Dengler Domain: August 19
I am afraid to admit it, but the old ladies out played me in bingo. I was not hunkered down with a hat and sunglasses like a true bingo fanatic for the entire festival, but winning was for my grasp. One game felt like someone got bingo within the first ten balls. Besides this disappointment, the Winding Stairs Festival was great.
The parade was wonderful. When it lasted longer than I thought it would, this was a plus. It had lots of diversity in types of vehicles driven from 4×4 utility vehicles up to the big sprayers. Candy was thrown in the masses. It was a lot because I base how much candy was thrown on how much my stomach hurt. For me, my stomach hurt.
Unfortunately, this stopped me from eating at every food vendor. From what I heard; they were all delicious. Based on their lines, most looked busy the entire time. The beauty of small-town Iowa is the beauty of finding walking tacos. I ended up getting the walking taco from the firemen. It had the right amount of meat, lettuce, cheese to chips ratio. It hit the spot.
The rest of the night consisted of time spent catching up with old friends and familiar faces. Through my observation and talking to others, it felt like this had to be one of the high attended festivals in recent memory. The reunions doubling up this year may have helped, but the atmosphere of people wanting to be out and about played a role.
I do not frequent small town festivals on the daily, but it feels like Traer’s festival has a special feeling in the atmosphere. It feels communal and joyous. My wife who is not originally from this area ran into her old boss and coworkers from her college job by happenstance. Anyone could run into anyone from their past and most were happy to see one another.
While I only made it there on Saturday, the music was wonderful. The dueling pianos set the mood while the Pork Tornadoes crushed it from the stage. The energy the Pork Tornadoes played with was amazing. To play a four-hour set like they did was impressive. They left the crowd wanting more.
Before I end, the pancake breakfast on Saturday morning was delightful. Cannot go wrong waking up in the morning and driving to the Memorial Building to crush pancakes. It was a wonderful experience to be back at the Winding Stairs for the first time in two years. If you missed it this year, I hope you will be able to join next year.