Tag Archives: orange city iowa

Enjoying Late Blooms in Siouxland, Orange City

24 Jul

Tulips planted for the May Tulip Festival are now fading in Orange City, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Flowers are a good reminder of fleeting moments and changing seasons in Siouxland. During the Tulip Festival in Orange City the Dutch community relishes in displaying its “Dutchness” and tulips are found everywhere and every year, except when that darn pesky winter season hangs on into spring.

A few weeks after the cancelled Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Tulips continue blooming in Orange City, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it’s nice to be able to enjoy the spring blooms as long as one cans, in vain hopes of slowing down time or preserving another moment of stillness and contentment. But time doesn’t stop and these late bloomers have since passed with summer now in full bloom.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Tulips planted for the May Tulip Festival are now fading in Orange City, Iowa Friday, May 29, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing “Outside the Box” in Siouxland, Orange City

28 Jun

Flags are displayed along a downtown street for Memorial Day in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

The one aspect of photography I enjoy is the creativity it allows its practitioners to pursue no matter what their subject preference to photograph. And even though subject matter is limitless, it’s what a photographer retains within the frame that makes or breaks the image and whether other individuals can relate to the image when viewing it.

I enjoy photographing in the square format. It’s a bit challenging to fill the frame with the required elements to make an image stand out. The dimensions do not always accommodate all subject matter. And since medium format film cameras are not widely used anymore, this style of photography has somewhat fallen out of view and practice.

Storefronts in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

I find the format helpful especially when working with lines and angles. There are already four right angles creating the square image which hopefully reinforces what is contained within.

A light post peeks out front a row of trees near a park in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

But maybe I am trying to hard to create something that isn’t there, but then, maybe that is the purpose. The execution of an idea is possibly a more important aspect of art, whether or not the actual art or resulting image is successful. But the feeling of something being successful helps propel the artist to continue making art and pushing boundaries (mostly their own) to experiment and create something different, new (maybe to themselves) and to keep trying. Perfecting a way of seeing and accomplishing a goal they may only vaguely understand themselves. Ah, that age old dilemma, is it the chicken or the egg that came first?

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A welcome sign to visitors on a shop downtown in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

Hands-on Learning in Siouxland, Young Journalists ply their Craft, Orange City

16 Jun

 

World Journalism Institute summer workshop participants Rebekah, left and Micaela, right, prepare their cameras to interview a subject in Orange City, Iowa Saturday May 26, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Recently I met two young ladies who were “learning” and expanding their knowledge of journalism, studying at Dordt University in Sioux Center, attending the World Journalism Institute workshop. The workshop gives them “real-life” experiences reporting stories about locals through which they write, photograph, collect audio and video and produce different end projects so they get a taste of what the various mediums are available to today’s journalists. And the institute from what I understand does this through a more Christian perspective, as per a description on the Institute’s website:

“Our mission is to recruit, equip, place and encourage journalists who are Christians. Journalism is a high calling. WJI is concerned with covering news that remembers the needs of the “uns”: the unborn, the uneducated, the unemployed, and the unfashionable. At WJI’s summer course, you will learn how to hone your writing skills for God’s glory. Journalists and editors who’ve spent decades reporting at home and abroad will grow and challenge you. You can actually get paid to write history’s rough draft, and WJI prepares you for that experience. You’ll witness firsthand social and political settings you might never have been able to access otherwise.”

I met the women in Orange City where remnants of the recent Tulip Festival was still evident on a nice, finally, spring day. Rebekah and Micaela had many questions to which I probably only had a few answers and hope my sharing stories and experiences benefited them a little bit.

Families take photos of still blooming tulips at Windmill Park near downtown Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

Tulips still bloom a week after the Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Students from the workshop were scattered about the region covering stories of interest, and maybe of near interest as I heard of disappointing almost happened stories that fell through and the students were scrambling to fulfill their assignments.

And there were probably other opportunities for stories in Orange City as it seemed especially busy that Saturday morning I visited with them which is a good thing, because I have been there previously when it was more quiet.

