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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Grand Meadow Heritage Center to celebrate Annual Heritage Festival

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A clean sweep - A lot of elbow grease and broom handling finesse is required to get the Grand Meadow Heritage Center's buildings in shape for the rapidly approaching Heritage Festival. On this day, Sue Sorenson, Tricia Ewert Flannagan, and Karen Lund were seen applying their cleaning techniques to the Center's one-room schoolhouse. Photo by Ron Flewelling
GRAND MEADOW - Are you one of those individuals who regularly bemoans that "life in the fast lane" has left you a bit edgy lately?

Do you find yourself regularly observing that they sure don't make them like they used to back in the day?

Does the sweet aroma of freshly mown alfalfa or the nasal-twanging bite of fresh cow pucky wafting on the summer breeze make you sigh with nostalgia?

Are you a big fan of reruns of 'Little House on the Prairie' and 'The Waltons?'

Is RFD-TV your favorite channel on the satellite dish?

If your answer to any or all of the above queries is "yes," you will undoubtedly be one of the avalanche of folks who will be converging on southern Cherokee County Saturday and Sunday for the Grand Meadow Heritage Center's 35th Annual Heritage Festival.

For over three decades, the Heritage Festival has provided a nostalgic stroll through life on the family farm of yesteryear when men were men and smelled like horses.

Heritage Festival countdown - With the 35th installment of the Grand Meadow Heritage Center's Heritage Festival rapidly approaching, volunteers, including Jerry Townsend, Bob Carlson, Bill Sokolowski and Fred Waugh, have been really busy the past several days preparing for the event. The good-timing Festival will take place this weekend at the Heritage Center located in Grand Meadow Township four miles west of Washta on C-66 and two miles north on L-36. Photo by Ron Flewelling
It is part-craft fair, part-living history lesson and part-celebration of our rural roots, with a whole lot of good timing fun tossed in for good measure.

At 8:30 on Saturday, a flag raising ceremony will take place officially opening the event.

Music will keep your toes tapping pretty much throughout the day. At 9 a.m., the McNeil Family will tune up to serenade the crowd. At 11:30 a.m., young singing sensation and Woodbury County warbler Kelsey Doll will take center stage to belt out a number of songs.

At 12:30 p.m., things get a bit country when the band Riata steps forward to strut their musical stuff.

Other events throughout the day include a tractor parade at 11:00 a.m., an antique tractor pull for 1950 model tractors and older at 12:30 p.m., a talk by O. J. Fargo on the Civil War that will occur at 1:30 p.m. and both sheep shearing and threshing exhibitions that will take place at 2:30 p.m.

These demonstrations will also be carried out on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively.

On Sunday, the day is started at 10:30 with a non-denominational Church Service with Representative Bill Anderson stepping in as a keynote speaker.

Other activities of note taking place on Sunday are a concert by J. K. Country Music (11 a.m.), the Dale Nafe Memorial Car Show sponsored by Vintage Wheels (12:30 p.m.) and a program presented by the Many Moccasins Dance Troupe (1:30 p.m.)

Much of the success of a good Heritage Day Festival is the availability of some downright great food.

For example, on Saturday you can get a running start at the Festival by dropping in for a breakfast served by volunteers from the Center's Heritage Board and the Meadow Star Methodist Church of rural Washta.

The menu for this eye-opener includes scrambled eggs and ham, wheat rolls, fruit, coffee, juice and cinnamon rolls like grandma used to make before she got her microwave.

On Saturday from 11:30 a.m. till 2 p.m., you will be following your nose to a Festival feast of Iowa grilling guru Steve Bryant's barbecued pork loins, hot dogs, baked beans, chips, fresh tomatoes, and apple crisp.

On Sunday morning, Bryant will once again have his barbecue burners tuned and turned up for a spectacular brunch that will include pork loins, roast beef, cheesy potatoes, scrambled eggs,and banana bread. The serving of this feast will take place from 11:30 a.m. till 1:30 p.m.

If you happen to feel the urge for a little snack in between, however, Dale Harvey's Incredible Ice Cream Machine will be on hand turning out gallons and gallons of the home-made frozen sweet stuff...enough, in fact, to freeze the tonsils on a Civil War statue.

You will never be at a loss for something to do during the Festival.

If multi-row ag equipment that resembles something out of a StarWars movie leaves you a bit cold, you will undoubtedly enjoy all the old time exhibitions on hand during both days of the event.

Besides all the vintage tractors and antique cars and trucks on display, you can satisfy that nostalgic itch by observing saw mill, steam engine, threshing machine and other rural-related oldie but goodie demonstrations.

If an up close and personal history lesson is more to your taste, you can check out one of the many historic structures found on the Center's grounds.

These include a couple of log cabins, the Big Barn, a vintage gas station, an old blacksmith shop, a one-room school house and the brick Grand Meadow school that is currently filled with historical memorabilia.

You can also take a closer look at the two-story school built in 1912. This structure has the distinction of being the last two-room school still standing in Iowa. All the others have been demolished or converted to other uses.

You might even want to stop by the Center's Country Store for some home grown produce and baked goods fresh out of down-home ovens.

The Grand Meadow Heritage Center's Heritage Day celebrations are always kid friendly events...so don't be leaving the youngsters home for this one.

There will be kids games and miniature train rides taking place periodically throughout both days of the Festival. There will also be a petting zoo in place that will allow the kids to get up close and personal with their favorite critters.

No matter how you look at it, the Heritage Festival stands in there at the top bracket on our area's early autumn fun factor scale.

The Grand Meadow Heritage Center is located approximately mid-way between Correctionville and Marcus on L-36, or four miles west of Washta on C-66 and 1 mile north on L-36.

So drop on in and stay a spell.

It will be worth it to be able to point at the threshing machine demonstration and tell your grandkid:

"Now that's how we did it back in the good old days!"

...And best of all, no batteries were required.

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