Sunday, August 28, 2011

Boland stand-still parade

Whew!  I'm exhausted from my busy, fun weekend.  Yet I wanted to share a few highlights while they were still fresh in my mind.  This weekend, I joined my mom and step-dad on a 13-mile bike ride during Boland's 125th anniversary celebration.  Boland is just a few miles down the road from where I grew up.  It's famously known as one of the smallest towns in Iowa, population 9.  In 1989, talk-show host David Letterman invited the entire town of Boland to appear on his show.

Boland has always been proud of being small but mighty.  Each year, the town hosts a stand-still parade, a twist on an old favorite.  Since the town is only 3 blocks long, the parade floats are parked on main street, and visitors walk the length of the parade "route."  Such a clever idea!

We arrived bright and early at 7:30 a.m. to register for the bike ride.  A few craft and food vendors were already setting up.

Canned goods for sale at the Boland festival.
A lot of folks from this north Iowa area (including myself) have Scandinavian roots.  We saw lefse for sale, a flat bread made from potatoes that my grandmother used to make every Christmas.

A wooden train is a popular playground for kids.
In addition to the bike ride, there was also a classic tractor ride.  Many tractor brands were well represented.

If you're not familiar with tractor rides, it's a caravan of restored tractors.  It gives people a chance to show off the work they put into restoring the tractors.

 Once the tractors took to the roads, the bikes followed.  Thankfully, the blacktop roads were very smooth, and the route was relatively flat.  We pedaled 7 miles before hitting our first stop, Grafton, a rural town that's just a little bigger than Boland.

After resting our legs for a few minutes, we pedaled our bikes on the trip back to Boland.  I couldn't get over how pretty the scenery was.  We rode in the shadow of a wind farm, which seemed to stretch for miles.

 When we got back to Boland, we stopped to watch a chainsaw-carving artist.  I had to stop myself from taking this little guy home.

But we didn't stay and watch for long.  We were on a mission.  Our registration for the bike ride included free homemade pie and ice cream!  It was tough to choose one slice of pie.  There were so many yummy options!

I ended up picking the apple crumb pie.  It was even better than I imagined.  The crumb topping had a wonderful caramel-like flavor and crunch.  And the homemade vanilla ice cream melted perfectly into the crumb topping.  So good!

My mom chose the peach pie.  My step-dad, the apple.  We lined 'em up before we dug in.

Somehow, my step-dad managed to get two scoops of ice cream!  I was so jealous.

After our eating every last crumb of pie, we toured the historic Boland schoolhouse, which is currently under renovation.

A brass band entertained the crowds.  Such excellent musicians.  Nothing beats the sound of a tuba!

Soon, the crowd was invited to watch a skydiving demonstration.  One of the skydivers was a local woman who has served in the U.S. Army for 28 years and has won several skydiving competitions.  She chose Boland for her last jump before retiring from military service.

At this point, we were getting pretty tired from waking up a 5:30 a.m. and spending 5 hours at the festival.  So we left just as the stand-still parade was getting started.  I must have been tired, because I only took a few half-hearted pictures.  Wish I took more to give a better idea of what the parade looked like.

But before we left, I had to get one more picture to remember the day.  We had a great time in Boland, and we're already planning to come back for the bike ride next year!

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