Siouxland’s County Fairs, Clay County, Spencer

30 Sep

Every summer I try to attend a couple county fairs. But haven’t been too successful the last couple of years because of conflicting schedules. This year though I did travel to Spencer to visit the Clay County Fair. It’s a rather large affair, bigger than some closer to my home but still encompassing those quintessential elements that all county fairs incorporate. One is 4-H and FFA where kids exhibit their projects for the year whether it’s agricultural in nature or another kind of project.

Controlled chaos as 4-H members show their sows during a competition at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And people stroll the midway and take in the sights that only fairs offer.

A scene at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A mother takes a photo of her kids with her phone during the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A family enjoys the rides at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One young boy was admiring his freshly painted “ghoulish” face in the reflection of a doorway, not noticing a photographer standing nearby. Another couple was immortalizing their visit to the fair together.

A young boy checks out his newly painted face in a reflection of a doorway at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Jayden Helbing, left center, an Bailey Houston, right center, and both of Sioux Rapids, get their caricature drawn by Rex Rubenzer of Wisconsin at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

County fairs are where people come for a little down home entertainment. Some may think it a relic of the past but for small communities it’s one of those passing seasonal venues that people look forward to, relaxing (unless you are a 4-H parent), the chance to eat “bad” fair food like Funnel Cakes and cotton candy, take in some wholesome entertainment and a chance to forget about day to day activities. And these days, hopefully no politicians stopping by to impress people. A place where sometimes families enjoy reunions.

A family finishing taking a reunion photo catches another photographer taking a picture as well at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So fairs can wear one out walking about and taking in all the exhibits but people still do it and enjoy it and look forward again to next year to repeat the affair.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sometimes too much fair time can take a toll on a person as a man catches a nap in the shade at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A scene at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting History south of Siouxland, Union Pacific Railroad Museum, Council Bluffs

28 Sep

A history of the Union Pacific railroad and railroad history can be found in the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Various displays explain the evolution and progression of railroad history at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s nice to find gems of history in your backyard, or a neighbor’s backyard that you can visit and learn more about the region and history itself. The Union Pacific Railroad Museum is full of memorabilia and information about the the railroad coming of age and during its “golden” years before flying and airplanes displaced rail travel. It’s amazing the luxury such travel afforded if one could afford it.

Various displays show the romantic version of traveling by rail at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There was a lot of support staff involved in giving passengers a good safe ride on passenger trains. And I have read along the way that during those early days, when segregation was in full bloom that African Americans working for the railroad received a salary that allowed them a good living for their families. I have not researched to see if the pay was on par with others within the industry, but one would hope the railroad industry valued those employees also.

A display photograph showing the support staff used for passenger trains at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The museum has some fun exhibits, like the one where the “station master” talks to the customer, a very life-like animated projection of a person and the various watches, since the railroad ran on a time schedule as well as a myriad of watch lanterns used by conductors and other rail workers.

An almost real life looking ticket teller projection gives some history about the railroad while trying to sell you a ticket for the next train out at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of lanterns used by conductors and other railroad crew members seen at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A railroad runs on schedule and a bevy of conductor watches are on display at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The museum is a nice way to spend a couple of hours soaking in history and learning through exhibits. Sitting in downtown Council Bluffs, and only a few blocks from restaurants that dot the downtown area.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An almost realistic looking line of track at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A gallery of photographs showing famous people who traveled by rail at the Union Pacific Museum in downtown Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Views in Siouxland, Iowa Lakes and the Missouri River

26 Sep

I enjoy visiting areas around Siouxland that incorporate bodies of water. Whether it be visiting the Iowa Lakes region or up near Yankton, SD. I like water, watching it, the views and horizons.

Enjoying a day at the lakes in Arnolds Park, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying a day along the Missiouri River in Yankton, SD Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have read that bodies of water have a calming effect on people, and just gazing out onto the horizon can sometimes give us momentary peace of mind as well as making us contemplate what our own personal horizon is, and if we are willing to take the journey to reach them once we figure out what they may be.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying a day at the lakes in Arnolds Park, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying a day at the lakes in Arnolds Park, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Day in Siouxland, Stone State Park, Sioux City

24 Sep

Some days are just to be enjoyed. A walk in a local state park, taking in the sights and natural sounds, and just enjoying the moments of solitude, beauty and contemplation.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

National Old Time Music Festival in Siouxland, Le Mars, Part 3

22 Sep

Within a seven day span there is a lot of music happening at the National Old Time Music Festival in Siouxland in Le Mars and which this and other posts can barely do justice. But it’s a nice event, geared for families and people who want to relax and hear some old timey music in an outdoor setting, weather permitting.

