Tag Archives: small town

Enjoying Summer’s Festivals in Siouxland, Storm Lake

12 Sep

Enjoying a day at the Wood, Wine and Blues Fest in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Small towns in Siouxland always have a way of finding something to celebrate. And doing it in an enjoyable fashion like Storm Lakes, Wood, Wine and Blues Fest it has each summer. In the lake side park there are a number of carved sculptures decorating it. Sadly in recent years vandals have destroyed and tried ruining a few of them. The festival combines some libation, music and wood sculptors with chain saws to perform their craft.

A not yet finished wood sculpture at the Wood, Wine and Blues Fest in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A master carver shows his stuff at the Wood, Wine and Blues Fest in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

These folk are pretty amazing creating works of art out of single pieces of wood. It makes me wonder what the Renaissance artist Michelangelo could have done with some power tools as opposed to his hammer and chisel. I did try some food but no libation as it sometimes limits one’s driving ability, and at the very least makes one sleepy and then wandered and watched as these 21st century artists created their contribution for mankind’s enjoyment.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying a day at the Wood, Wine and Blues Fest in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Little Color on a Drab Day in Siouxland, Storm Lake

8 Sep

Colorful chairs decorate and provide seating at a local ice cream shop in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes some images just beckon a person. And one never really knows until it’s seen, and driving around Siouxland I get that chance to encounter if somewhat ordinary but in the right frame of mind (pun intended) that ordinary can become something more.

Tiring of the Wood, Wine and Blues Fest in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019, a couple large checker boards await patrons willing to give it a try. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like bees or butterflies being drawn toward something because of its color I at least feel the need to check out a subject and see if it’s something I want to photograph. Maybe whimsical or not, the contrast of the object’s color stands in contrast to its surroundings and the rest is up to the viewer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Outside the local historical museum a piece of art shows the simple like one or two centuries ago via a child’s tree limb swing of rope and a piece of rope, seen in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Color catches the eye of a passerby of this flea market shop in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lines, Angles and Shapes in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

29 Aug

Lines, shapes and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Every time I visit Storm Lake and in turn Buena Vista University that is located there, I wonder to myself what else I can photograph. And this particular time after finishing a work assignment I walked about a bit around the school’s campus and the lines and angles and shapes just started appearing before me.

Lines and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Lines, shapes and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I wished the sun had come out a bit earlier, but one does what one can with what is before you. Maybe the grey sky makes some objects seem more stark and thus stand out more. Maybe not too.

Lines, shapes and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

But I enjoy having options as I photograph so the sun gave way to shapes and light and shade and added one more aspect to photographing around the campus making my trip a good one, at least to me.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Lines and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Lines and angles at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring Small Towns in Siouxland, Ashton

13 Aug

Downtown on a main street running through Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like nothing better than exploring the small towns that dot the landscape in Siouxland, a topic I have touched on many times. Some of these are still thriving while others not so much. The glory days behind them as they shift into another embrace of themselves as time passes.

The small community of Ashton recently had its summer fair which I will follow up with a post about that. Another community whose downtown is anchored by a grain elevator, once of the dominant businesses seen as you drive into the downtown area. And the agricultural touch is seen with a wagon parked off the street downtown as well.

A grain wagon parked just off a downtown street in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Getting into the place a little early, people were already selecting their spots along a parade route to watch friends and family participant and to enjoy a nice summer’s day celebrating the community.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Chairs mark a family’s spot prior to a parade for the community’s Town and Country fair in the Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Some hidden treasures await a lucky person who visits Ashton, Iowa Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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

Changing Scenery in Siouxland, Alton

3 Jan

While shooting an assignment in Alton, Iowa recently I noticed a grain elevator being demolished. In all of the small towns in Siouxland I have visited one can always find grain elevators. It is part of the agricultural landscape of the area and usually an anchor to the downtown area. Farmers are dependent on the local grain elevators where they deliver their harvested crops which begins a food chain cycle. And a lot of beginnings start in Iowa, a mainstay of agriculture.

So to see a grain elevator come down seems out of place and gives me pause. Not knowing the history, or possibly the fact that another one may takes its place that is more modern I can not say. But because these instruments of business loom large over small towns local landscape, it is hard to miss.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The demolition of the Midwest Farmers Coop in Alton, Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The demolition of the Midwest Farmers Coop in Alton, Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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