'It's a great place to call home'

Locals celebrate diversity with 62nd annual Columbus Day celebration

Union photo by Gretchen Teske

Kids clambered into the streets on Saturday, Oct. 12, during the 62nd annual Columbus Junction Columbus Day parade.
Union photo by Gretchen Teske Kids clambered into the streets on Saturday, Oct. 12, during the 62nd annual Columbus Junction Columbus Day parade.

COLUMBUS JUNCTION — By 2 p.m. on Saturday, the weather warmed up to a cool 62 degrees with plenty of sunshine making for perfect weather for the 62nd annual Columbus Day celebration in Columbus Junction.

The day started at 7 a.m. with a pancake breastfast provided by the Lions Club and the day continued with a variety of events for children, adults and families. The big attraction of the day, said Melanie DeVore, a committee member for Columbus Day, was the parade at 2 p.m.

She was not sure how the tradition got started 62 years ago but said it has become the traditional time for class reunions to be held and acts as a kickoff for homecoming which takes place the following week. In addition to floats in the parade, the downtown was lined with vendors that DeVore coordinated.

She said local restuaraunts brought their food outside to sell on the sidewalk and additional vendors, with everything from clothing to jewelry, were out as well. The theme for the day this year was “Columbus Junction: A great place to call home” and one DeVore came up with herself.

“The reason why I like to call it a great place to call home is we have become home to a lot of people,” she said. “For a town of 1,900 we have everything you need and we’re not like some little towns that are dying out. We’re still pretty vibrant.”

Seeing the few hundred people that came out to celebrate the day and interact with one another is a great way to showcase the spirit of the town, she said.

“Columbus Junction is a very diverse community,” she said. “We have people from all over and on Columbus Day, they all come together.”

Theren Wagner, a member of the Columbus Junction Fire Department, said this was the first year the fire department decided to get involved in the events. Members of the department were huddled around grills flipping porkchops and serving those who came out to enjoy the day.

Wagner said he was glad to be part of a community event and one that’s been going on for so long. He said it also helps to have opportunities where members of the department can get out and interact with the public because they do not normally have the opportunity to do so.

Bringing in new faces and continuing the traditions is the underlying goal of the Columbus Day Committee, said chair Alicia Bright. She guessed about 1,200 people attend the festivities every year and hopes younger people will be inspired to get involved and help continue the traditions. Tradition and celebrating diversity is what Columbus Junction is all about, she said.

“It’s a great place to call home,” she said.

**The firefighters name is Ther-en. Tansa keeps trying to change it.