Tag Archives: summer

Fair Time in Siouxland, Woodbury County Fair, Moville

15 Aug

A show pig appears to be looking for a way out as its owner participates in a 4-H/FFA judging event at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Rural Iowa in Siouxland would never be complete without a county fair in the summertime. Or elsewhere in other states for that matter. As a child I spent a few summers participating in 4-H events with projects and remember some fondly, and others that may not have gone as expected. And fairs have a long history, originally beginning in England as a sort of religious celebration according to some online sites.

According to a history site the first county fair in the U.S. took place in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1807. Sheep farmer Elkanah Watson wanted to promote better farming practices and held a sheep shearing demonstration and contest. Probably happy with its success, Watson began developing agricultural fairs that included contests and activities for the whole family.

While trying to maintain control of their animal entries, 4-H/FFA members of various county clubs also need to stay focused on the event judge during a competition at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A 4-H/FFA member preps his sheep for showing at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And in Iowa according to another site it was in 1841 that an exhibition was held exhibiting a particular cattle breed. An Agricultural Society created an event to show off cattle of the Durham breed, the first such exhibition west of the Mississippi River. In 1855 the Agricultural Society created the Lee County Fair in Lee County and thus began county fairs. And others in most states with agriculture began their own fairs. It was a chance for “country folk” to get a day off and maybe show off some of their livestock or produce they had grown. And fairs have changed over time, adding carnivals, and two youth groups, 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of American) were started to offer young people interested in agriculture and farm type living than now includes organic a space and place to pursue those interests.

A bunny “exhibit” for a 4_h member a at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Animal owners like the 4-H member and owner of this rabbit puts an ice water bottle in the cage to help keep the animal cool during sweltering temperatures during the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022. Large fans were also deployed throughout the barn areas to keep the air moving during the fair. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visitors enjoy the rabbit exhibits of 4-H/FFA members at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

For 4-H and FFA members the county fairs are the place to show off their work for the year and compete with like-minded individuals and maybe go to their state’s fair to compete amongst their peers, the “championship games” equivalent to sporting events. And these days 4-H clubs are not limited to only “kids in the country” like when I was growing up, and the various activities and kinds of projects has greatly expanded beyond just animals. Although some members whose parents might own small acreage can raise rabbits, chickens, goats or lamps as well as other types of projects that might include nutrition, photography, art, explanatory projects involving building or cooking.

A 4-H/FFA member cuddles her kitten before competing in an event during the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The cat looks calm wearing its leash/bib during a 4-H/FFA competition during the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A kitten looks very sedate from all of the affection and attention during a 4-H/FFA competition at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But county fairs also harken back to a little country nostalgia that those farming might enjoy. Collecting and exhibiting older “antique” farm tractors is now an expensive hobbies, akin to those who collect and show off model A and T cars and those muscle cars of the ’50’s and ’60’s.

Older style tractors and in some cases, “antiques” on display at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Older farm tractors are as collectible to some folk as antique cars seen at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And then there is the carnival side of fairs and the rides that all kids, no matter the age, still enjoy and look forward too.

A county fair wouldn’t be complete without carnival rides see at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A county fair wouldn’t be complete without carnival rides see at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A county fair wouldn’t be complete without carnival rides see at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some of the events are a bit fun-filled for the kids as in a pie eating contest that was more whip cream slurping than actual pie eating. And though I didn’t watch all of it, a few of the younger ones seemed a bit unsure if inhaling all of that topping was actually going to stay put. And no “spill buckets”.

Happy about winning the age division pie eating, well whip cream slurping contest, during the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Standing nonchalantly after winning the age division pie eating, well whip cream slurping contest, while a volunteer holds another contestant’s pigtails to keep them clear of the whip cream during the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Fair Queen makes sure this particular contestant gets plenty of whip cream to slurp during a “pie eating” contest at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In the end though, for those that compete at the county fair, bringing home a blue ribbon or best of show or even a championship trophy still tops the list of accomplishments.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Showing off some “fancy booties” a prize winning goat entry for a 4-H/FFA member is held for a commemorative photo in the winners circle at the Woodbury County Fair in Moville, Iowa Thursday, August 4, 2022 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Storms in Siouxland, rural Sioux County

5 Aug

Storm clouds appear to bring rain showers near Ireton, Iowa in rural Sioux County Wednesday, June 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I was younger and prior to living in Siouxland I chased a few storms for newspapers I previously worked for, in west Texas and Louisiana. Looking back on those experiences it was probably not the best of choices. But it can produce interesting images. Many of them centered on property destruction on surrounding communities where I worked. Storms roll through the Midwest and Siouxland in the spring and summer. Sometimes they can be pretty dramatic, other times they bring needed rain without much drama. Generally those are the better storms. But I still enjoy going out occasionally to check out the clouds and such and hope the most action I see is heavy rain. Done the the hail and high winds and I can pass on those. To which the adage “no pain no gain” can extol a heavy price especially when personal vehicles are damaged.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Storm clouds appear to bring rain showers near Ireton, Iowa in rural Sioux County Wednesday, June 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Storm clouds appear to bring rain showers near Ireton, Iowa in rural Sioux County Wednesday, June 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Screaming for Ice Cream, Ice Cream Days, Le Mars

31 Jul

A pet pooch keeps its “eye on the ball” or ice cream wrapper during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A annual Siouxland community celebration is the Ice Cream Days in Le Mars. Wells Enterprises is the located there and the maker of Blue Bunny Ice Cream.

