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TRIP 2001

Update #18 - June 30th
Oakland, Iowa - 3916 miles (6266 KM)



Today was Oakland's Fourth of July Celebration (four days early). The town has a population of several thousand and is about thirty miles east of Council Bluffs on U.S. 6 along the banks of the Nishnabotna River. The town was started in 1854 with the first white settlers coming into the area around 1847. Before 1847, the Pottawattamie Indians were the only people here.

The first church was built in 1859. In 1881, the town had two stores, a hotel, a blacksmith shop, and ten or more houses. Oakland was incorporated in 1882. This information was gotten at the Nishna Heritage Museum, which to me is one of the finest museums for such a small town. The curator is 89 years old and she is really something else. Well, this is just a small history lesson but I wanted to describe a small town celebration as it happened to me.

9 a.m. - Off to the church to pick up tables, chairs, and a huge awning and take them to the park. Setting up everything so that the church ladies could sell Maidrite sandwiches, potato chips, cake and pie slices, lemonade, soda, and tea.

9:30 a.m. - Walking to the fire station for a pancake breakfast (free will offering). Two big pancakes, plenty of syrup, orange juice to drink, but skipping the sausage patties.

10 a.m. - Back to the park to wander around for a little bit. Booths for face painting, games of chance for the kids like ring toss for soda bottles, sack races, three-legged races, miniature golf. Miniature stock car racing. Water hose fights in front of the fire station. Check out the car show. Watching kids go around tossing water balloons at people (five for a dollar).

2 p.m. - Bathtub races on a timed track. The Lions Club had fastened a bathtub on a three-wheeled frame made out of motorcycle parts with handles for three people to push somebody in the tub down a course and back. - Lawnmower races. Two contestants racing five laps around a course on lawnmowers without blade units. Seeing how close they come to tipping over on the curves. - Trying to find shade and staying there for a while because the bank thermometer reads 102 degrees.

3:00 p.m. - Taking a break and touring the museum which is in three storefronts. As I wrote before, this is one of the best little museums that I've been in. I only saw about half but for what I saw it was fantastic. Could have gone to one of the local churches for their homemade ice cream social.

4:30 p.m. - Finding a shady spot along the parade route. The route wanders several blocks from the park and through the downtown area.

5:00 p.m. - The parade starts a little late but soon the color guard comes past and then the local high school band. Floats come by, firetrucks with lights flashing and sirens blaring, two groups portraying the "Wizard of Oz", a float with "Jesus Christ Superstar", old fashioned cars, clowns, people throwing out candy with kids grabbing them and putting their caught loot (tootsie rolls, taffy, suckers) in plastic grocery bags, old fashioned tractors, horses big and small pulling carts or wagons or none at all, Shriners with their little cars doing figuere-eights, a float with some students from the Class of 1971, and at the end a float with a flag made out of colored balloons. There must have been over one hundred units in the parade.

6:00 p.m. - Lining up at the fire house for their barbecue dinner (beef and free-will offering again).

7:00 p.m. - Things winding down at the park. Pedal tractor pulls. Getting ready for the fireworks.

Fourth of July Celebration - small town Iowa style.




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