The locals in Pella, Iowa, could not remember the last time the tulips were as beautiful for their festival as they were this year.
The Fun Club toured the Dutch city on the last day of their recent tour to Iowa where they strolled through gorgeous tulip gardens, learned how wooden shoes were made, enjoyed the folk dancers and dined on Dutch specialties. The travelers were amazed with the street scrubbers, which included women and children with mops and brooms and men with buckets of water, as they washed the streets prior to the colorful parade.
The Fun Club also visited Kalona, Iowa, which is in Amish country. A delicious meal prepared by a conservative Mennonite family and served in their home was a big hit with the travelers. The group also visited a chocolate shop where they watched workers create assorted chocolate goodies. Some toured the Heritage Village there while others went to the sale barn. Amish buggies lined the parking lot near the auction while sheep, baby goats and chickens were sold inside. A woodworking shop and an Amish farm were other stops.
At Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the group toured the beautiful National Czech Museum with its gorgeous display of heritage costumes called kroje. They also toured the 1800s Immigrant House and many visited the shops in the ‘Czech Village’. That evening they were guests at a Czech restaurant where the chef served her favorite recipe for Czech goulash. And just for fun, she served New Orleans beignets for dessert to showcase the French culture.
A favorite stop for many of the travelers was a farmhouse in Shellsburg, Iowa, where the 80-year old hostess captivated the Fun Club travelers with stories about her family’s escape from their native Austria after WWII and their resettlement in Canada. The group laughed with her as she told about meeting an American farmer and moving to rural Iowa with him after their marriage. And the travelers loved the hearty Austrian lunch she prepared for them.
The group also toured the Amana Colonies where their tour guide emphasized that those who settled these colonies were not Amish as many people assume. The Inspirationalists, as they were known, came to this country at about the same time as the Amish. And, the words Amana and Amish both start with “Am.” That’s where the similarity ends. The Amana Inspirationalists lived in a communal setting until 1932 and were very progressive whereas the Amish clung to their old ways. The Fun Club stopped at several Amana establishments on their tour and enjoyed a German meal and entertainment at the popular Ox Yoke Inn.
Fun Club travelers
Those who traveled with the Fun Club were Dale and Sharon Epp, Leo and Sylvia Epp, Arvid and Darlene Janzen, Don and Donna Regier, Wilma Dick and Blanche Franz, all of Henderson.
Others on the tour were Allen Larson of Stromsburg, Delmar and Sherry Peters of Aurora, Jill Ellis of Scottsbluff, Virginia Fay of Bradshaw, Jani Pickrel of Benedict, Susie Hageman of Albion, Phyllis Hobbs of Hastings, Sue Miller of Juniata, Claudia Horton of Seward, and Agnes Loukota of Exeter.
Those from York were Jim and Angie Conner, Linda Dose, Bonnie Wilshusen, Linda Jaeger, Curt and Mary Folkerts, Deb Figgner, Eve Kiser, and escorts Dave and Bernice Mettenbrink.
Anyone interested in future group travel with the Fun Club may contact our office at 402-745-6477 any weekday morning.