A Blue Bunny “bunny’ mobile snakes its way down a main drag during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A small marching band steps in cadence as they await their turn to play during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A number of floats, mostly ice cream related, travel along the parade route. And a big hit is when the Blue Bunny folk go by and hand out frozen ice cream sandwiches. Even at 10 a.m. who can refuse such a treat. But one crowd favorite every year are the go carts driven by a Shriners group as they raucously careen up and down the street performing maneuvers and spinning out and often times laying rubber.

A young girl covers her ears right of the Shriners’ go-cart during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During any parade Shriners’ go-cart performances are always a big attraction even with the noise created by the whine of the many engines seen during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Another large contingent of floats this year was a family reunion. There were four floats, each filled with maybe 15-20 people per each one, meaning it was a large family and ever larger family reunion once all the kids, grandkids, etc. were added in. For a Saturday morning, it’s a nice way to start one’s summer weekend. Everyone screams for ice cream.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The first of four parade floats containing a large family gathering reunion join in during the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Tractors are always a big hit during any parade and are present at the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A girl anticipates the balloon creation she will get from a clown at the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A girl smiles at the balloon creation a clown gave her at the Ice Cream Days parade Saturday, June 18, 2022 in Le Mars, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Boys of Summer in Siouxland, Sioux City Explorers, Sioux City

29 Aug
A Cleburne, TX, Railroader gets tagged out on his way to second base in game action against the Sioux City, Iowa, Explorers at the Lewis and Clark Stadium in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Over the years when I worked at various newspapers I photographed my fair share of baseball games, high school, college and minor league. The Sioux City Explorers is an independent league here in Siouxland, and have called this area home base for over a decade. Nothing says summer like baseball, to most folk. To me covering a game as opposed to watching one are two different things. While personally not a fan, nor even having a favorite major leagues team, I enjoy watching moves and action that happens on the field. And locally, I enjoy late afternoon, early evening games as the sun sets behind the local stadium. The light play can sometimes be very nice.

Action, inaction during the Sioux City, Iowa, Explorers game against the Cleburne, TX, Railroaders at the Lewis and Clark Stadium in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Sioux City, Iowa, Explorer safely slides back to first base after an aborted second base steal in game action against the Cleburne, TX, Railroaders at the Lewis and Clark Stadium in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Watching the game sometimes certain actions while helpful on the field, become almost comical seen from the spectator stands. What might be obvious doesn’t always come to fruition for the players, especially when making note of what intentions are and then failing to follow through. Oops! But so goes the game of statistics. Columns upon columns of stats for each player, each team, etc., etc.

Sometimes game action is obvious as the Sioux City, Iowa, Explorers play the Cleburne, TX, Railroaders at the Lewis and Clark Stadium in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But watching those guys at bat I wonder how they even see the ball hurtling toward them, at speeds I can not even imagine. And once there on base, making certain the keep their spot so as not to become another error statistic for that evening’s game. Play Ball!

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Sioux City, Iowa, Explorer keeps his eye on the ball in game action against the Cleburne, TX, Railroaders at the Lewis and Clark Stadium in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Sioux City, Iowa, Explorer swings to connect with a pitched ball in game action against the Cleburne, TX, Railroaders at the Lewis and Clark Stadium in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Another aborted attempt for a steal to second base by a Sioux City, Iowa, Explorer in game action against the Cleburne, TX, Railroaders at the Lewis and Clark Stadium in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hanging out with Mom in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

25 Aug
A baby spider monkey hangs on to its mother while she walks about looking for food in its enclosure after staff recently fed the animals at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Venturing out in Siouxland has been nice even though there are still COVID concerns and one of the places I do enjoy visiting is the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE. The zoo is continually updating its facilities, which sometimes can be compared to highway construction, but it’s all good in that areas for the animals keep enlarging and to the extent possible mimicking the area of the world these creatures ancestry hails from. Learning recently that some of the creatures are rescue animals and others from already existing zoos. Plus walking about outdoors is pleasant even in the August heat and humidity that the Midwest produces.

A baby spider monkey snacks as it hangs on to its mother as she moves about the enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A baby spider monkey hangs on to its mother as she moves about the enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Watching a baby spider monkey cling to its mother’s back while she moved about the island the animals are kept on was simply amazing to watch. Its own tail curled around the mother’s as she climbed, swung, moving in all directions, especially when handlers brought food to the animals for a morning meal. Observing and watching behavior is always fascinating to me. And just a chance to get out, stretch one’s legs and enjoy the day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A baby spider monkey looks about as its mother moves about the enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A baby spider monkey hangs on to its mother as she moves about the enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Day in Siouxland, Sioux City

7 Aug
A sparrow enjoys a quiet morning in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days should be set aside for a quiet time of reflection, enjoying the moment before the day’s activities begin.

