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Iowa: Busy Bee Winnies

November 08, 2017

September−The Busy Bee Winnies September campout was held at Harvest Farm Campground, Cresco, IA on Sept. 7-10. Twelve coaches, 22 members, and guest Barb Boie enjoyed the campout and beautiful weather.

Our campout started on Thursday, Sept. 7 at the Howard County Visitor's Center in Cresco, IA. Jason Passmore and Spiff Sifka from Howard County Business and Tourism were our guides for "Every Town Has a Story." It was interesting to see and learn about the IA Wrestling Hall of Fame which was started in 1970. Spiff took us to the Theater and Opera House, a 100 year-old building which has been restored and is still used for movies and live performances. Back at the campground, we had a potluck and campfire.

On Friday, we caravanned to the Norman Borlaug Boyhood Farm and Birthplace. Tom Spindler gave us an interesting tour. The Borlaug home was a Sears home bought for $1,000 in 1922. Dr. Norman E. Borlaug received the Noble Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply. Dr. Borlaug was credited for saving millions of people from starving by developing high-yielding, disease-resistant dwarf wheat. In 2014, his statue was placed in The National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol Building.

After lunch, the Busy Bees went to the Bily Clocks Museum and Antonin Dvorak Exhibit in Spillville, IA. The clocks are hand carved by brothers Joseph and Frank Bily who were bachelor farmers. They did their carving in the winter months using wood from all over the world.

Dvorak, the famous Czech composer, lived in Spillville in the summer of 1893. Next we saw St. Wenceslaus, the oldest Czech Catholic Church in America, and the historic cemetery which is full of iron cross grave markers in a variety of designs made by Charles Andera. We then drove to K-Tap at Kendallville for supper and then enjoyed another campfire.

On Saturday morning, the committee served us a delicious breakfast. This was followed by a business meeting and lunch on our own.

After lunch, Sharon Rendack gave us an interesting tour of Vesterheim Museum in Decorah. We learned that rosemaling started on farm equipment. Some things we saw were a chair carved from a tree trunk, an 1851 ship that sailed to America, mangle boards which are traditional courtship gifts carved by young men in Scandinavia or the Netherlands, silver bridal crown, Hardanger fiddle, textile gallery, and spoon carving.

We then went outside to see the Haugen House and the Norsvin Mill with grass on the roof. The Valdres House, built in 1795, was shipped to the U.S. in 1975 from Norway. The Egge-Koren House, built in 1852, was a three-bedroom cabin which housed two families. The Bethania Lutheran Church was built in Northwood, ND in 1903 and moved to Decorah in 1992. The Mikkelson-Skree Blacksmith Shop was built in 1855 and the Painter-Bernatz Mill in 1851.

Later in the afternoon, we went to Center Street and listened to The Contratopia Band composed of Eric Sessions (fiddle) and John Goodin (mandolin and guitar). We enjoyed our evening meal including Swiss steak and chicken in the basement at Stone Hearth.

On Sunday morning, the committee served breakfast and then Glen and Sally Boie led the church service.

By Mike Donahue