A young boy twirls a flag as he walks in downtown Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A family prepares to take photos of three people inside the Wooden Shoe at Windmill Park in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Having previously worked for a few different small community newspapers I always enjoyed doing stories in small towns. Again, getting a chance to learn about a place and its residents and sharing their stories with their neighbors and friends. One never knows who one might meet or what story might unfold if you take the time to listen and ask about people’s experiences. And hopefully these two young women and their colleagues spent a fruitful two weeks learning and refining their own skills and creating the kinds of mistakes one only wants to make once as they strive to become storytellers, better listeners, and empathetic to those entrusting them with shared tales.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

World Journalism Institute summer workshop participant, Micaela, photographs a subject she and partner Rebekah just interviewed in Orange City, Iowa Saturday May 26, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

World Journalism Institute summer workshop participants Rebekah, right and Micaela, left, prepare their cameras to interview a subject in Orange City, Iowa Saturday May 26, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Celebrating Dutch Heritage in Siouxland, Orange City

4 Jun

A young boy rests in his father’s arms as his mom explains he needs a nap during the Orange City, Iowa Tulip Festival, Thursday, May 16 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Catching every corner of the street these two ladies leave no inch untouched during the street scrubbing at the Orange City, Iowa Tulip Festival, Thursday, May 16 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The annual Siouxland Tulip Festival recently once again allowed the community of Orange City to exhibit its Dutch roots and heritage and program a nice day for those attending for a pleasant day trip and a community celebrating. There are some tasty treats both in seeing costumes depicting various regions of the Netherlands as well as food items. Many people participating in the festivities have been doing so for years, maybe decades, beginning when they were students in the schools and later as adults.

There is always time during the Straat Feest to take time and say hello to friends as participants “model” authentic, distinct and varied Dutch attire from the Netherlands during the Orange City, Iowa Tulip Festival, Thursday, May 16 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Local high school students perform traditional Dutch dances at the Orange City, Iowa Tulip Festival, Thursday, May 16 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Civilians “hoof it” across the street as local high school students hoof it as they perform traditional Dutch dances during the Orange City, Iowa Tulip Festival, Thursday, May 16 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always fascinated watching people and while it shouldn’t I am still surprised  that with so much activity going on around one that some folk, while possibly sharing the day, seem more likely disconnected from what is actually happening.

With a lot of Tulip Festival activity going on around them, two young ladies still find time to possibly do social media while in Orange City, Iowa, Thursday, May 16 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But it’s fun to see folk sharing their heritage and for some school children, especially those involved in the street cleaning, there may be a little more going on. One young man this year seemed to get caught between his many friends while preparing the streets for the parade.

Participants chat as they await the start of the the Straat Feest where they “model” authentic, distinct and varied Dutch attire from the Netherlands during the Orange City, Iowa Tulip Festival, Thursday, May 16 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The amount of fun that school children (boys) have when cleaning the “dirty” streets is not lost on them, especially on a warm day during the Orange City, Iowa Tulip Festival, Thursday, May 16 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The amount of fun that school children (boys) have when cleaning the “dirty” streets is not lost on them, especially on a warm day during the Orange City, Iowa Tulip Festival, Thursday, May 16 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The amount of fun that school children (boys) have when cleaning the “dirty” streets is not lost on them, especially on a warm day during the Orange City, Iowa Tulip Festival, Thursday, May 16 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Ah, what are friends for anyway but to share experiences they can look back on in years to come. And possibly have families that remain in the area and see their children partaking of the same experiences and making their own memories with their friends and sharing a pride of community and heritage that defines a special time and place.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The bristles on the broom look well worn away as a mother also pulls a wagon with her daughters “resting” during the Orange City, Iowa Tulip Festival, Thursday, May 16 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A display of wooden shoes at the Orange City, Iowa Tulip Festival, Thursday, May 16 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Tulips and Ancestry in Siouxland, Orange City’s Tulip Festival

1 Jun

I always my visits to the Tulip Festival in Siouxland located in Orange City each year. It’s a nice family event that also has families involved from the community as they work together to welcome visitors and share their love of their Dutch ancestry.

Participants wear a wide variety of costuming representing different areas and cultures of the Netherlands during the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Cellphones are out recording their favorite dancers during the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Before the street cleaning which takes place and a parade of regional dress specific to the Netherlands, a group of singers, The Fiesten Zangers or bicycle singers ride up and down the main downtown street stopping to share a few songs in Dutch and welcoming those attending the festival.

Some of the Fietsen Zangers, or bicycle singers, “rides” are deocrated as they perform a capella for visitors during the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Fietsen Zangers, or bicycle singers, wait to perform a capella for visitors during the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s a nice way to spend the day, especially if the weather is nice enjoying a community celebration and food and the spirit of a small town.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Young boys “empty” their buckets during the Street Scrubbing at the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Parade participants stroll the streets in costume until the start of the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors recrod and photograph the Fietsen Zangers, or bicycle singers, who perform a capella for visitors during the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Fietsen Zangers, or bicycle singers, ride down the street to perform a capella during the 78th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday May 17, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A wet Tulip Festival Celebration, Orange City

8 Jun

Of the number of years I have now lived in the Siouxland area I can not recall a more rainy day for the Tulip Festival in Orange City. Although I am certain others will easily recall that. One gentleman I talked with this year while attending the festival told me he remembers as a child playing an instrument in the marching band wearing his wooden shoes and trudging through a late snow. Mother Nature can be a bit capricious sometimes.

This time it drizzled and rained almost all of the time. Not heavy, but steady. And with expected storms to roll into the area in the late afternoon and evening, the normally two parade times were combined into one. I stayed around for most of it, but not all. Having never been to the parade in rainy weather I was a bit gamed to see what images I could come away with. The majority of them contained umbrellas. The darker than normal overcast skies helped create a mood but visitors seemed undaunted by the weather.

Sometimes people’s true feelings can show as this couple always enjoyed the festival but not the weather during the Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 20, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The use of so many umbrellas gave me some natural framing devices, as well as the “shade” of the trees focusing a viewer’s eyes on what I want them to see in my images.

Umbrellas could be found everywhere during a wet Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Saturday, May 20, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lastly, I enjoyed being able to some extent single out some of the young dancers of which the girls seemed thrilled to perform and the boys reluctant participants. But the food I had tasted the same, and with so many umbrellas people offered a space while I shot in different locations.A sunny day would not have given me the same results and I didn’t mind a little drizzle and certainly didn’t mind the cooler weather.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Faces in Siouxland, Tulip Festival, Orange City

23 May

As many times as I return to the Tulip Festival in Orange City I am always seeing new and more faces. The entire community is involved in a effort to keep the town’s Dutch Heritage alive  and join in the celebration whether dancing traditional folk pieces, performing in various productions or parading through the streets. One always gets a Midwest welcome from smiling faces and people who genuinely seem to enjoy their 3-day holiday.

Faces of the annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And most of the time entire families are involved in the celebration. I have met and chatted with people that are now adults who remember their childhood participating in children’s activities associated with the parade. And the adults’s parents recall their participation. And now it’s the adult’s children who participate while the adults have moved on to adult enterprises associated with the festival.

Faces of the annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The costumes worn by the residents representing various cultures within the Dutch heritage whether fisherman, cheese makers, farmers, it gives the visitor a glimpse into the past and a little bit of knowledge of where the ancestors of these people hail from. Plus, the food is not bad. And sweets. Did I mention coffee? It’s just a nice day to enjoy a celebration.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Celebrating Dutch History in Siouxland, Orange City

19 May

This weekend is the annual Tulip Festival in Siouxland in Orange City. The small community celebrates its Dutch heritage with locals dressing in costume and performing traditional dancing, street cleaning and a parade of all things Dutch. It’s a three-day celebration. And it’s always fun, even if the weather doesn’t always cooperate. This year it is wet and cool, well maybe cold. Temperatures for some days are expected to be in the low 50’s. Chilly if you can’t wear a coat over your costume. However, for a photographer it gives one the chance to shoot a little differently.

Flowers are part of the parade of costumes exploring traditional Dutch dress of various regions at the annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have been photographing the event for a few years now. And so with a little change in weather it gives me an opportunity to photograph the event a little differently.The overcast sky makes it easier to shoot without harsh shadows and colors seem to pop a bit more, although the tulips seem to be suffering a little with such a cold, wet spring.

A cold wet spring has left blooming tulips a little less spectacular than previous years although a good resting spot for a fly at the annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are so many different facets of the festival that sometimes the choices can kind of keep a person from shooting at all, or not paying enough attention as you flit from scene to scene trying to capture it all.

Town youngsters perform one of several Dutch dances during the annual Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And this year I spent some time chatting and having coffee inside with a former colleague out of the cool weather which means I need to go back one more day since I missed the parade. But what a nice way to spend a day. Seeing people enjoy themselves despite the inclement weather, and if it’s too cold or wet, there’s always another cup of coffee inside.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seasonal changes in Siouxland, Orange City

5 Dec

I always find it interesting when revisiting places how they stay the same but also are different during different seasons. Some would say this is a no-brainer, yet it is like watching a friend go through mood changes. And depending on what is happening climate-wise during these changes at places, one never know what to expect. Recently visiting Orange City for an event brought home the fact since I don’t always visit the community much during the winter months and it looks very different without its color provided by the tulips on display during its Tulip Festival.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

A Look at Autumn in Siouxland, Orange City

19 Nov

The other day brought the first snowfall to the Siouxland area along with wind gusts up to 50mph and low visibility. The dip into the low temperatures of the 20’s is something like most people I am not looking forward too. But it’s going to happen. So I am remembering a recent day out in Orange City and a walk around the downtown area and a milder temperature. Ahhhhhh, I will savor it while I can.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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