S. during the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring 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, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of Native American dress is represented by various tribes from throughout the U.S. during the Grand Entrance at the 153rd consecutive annual Winnebago Pow Wow, honoring 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, in Winnebago, NE Friday, July 26, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

%d bloggers like this: