The Albert City Summerfest had revelers skipping around the May Pole, cheering on the annual parade and riding on the Freedom Train.
The recent celebration is the replacement for the former
"Meat Days," and based on the reactions, the event will continue with its new identity.
The theme for the 2003 Summerfest was "One Nation Under God," and was celebrated with a caravan of World War II Jeeps and the Albert City Community Band playing John Philip Sousa marches, along with the much anticipated fireman water fight and ping-pong ball drop.
The parade kicked off the event. With over 30 entries including the Albert City-Truesdale Stepperettes and a human Swedish flag, onlookers were doused in Tootsie Rolls and summer cheer. Bob Hansen was honored as the "Citizen of the Year" and Fire Chief Pat Cronin followed in another convertible after being announced as the "Fireman of the Year"
The highlight of Summerfest - one tradition not lost after Meat Days - was the lunch provided by the Buena Vista Co. Cattlemen and Buena Vista Co. Pork Producers. People lined up from over a block away to enjoy the meal.
Tom Peterson, treasurer of the BV Cattlemen, said they brought over 40 pounds of hamburger meat and cooked around 150 burgers. The spatula doesn't stop flipping meat until the crowd quits eating, he said.
Christina James, who recently moved back to Albert City to teach, said she looked forward to "eating some good food." As she watched her daughter, Rachel, age 2, ride on the Freedom Train, she said Summerfest is also a good opportunity to gather with the community.
"It's always fun to see old friends," she said.
Vern Hillmer, proprietor of the Freedom Train, said he started driving the miniature train with its approximately 20 multi-colored "cars" about three or four years ago for Albert City's 100 year celebration. The local businessman, wearing a red handkerchief tied around his neck and a striped engineer's hat, said he drives the train "just to help the community out a little bit."
"It's something the kids enjoy," he said. "They don't want to get off. They just want to ride and ride and ride."
Albert City resident Stephanie Lantz, sits with her daughter Sarah, age 3 and a half months, as her son, Sam, 2, rides on the train. She said it's the kids' first year at Summerfest.
"It's fun that our son is old enough to enjoy the train and the parade," Lantz said, adding that the festival is conveniently located. "It's nice because it's close and we can go home when it's nap time."
Charles Chada, who plays tenor sax in the Albert City Community Band, said he has ridden in the parade with the band for around 15 years. The band used to ride in a wagon, he said, which got a little cramped. This year, the band rode in a train trolley for the first time.
"The trolley was the best thing that could be," Chada said.
A few vendors also graced Summerfest, selling toys, wooden miniatures and even barnyard animals.
Roberta Scantling's booth was flocked by children of all ages cooing and cuddling with her bunnies, kittens and baby chicks. Scantling, who raises and sells pets, often to nurseries, said the kids really love the animals. Included in her menagerie was an assortment of colorful birds including cockatiels, fancy parakeets and lovebirds. "We come back to support our own event," she said.
Grace Walters set up tables selling various farm toys and knick knacks, or "anything the kids like."
"It's just a nice day," she said. "I enjoy it every year."