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Friday, May 6, 2016

Quasquicentennial a success

Thursday, September 4, 2003

From the roar of the race car to the squeal of a pig. From the whisper of the windmill to the crackle of fireworks. From the laughter of children to songs of all ages, for three days a culmination of 125 years of sound rang throughout the Quasquicentennial Celebration.

With parades and contests of all kinds, games and food, tours and demonstrations, the festival commemorating Alta's 125th birthday was fun for all and a resounding success for organizers.

"All in all, things went really well," said Co-organizer Jody Braunschweig, adding that while more volunteers would have been helpful, those that did pitch in were critical to the celebration's success. "It was a lot of undertaking, but with all of the help, everything went great."

Braunschweig said the turnout was great and everybody had fun. The auction went extremely well, she said, collecting $3,098 for the committee.

The Celebration kicked off Friday night with the Scandivanian Dinner at The Trinity Church and Opening Ceremonies at The City Hall, highlighted with the Kiddie Parade and the Dennis the Menace and Margaret look-a-like contest.

The Grand Ball was held at the Alta Community Building, featuring the big band stylings of the Tuxedo Junction Orchestra. Couples two-stepped to Frank Sinatra and dewey-eyed Ed Buckendahl and Phyllis Frederickson were crowned the Quasquicentennial King and Queen.

The monumental parade initiated Saturday's activities, featuring 136 including antique cars and tractors, Cookie Monster and Big Bird, clowns and of course, the Shriners. Following the Parade, visitors enjoyed browsing the Flea Market and Craft Bazaar as well as the Quilt Show and the Windmill Bus Tour.

In the parking lot of the Summitt Evangelical Free Church, Prowlers, Mustangs and Cadillacs lined up for the Car Show. Mike Bailey of Schaller waxed up his 1979 indigo blue Pontiac Trans Am he finished restoring five months ago.

While the Trans Am he presented was a beater when he found a year and a half ago, Bailey has only put 400 miles on the car since he finished it. While said he would like to win the car show, he acknowledged that competition was steep.

"There's a lot of money sitting in this parking lot," Bailey said.

In the grass lot next to the car show, miniature planes and helicopters whizzed about as part of a demonstration by the NWIRC Club. Models of all shapes and colors controlled by hand-held remotes dived through the air, or just hovered a few feet off the ground.

Ken Aberson, owner of Aberson R/C Electronics and sponsor of the demonstration, said once the basics of flying the planes are mastered, the trick is orienting yourself. When the plane is flying away from you, steering left makes the plane turn left. However, when the model gets turned around, so do the controls.

Some of the planes have "honest turbine jets," and the average plane travels from 80 to 120 miles per hour. Some of the planes were built from scratch while others come from kits. The smaller planes fly faster and perform more dazzling tricks, but larger models are built more to scale, and some even fly on gasoline.

The NWIRC Club meets every Tuesday night at the Storm Lake Airport. Aberson said its more fun to fly model planes with a group of people, and even more fun when there is a crowd like the one at the Quasquicentennial.

"It's something fun for the people to watch," he said.

Also featured on Saturday were sporting tournaments of all kinds, including slow pitch softball, 3 on 3 basketball, co-ed volleyball, punt-pass-kick and of course Finn Ball.

For those not acquainted, Finn Ball is a game similar to softball, only it is played backwards. Right-handed batters must bat left and vice-versa. The same goes for right-handed throwers. And if you are lucky enough to hit the ball, batters run to third base rather than first. Confusion was abound, but so were laughs.

"One gentleman ran to first base instead of to third," Braunschweig said. "And of course he was out."

The celebration's only accident occurred on Saturday when volunteers were setting up the Jail and Bail carnival game. The jail fell on a volunteer causing severe bruises, but the victim will be okay, said Braunschweig. Saturday finished off with the Street Dance with the music provided by D.J. Rob Hach.

Sunday's festivities took place at the BV County Fair Grounds, and was possibly the most exciting day of the anniversary.

The day featured the mud volleyball tournament, horseshoe tournament and the beard contest. Donna Koth and Dan Huseman were the lucky winners of the Kiss the Pig contest, in which a jar was passed from neighbor to neighbor prior to the contest, and supporters paid a dollar to vote for the contestant of their choice. The "winners" kissed the pig.

The Sunday night races were the biggest draw of the weekend, Braunschweig said. And by the time the fireworks display flashed across the night's sky, everyone was worn down from three days of fun and excitement.

There are several items left over for sale. Quasquicentennial belt buckles, popcorn, spoons and frisbees can be purchased at the Heritage Bank and commemorative coins can be bought at Peterson's Jewelry.

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