Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
The annual Kalona Days celebration made its return in a big way Saturday.
One of the largest crowds in recent years turned out for the afternoon parade and the festivities that followed.
Parade watchers lined C Avenue from Highway 1 to the Kalona Sales Barn, many standing two or three deep in places, braving temperatures in the mid-90s.
“I am really impressed with the turnout for Kalona Days today,” event co-Chair Olivia Kahler said. “With the Iowa heat as it is, I was really afraid it would be low attendance. I was proven wrong.”
The parade, which was moved from its usual route on B Avenue to C Avenue, seemed longer than previous Kalona Days parades.
There were more than 60 entries, and the parade lasted approximately 45 minutes.
The color guard from the Richmond AMVETS Squad No. 107 led the parade along with area Boy Scouts and the Mid-Prairie marching band.
They stopped when they reached Kalona City Hall to present the colors and perform the Star Spangled Banner.
In addition to the usual entries from the Kalona, Wellman and Riverside fire departments, numerous area businesses and organizations were represented in the parade.
“The heart of this community is just so big,” Kahler said. “I’m so excited to see them all.”
Following the parade, the festivities moved to the open lot to the east of KCTC.
There were long lines at the various food trucks, as well as for the inflatable kids’ slide and the pony rides.
Representatives from Civco, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, were honored as this year’s grand marshal.
Whitni Patterson, president of the Mid-Prairie Alumni and Friends Association presented the organization’s 2021 awards.
Award winners were:
• Jonathan Gingerich, Class of 2002, Achievement Award.
• Renee Schrock Thompson, Class of 2004, Vocational Award.
• Doug Slaubaugh, Class of 1963, Service Award.
• Jim Seward, Class of 1977, Community Impact Award.
• Jason Dumont, Class of 1988, Athletic Award.
• Luke Johnson Lovegood, Class of 2003, Fine Arts Award.
Local country-rock cover band Aces and Eights took the stage for a live show and closed down the festivities.
Kahler said that the Kalona Days sponsors deserve credit for making the event possible.
“We couldn’t have done any of this without our sponsors,” she said. “Our sponsors have been so important for these events.
“If you want to be involved, if you want to volunteer, just call the chamber. We’d love to have your help.”