Kalona Days – bigger and better than ever

By Mary Marek
Posted 3/8/99

The Kalona Days Committee met Saturday, March 27, in the Chamber Building. The schedule of events for this year’s celebration resembles last year’s program, with some notable …

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Kalona Days – bigger and better than ever


The Kalona Days Committee met Saturday, March 27, in the Chamber Building. The schedule of events for this year’s celebration resembles last year’s program, with some notable additions.


The festivities start at 7 p.m., Friday, June 18, with a local variety show in the Kalona City Park. In addition to showcasing local talent, a cream pie auction and eating contest will again take place.

The pie-eating event was first held last year and proved to be popular. To start off the contest, cream pies are auctioned off, with winning bidders either entering the pie-eating contest themselves or giving the pie to a “friend”, thus making them a contestant.

New to the lineup this year is a Little Miss and Mister Contest. Judging will be done in two age groups, 2-4 year olds and 5-7 year olds. Contact Lori TeBockhorst or Patsy King for details.

Also new to the Friday evening line-up is the announcement of winners in two new contests.

Art in the Park

The first is Art in the Park, a poster-drawing contest for kids.

Posters designed around the theme, “What Kalona means to me”, will be exhibited during the week prior to Kalona Days for viewing by the public. A panel of judges will determine the winners who will be announced during the Variety/Talent Show.

Art in the Park is open to three age divisions, first and second graders, third and fourth graders and fifth and sixth graders (grades completed this spring). Stephanie Snyder is the person to call with questions about this event.


The second new event is the Men’s Ugliest Legs contest. Contestants should contact Mary Marek to arrange for a “portrait” session. All entrants will remain anonymous until announcement of the winner is made.

Pictures of each contestant’s legs will be displayed and the public may vote for their favorite (or least favorite) pair of legs.

Street Dance

A street dance on B Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets begins at 9:30 p.m. Friday with music by local band, One Way Trip. Todd Fitzsenry is in charge of the dance.


Some old favorites show up again this year on Saturday’s line-up.

The Car Show, sponsored by Gretter Motors of Keota, is from 8 a.m. to noon in the open lot at the corner of 6th Street and B Avenue. Tracy Owens is the person to contact with questions about the Car Show.

Also returning this year is the Farm Toy Show in the Community Center. The Toy Show is from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. A $1 admission fee is charged.

Pies – Cookies – Ugly Cakes

A Baking Contest will start at 9 a.m. in the Chamber Building. In addition to pies and cookies, a new category has been added this year: an Ugliest Cake Decorating Contest.

The pie contest is open to anyone who can bake a pie.

The cookie contest is open to kids who have completed grades 4 to 6. The same age group may compete in the ugliest cake-decorating contest. While rules for this contest haven’t been finalized, one definite rule is that cakes must taste better than they look.

Call Mary Marek with questions about these events.

At approximately 10:30 a.m., or immediately following the judging of the pies, cakes and cookies, they will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Tractor Pull

At 9 a.m., the same time the food judging is going on inside the Chamber Building, a Pedal Tractor Pull will be happening on B Avenue in front of the Chamber Building.

Organized by Tom and Karen Waters, contestants will compete in different weight groups.


Denise Ropp and Bev Slabach are in charge of the parade, which starts at noon. Entries will line up in the Kalona Sales Barn parking lot beginning at 11 a.m.

The parade route is the same as last year. Entries will leave the Kalona Sales Barn, traveling west on C Avenue. They will turn south on 7th Street to B Avenue, where they will turn west to Highway 1. On Highway 1, the parade will turn south to A Avenue, then back east, returning to the Sales Barn parking lot.

No Kalona Days parade would be complete without Bart Yotty identifying entries as they pass through the downtown area. Bart will be back on the loud speaker this year.

While parade entrants may continue the tradition of throwing candy to the crowd along the route, they are urged to use caution, throwing the candy “to” people, not “at” them, and making sure to throw far enough that children will not be tempted to run out into the street in pursuit of the goodies.

