21st Hanover Festival deemed total success

Friday, September 1, 2017
Lois Radke, one of the founders of the Hanover Historical Society, mans the country store and shares stories of the history of Hoanover. / Photo by Mari Bauer

In 1996 the Buena Vista County Historical Society approached Gerald and Lois Radke about the condition Hanover which was slowly starting run down.

That was when the Hanover Historical Society was created by three couples: Gerald and Lois Radke, Tom and Mardi Letzring, and Arlan and Marilyn Hinkeldey.

The Letzring family still lives on the home place there on the edge of Hanover.

The Society which started as the three couples grew into 90 members from all across the country.

“Initially we were just going to restore the general store so that’s where our focus was,” stated Lois Radke, one of the founders of the group. “So we organized ourselves and fixed up the building and then stocked it with donated items and items on loan. The first “Hanover Festival” was actually an ice cream social held at the Genera Store.”

Next they fixed up the feed shed and when the house on the corner next to the road came up for sale they purchased the house and restored it to reflect how a house would look in the late 1800’s.

The Blacksmith Shop was next on the agenda to be restored. Ten years ago the barn and another shed were move on the property from a near by farm.

“As the exhibits and events began to grow so did the social which by then became the Hanover Festival held the last Sunday of every August. We are seeing more and more young people bringing their child to experience the festival. One event the children loved was dipping and making their own candles. There was a petting zoo for the young ones. We normally have sheep shearing but because of the wet weather as of late the wool was too damp to shear.” Lloyd and Lenore Meyer are the suppliers of the petting zoo.

Dick Schmidt is in charge of lining up the polka bands each year. This year it was Karl and the Country Dutchman and Adam Sandhurst and the Jolly Jammers. People brought their lawn chairs to sit and listen to the festive music while others put on their polka shoes and danced to the rhythmic sounds of the bands.

The General Story had a constant flow of people and upstairs they could see the Days of The Week exhibit. This exhibit changes every year.

Events held at this year’s festival were egg candling, soap making, candle making and egg coffee demonstration.One of the events that seems to go over with the young and the old was the potato harvest.

A tractor with a hand plow pulled behind it turned up the soil exposing hundreds of red potatoes which the kids and adults alike harvested.

In front of the blacksmith shop forging demonstrations were held while people could go inside and see tools, toys and scale model displays. Also in the blacksmith shops were beer stein collections, needlecraft displays, pictures and genealogy items.

Other events were rope making, making a snow fence, Maytag display (in the wash house), a demonstration of sawmill with its huge steam tractor supplying the energy.

Also being demonstrated was corn shelling, raking hay, hay loader demonstration, putting hay in the barn, hand corn picking and binding, wood carvers, spinning wheel demonstration and small engine displays.