Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
By all accounts, the Kalona Fall Festival made a successful return after a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nancy Roth, managing director of the Kalona Historical Society, acknowledged that festival organizers were unsure how this year’s festival would be received.
“We weren’t sure what to expect,” Roth said Saturday night after the conclusion of the festival. “It was like starting over going into an unknown year.”
The public responded, though, by returning in droves to the grounds of the Kalona Historical Village.
“We had a great crowd,” Roth said. “Everyone seemed happy.”
Except for a brief rain shower late Friday afternoon, the weather cooperated.
“We were fortunate to have a great weekend weatherwise,” Roth said.
Even during the rain, many festival-goers gathered underneath the performance tent to listen to Abe Miller perform a series of old-time gospel songs.
This year’s festival had many of the familiar sights, sounds and smells of past festivals.
The smoked turkey legs were flying off the grill, and handmade pretzels were selling as fast as they could be knotted.
Consistently though, the longest line was at the Hillcrest Academy homemade apple fritter booth.
The Mid-Prairie High School choir and bands performed on Friday afternoon, as well as musicians from Hillcrest Academy and Pathway Christian School.
Local favorites the Great Bluegrass Herons headlined the musical lineup on Friday night, while the River City 6 Steel Brass Band closed out the festival’s music on Saturday afternoon.
An artist from Bear Grove Chainsaw Carvings created several eye-catching sculptures that were auctioned off on Saturday afternoon.
“The proceeds from the auction enable us to bring back the chainsaw artist each year,” Roth said.