Water balloons, hoses, guns or any other water-spraying utensils are strictly forbidden.


Back by popular demand, Bed Races will take place immediately after the parade on B Avenue in front of Farmers Savings Bank. The event, which features four people pushing a fifth person on a hospital bed through an obstacle course to see which team can cross the finish line first, was a big success last year and organizers hope for even more entries this year.

Following the Bed Races is another event new to Kalona Days: a Shopping Cart Race. In this event, one person will push a shopping cart containing a second person (who will be wearing a helmet) through an obstacle course. The team that completes the course in the shortest time will win.

Unlike the Bed Races, which are open only to those people over 18 years of age, the Shopping Cart Race is for those in the 12-16 year age bracket.

Lynn and Donna Merck should be contacted with questions about these two events.

Park Activities

Throughout Saturday various activities will be available in the Kalona City Park.

The Fun Run/Walk is at 8 a.m. Todd Fitzsenry may be contacted for details.

McArtor Construction is sponsoring several children’s games: a Kiddie Castle Maze, Kiddie Bounce, Ring Toss, Over-Under and High Striker. Other games will be a Bean-Bag Toss and Lollipop Tree.

Volunteers to oversee the games are needed. Contact Tina Swartzendruber, Stephanie Snyder or Cindy Gingerich if you are able to help.

At 3 p.m., Stephanie Snyder will have several activities for elementary school-age and younger children. From 3-3:30 p.m. there will be Pudding Painting; from 3:30-4 p.m., Marble Rolling; from 4-4:30 p.m., Face Painting; and from 4:30-5 p.m., Make Your Own Book Mark.

Supplies, such as scraps of felt and fabric, markers, magnets and construction paper are needed for these activities. If you have items to donate or would be interested in helping with any of these activities, contact Stephanie. She is especially interested in hearing from middle school-age kids who would like to assist her.

At 3:30 p.m., the ever-popular Golf Cart Obstacle Course will begin. Lynn and Donna Merck will again coordinate this event which features a two-person team driving a golf cart through an obstacle course. To make it more interesting, the driver will wear a blindfold. Contestants must be at least 16 years of age.


Food booths will be scattered throughout downtown Kalona and the City Park during the two-day event.

Any group or individual interested in setting up a booth should contact the Kalona Chamber Office for details. Any group operating a booth with items for sale must pay a fee of $25 to the Kalona Area Chamber of Commerce.

Free beef meal

In addition to food available for purchase, Kalona area businesses will provide a free barbecued beef meal at 5 p.m. Saturday. The meal, which will be served in the large shelter at the park, is one way area businesses have of showing their appreciation to the community for their continued support.

Meg Scarff is coordinating the meal and any questions or offers of assistance should be directed to her.


Saturday evening’s musical entertainment starts at 6 p.m. when beckon, a local gospel band from Kalona Christian Fellowship church, performs, followed at 7:30 p.m. by Renegade, a country music band from North Liberty. Voncille Johnson is in charge of the musical entertainment.

Finally, to top off the weekend, a midnight swim in the Kalona Swimming Pool will be from 11 p.m. – 1 a.m.

Volunteers needed

While the Kalona Days Committee has the planning for the event well in hand, volunteers are needed to help with almost every event. Also, if you or your business would like to sponsor a prize or prizes for the various competitions, your involvement would be welcomed.

If you are willing to pitch in, or simply have questions about any of the events, call one of the people listed below.

Tina Swartzendruber, Committee Chair, 656-3219; Meg Scarff, Co-Chair, 656-3999; Lori TeBockhorst, 656-2281 or 656-5234; Patsy King, 656-3220; Denise Ropp, 656-3318; Bev Slabach, 656-3142; Mary Marek, 656-2273 or 656-4565; Todd Fitzsenry, 656-3541; Voncille Johnson, 656-3480; Cindy Gingerich, 656-2166; Stephanie Snyder, 656-5348; Donna & Lynn Merck, 656-3316; Ron Slechta, 656-2273; Doug Morgan, 656-3752.