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National Old Time Music Festival in Siouxland, Le Mars

15 Oct

The National Old Time Music Festival held in Le Mars, Iowa occurred in August and I sometimes I am not prompt in getting timely items posted. The festival happens at the Plymouth County fairgrounds and brings together people of all skill levels to perform or possibly just jam with other musicians.

When attending this event, I like to record some sound because as much as I like photography, there are sometimes those events where sound and motion are important to give a viewer a better idea of what is involved. And for a viewer like myself it is a nice day spent listening to “old timey” music and shutting out the outside world for a short while.

 

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Hanging onto History in Siouxland, Smithland

12 Sep

In the last few weeks I visited a small museum in Smithland, Iowa that I have driven past the log cabin museum a number of years. It was never open when I happened to be passing through, and although I wrote down a phone number off a sign, I remembered never to call. Until finally I did. And what a pleasant and yet, sad surprise. Pleasant because they are so many “treasures” and historical artifacts located in this small museum which is a replica of an earlier school built by the founder of the community, O.B. Smith. Sad because there is only one person, Katherine Mack, who is manning the “fort” and trying to keep the museum operating, functioning and a source of local pride and history.

I sat down with Katherine and talked with her and put together a short video piece hoping it my find her some help through other locals or individuals wanting to preserve area history. But for all the daunting aspects of what Katherine faces, she is full of energy and hope, and I believe will succeed in her quest to keep the museum open and available to those who want to learn more about Smithland and the surrounding area.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland’s Summer Fairs, Woodbury County

24 Aug

Summer fairs continue with a celebration that is still somewhat grounded in honoring agriculture. Midways have been added with rides, talent show contests, but still the fairs are comprised in a large part by 4-H clubs exhibiting their animal and other projects. The Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa, is no different and it gives young people a chance to show skills and learned activities other than sports in school.

But mostly it is a time to celebrate another year and look forward to the next.

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland Celebrates History, Hospers

15 Aug

A number of communities celebrated their 125th or quasiquicentennial this summer in Siouxland, and Hospers, Iowa was one of them. A number of small communities are still in existence if not exactly thriving as they once did when more people lived in rural Iowa and rural America for that matter.

Pride is still evident in these small towns and its a joy to visit and see everyone enjoying themselves seeing friends and family again and remembering past times. And the parades are always great.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Honoring those who serve from Siouxland, Le Mars

7 Jun

A week ago the entire nation paid tribute to those who have served in this country’s military, and for some paid the ultimate price. There really isn’t much more for me to add to what many others have said except thank you to those who have and are serving. In Siouxland a Memorial Observance is held in many communities. Again this year I attended the ceremony in Le Mars, Iowa. Similar to last year‘s ceremony, it honors and remembers those from the area. It is just a nice ceremony and every year more flags are added to those displayed around the Plymouth County Courthouse dedicated by families and friends of those who have served.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Finding history in Siouxland, Hornick

18 Apr

Recently I drove through the small community of Hornick, Iowa on my way to the southern portion of Siouxland when I saw the small town’s public library. I am certain I had seen it before, but it didn’t register. The brick building is the original library, built in 1895. And a later addition was added in the 1970’s I believe.

The library wasn’t open the day I drove through and so went back to check it out and was pleasantly surprised that it has been in continuous use since its opening and has served countless residents of this small community and is still a meeting place for locals, if the only meeting place. And it is the locals that will keep the history of the building and its need for the community functioning, providing a place to spend time and meet friends and remember their own past and connection to the community.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Municipal Band in Siouxland, Sioux City

7 Jul

Sioux City’s, Iowa, Municipal Band plays every Sunday evening in Grandview Park at the Bandshell, at least until July 27. The bandshell was built during the WPA days during the Depression in the 1930’s. It’s a nice venue and the music emanates out and fills the space with sound. This past 4th of July weekend the Municipal Band played a number of Americana songs, the themes to the various armed services and Aaron Copeland’s Theme for the common man. It’s a nice venue and families bring their kids and sit and listen for 1.5 hours enjoying the ambience and a practice dating back a few decades when families and couples spent a Sunday afternoon or evening just enjoying the day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

 

Calliope Village in Siouxland, Hawarden

12 May

With Memorial Day nearing and the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, there are a number of travel destinations in the Siouxland region that is a short drive, fun to see, and educational at the same time. But that last part probably depends on your age and definition of summer fun. The replica of Calliope Village in Hawarden, Iowa, is regarded as the first community and first county seat of Sioux County, Iowa. A number of buildings, original or replicas are on display and open during the summer season for people to take a step back in time.

And if you get to talking with any of the docents who are on hand, many can help people understand what life was like during that time period in the late 1800’s. Even a little gossip about another Sioux County community who stole a safe and became the county seat because of it.

Summer is a nice time to get away, even if only for a day or two, and a chance to explore one’s surroundings and see what is there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland’s geocaching adventure at the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, Sioux City

24 Nov

Resource naturalist Jim Henning of the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center presented a geocaching program recently as a way to get children interested in the outdoors through the use of hi-tech gear. Henning said so many kids these days have their face in front of a screen, weather it is a monitor, TV or smart phone, that he hopes if he can pique their curiosity he can get them outside experiencing nature as well as utilizing 21st century technology.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Siouxland Remembers United Airlines Flight 232 Crash, Sioux City

25 Jul

This past weekend Sioux City, Iowa, celebrated an anniversary. Not especially a happy one, but one of survival, one remembrance, and one of a community coming together to help those in dire need. It was the 25th anniversary of United Airlines Flight 232 which crash landed in Sioux City, July 19, 1989, due to an historic engine failure never before occurring. An anniversary of 112 who did not survive, and a 186 who did survive. Of the entire Siouxland community, not just Sioux City, that responded in a crisis and through that response helped save many lives. The 25th anniversary occurred over three days, the first being a community discussion about what took place with Capt. Al Haynes and flight attendant Jan Brown, both crew members, talking about what happened that day along with others, including first responders. The following day was a remembrance of the 112 who did not survive, with survivor Jerry Schemmel and again, Capt. Al Haynes talking what occurred. The third day was an outdoor service, again remembering those who did not survive but also thanking the Lord for watching over those who did. With a little searching online, information about the crash, as well as current reports are easily available for a fuller look at what occurred.

I was not living in the Siouxland area at the time, but working for a  newspaper in Louisiana. And I don’t really remember hearing about the crash, embarrassingly too focused on my job at the time that it didn’t register. But I do remember a friend I worked with talking about the crash. Listening to the stories this past weekend, how it affected so many people and the outpouring of support and help from small communities in the Midwest restores one faith in people helping one another. Something sorely missing in Washington and many state legislatures these days. But this weekend’s celebration again showed the caring nature of people and the strong pull of memories such an event has on individuals makes a lasting impression. To learn so much good came out of such a horrific event in heartening, but doesn’t displace the heartache felt by so many.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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