Even for intrepid explorers and hunters, sometimes it’s best to watch and appreciate rather than jumping into action. There are enough days when the world is nonstop. Relish those that are.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A cat checks out a visitor as it enjoys a day in a backyard Tuesday, July 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A cat watches a visitor as it enjoys a day in a backyard Tuesday, July 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer Days in Siouxland, Sioux City

1 Aug
A squirrel checks out a visitor as it snacks on a peanut in a residence backyard Tuesday, July 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer days in Siouxland just aren’t enjoyed by we humans. Visitors to a backyard looking for a morning snack enjoy the shade before the heat of the day sets in and it’s nap time.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A squirrel snacks on a peanut in a residence backyard Tuesday, July 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A squirrel snacks on a peanut in a residence backyard Tuesday, July 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Summer’s Day in Siouxland, Arnolds Park

28 Jul
A father and son make memories they will remember later while enjoying a summer’s day in Arnolds Park, Iowa , Thursday July 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s been a while that I have traveled to some places within Siouxland this last year. Places, Arnolds Park and Okoboji that I enjoy, but for one reason or another I just didn’t make it there during the year of COVID-19. It’s a nice place to visit, and this particular day I didn’t get around to some places I would have liked, but that just means another trip down the road with time to spend at these other places.

New signage along a promenade walk in Arnolds Park, Iowa , Thursday July 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Arches dot the promenade walk in Arnolds Park, Iowa , Thursday July 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A new look near the amusement park in Arnolds Park, Iowa , Thursday July 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting a “tourist destination” during the week rather than on a weekend sometimes means not as many people. And that makes it easier getting around to places. I noticed a few changes to the waterfront like the nod to a former Iowan business person and legislator. But some things never change, like being greeted by photogenic regulars to also like to enjoy a day hanging out with friends and relatives.

Gulls enjoy a summer’s day in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Thursday July 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Enjoying a summer’s day in Arnolds Park, Iowa , Thursday July 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And change I didn’t notice was the replacement of a walking trail in favor of an actual sidewalk which local residents and those folk visiting find it much more easily navigated than the former rut that is part of a State of Iowa conservation easement allowing folk a chance to see the lake from the surrounding high ground.

A Dept. of Natural Resources marker shows an easement where visitors can walk a trail overlooking the West Lake Okoboji in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Thursday July 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Cement sidewalks replace what was once a dirt trail along an Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources trail in Arnolds Park, Iowa , Thursday July 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Enjoying a summer’s day and a view of West Lake Okoboji in Arnolds Park, Iowa , Thursday July 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And it’s just nice getting out and enjoying nature, taking a walk, trying a new or different eating establishment or visiting one not enjoyed in a while. Summer days come and go quickly. And having the chance to enjoy even a part of it is always a treat.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bee enjoys flowers along a walking path during a summer’s day in Arnolds Park, Iowa, Thursday July 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Enjoying a summer’s day in Arnolds Park, Iowa , Thursday July 15, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Walk in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

23 Sep

Shady trail lanes are a welcome respite on a hot day at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always nice to get and enjoy the day with sunshine and fresh air in Siouxland. Although lately with western wildfire smoke and haze the air quality has suffered a bit even in Iowa. I can not begin to imagine what it is like on the west coast in those states. Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is always a nice place to take a walk, giving one a choice of trails, long or short, sunny, shady or a mixture of both. I walked a trail I haven’t been on for a number of years and noticed how it was built out a bit and gave some side trail choices to explore more of the park as well as seeing restoration underway at the Preserve.

Signage helps visitors understand the mission at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The side trail I ventured onto took one into a meadow area and with a little patience, more than I had that particular day, one could find numerous critters traversing the area early morning or late afternoon, early evening as they foraged and meandered themselves around the park.

Signage informs visitors at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A summer’s day at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Prairie restoration in action at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So it was nice to find some added benches along the way for those of us who wanted a break from enjoying all that fresh air and walking. Too much of a good thing? Maybe.

Shady benches are always a welcome sight after a bit of walking on a hot day at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular trail runs along the Missouri River at a couple of points and gives a visitor a chance to check it out as well. I found it nice that along the trail signs of wildlife were about, leaving hints. And also running into some other “hikers” who themselves were out enjoying the day and passing through the preserve.

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Souvenirs await for visitors walking a trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Deer wander across the trail at a distance at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

On a quiet and cooler summer’s day a young deer approaches a visitor in its neck of the woods along a walking path at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota August 2, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Checking on Visitors at the Zoo near Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

13 Sep

A peacock walks by visitors at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Humans are not the only curious “animals” on this planet. Zoo animals exhibit a curiosity as well when visitors drop by, and some even like to show off a bit and relax while checking on visitors to their domain. Maybe even smile at someone they see.

A meerkat takes a break from preening at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A giraffe smiles at a visitor at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But like people animals can be a bit aloof and not pay any mind to those who are checking them on on a warm day. People watching in reverse or just not interested. Although under different circumstances, maybe.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A curious peacock takes a closer look at a visitor at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

After a meal, a nap is always inviting at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A meerkat and smaller antelope watch visitors watching them at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Monday August 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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