Visitors listen to some gospel singing during the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Musicians coordinate with one another to play back up for each other during the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A number of performing coming from around the U.S. and other countries as well, to share their talent and play with others as each does his or her job in keeping alive music of another generation and era.

David Green, Avoca, second from right, sings and is accompanied by Terri Avery, Rowan, far left, Ed Tryon, Sioux City, second from left, and Fred Larson, South Omaha, NE, right, at the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors listen to David Green, Avoca, second from right, sing and accompanied by Terri Avery, Rowan, far left, Ed Tryon, Sioux City, second from left, and Fred Larson, South Omaha, NE, right at the 43rd annual National Old Time Music Festival at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And with the talent that attends the festival the music has a good chance of remaining important and relevant in many people’s lives for years to come.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Finding a Trail out of Siouxland, Western Historic Trails Center, Council Bluffs

20 Sep

Iowa and the Siouxland area was a jumping off point at one time for people two centuries ago traveling west.  A hidden little gem in Council Bluffs, the Western Historic Trails Center covers a variety of the trails moving out of the Siouxland area for people looking for a fresh start.

The Western Historic Trails Center tells the story about various trails leading west as America was settled and is located in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The center is situated in the southern portion of the city and is connected to other parks and places by paved trails, good both for walking and bike riding.

A sign delineates the distance for destinations along the trail that runs through and along the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Trails lead away from and to the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa seen Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. One particular 3-mile trail leads to the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge that crosses the Missouri River and takes the walker or biker into Omaha, NE, along the community’s waterfront. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One trail even connects to the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge that crosses the Missouri River and drops you into Omaha, NE along the river front. But inside the trails center is the story of people moving west. Small individual metal dioramas tell the story, as does early American postcards along a back wall depicting scenes from the possibly 19th and 20 centuries.

Quite an expansive area is set up to help explain the movement west by settlers as America expanded its boundaries at the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Various metal dioramas tell the story of the settlers’ movement west at the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The center has nice grounds where people can picnic or take a rest if using the trails, as well as a sculpted piece telling the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition. And it’s these stories in places like the Trails Center about the history of people striving for a better life that helps paint the picture of America and its becoming a nation. A melting pot of diversity and cultures blending together to live a better life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A sculpted piece by artist Nan Wilson showing the Lewis and Clark trip up along the Missouri River during their exploration for President Thomas Jefferson seen at the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A nicely shaded picnic area graces the grounds of the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Various metal dioramas tell the story of the settlers’ movement west at the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa Friday, Aug. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing Details in Siouxland, Linn Grove

18 Sep

Driving about in Siouxland there are so many places to visit and revisit that sometimes I wonder what I might find this time after choosing one. These places are not the WOW of New York City or AWE of say LA, but quiet scenes in small towns that are but a spec in the scheme of things. The flash of an eye as one sails through. And sometimes it is the details of a place that I enjoy most, although somewhat out of context when seen by itself.

Downtown Linn Grove, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Linn Grove has a little over 150 people living in it. A couple store fronts and mostly residents off the beaten track. In the fall with its curving road running through its downtown and out into the rolling hills it gets an almost New England kind of feel to it. And so for me in small places like this I like small details, present but not overtly so.

Lichen growing on an abandoned railroad crossing bridge over a creek near Linn Grove, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A small look of a much larger scene.

 

Shapes and designs in Linn Grove, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

All places have there charm, and blemishes. Bigger cities blemishes show more because there seems to be more of them. And they are bigger. Small communities have them too, but all are pretty in their own way. Even if viewed at a particular angle while screening out the surrounding sights, for that moment it’s just a lovely sight.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A flower following the sun in Linn Grove, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A blue door in Linn Grove, Iowa Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

%d bloggers like this: