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Throwback Thursday

Today is Sept. 5, the 263th day of the year. There are 101 days left in 2019. Below are news items from the Creston News Advertiser for this week (Sept. 20-27) in history:

20 Years Ago

Grab the nearest camera because the skies could be full of balloons.

A record 51 balloonists signed up for the 22nd Annual Southwest Iowa Professional Hot Air Balloon Races in Creston, surpassing local organizers who scrambled to find new sponsors.

“I think the word’s out that Creston puts on a good show and it’s a good place to fly,” Bill Fastenow, balloon community chairman said. “We have such a great group of people - balloon committee members, volunteers, sponsors, law enforcement, school officials, park and airport workers, and YMCA volunteers - that put together the event.”

Over the past decade Creston’s Balloon Days weekend has witnessed the rise, decline, and resurgence in the number of balloonists taking part. For several years organizers were lucky to get more than 40 balloons. Occasionally, that number would get to 45, but never 50.  “The pilots seem to have fun down there,” Rob Bartholomew, balloon meister said. “People treat them pretty nice.”

Only Indianola’s annual balloon races are larger than Creston’s in Iowa. 

“About seven or eight are first-time fliers down there that year.” Bartholomew said.  In addition to rookie pilots, the 1999 Balloon Days weekend was the first for eight new sponsors: Casey’s General Stores (North, West, and Texaco), Econofoods, (Dennis) Hance and Dr. Larry Hicks families, J&J Plumbing and Heating, Ken Hudson, Medicap Pharmacy, Newton Overhead Doors, and TSO Enterprises. 

The annual marching band competition took place during Saturday’s parade. High school bands in competition were East Union, Nodaway Valley, Greenfield, Orient-Macksburg, South Page, College Springs, Lenox, Essex, and Shenandoah. Middle school bands from A-H-S-T (Avoca) and Shenandoah appeared. Also, the Creston High School and Burton R. Jones Middle School bands performed, but did not compete. Returning for a second fun-filled year are the bathtub races. Teams of four competed at the airport to see who could push a bathtub on wheels through an obstacle course in the fastest time. Fans got to take part in the event by throwing water balloons at the racers. The balloons were a fund raising project of Creston’s high school band. 

50 Years Ago

An estimated 8,500 people were served barbecued beef sandwiches in Creston’s second Beef Day Saturday. This is about 1,500 more than they had been served on the first Beef Day. The serving lines at the covered parking lots of the Iowa State Savings Bank were open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and closed down when the crowd had dwindled to only a few stragglers. The Beef Day menu of beef sandwiches, baked beans, potato chips, coffee or soft drinks were served at six lines, through which people moved rapidly. There were no long waits for service as the lines kept moving along. A special crew made the sandwiches and kept them moving, along with the other food, to the serving lines as they were needed. 

Creston Chamber of Commerce in Union County Beef Producers Association officials said that they feel the Beef Day was very successful. Comments they receive from people attending were all favorable. They said the two organizations are sponsors of the Beef Day.

There were 2,200 pounds of beef and more than 9,000 buns used in making the Beef Day sandwiches. One hundred forty gallons of coffee - which is 10,000 cups - were used, and lots of soft drinks were served in addition.   

The Beef Day was held to recognize the importance of the beef industry in the Creston area. The delicious beef that was served in the sandwiches have been cooked overnight in a pit of glowing wood coals. 

Dozens of members of the two organizations had worked on the Beef Day, under the general co-chairmanship of Charles H. (Chuck) Ehm and Don Hammers. They had worked as woodchoppers, firemakers, and tenders, in preparing the meat, as cooks, and on serving committees. After the Beef Day was over, more members took over and quickly cleaned up the area, with assistance from the Creston Street Department.

The three top Iowa Republican candidates, State Sen. David Stanley for U.S. Senator, Robert Ray for governor and State Sen. Roger Jepsen for lieutenant governor, were introduced to the Beef Day crowds. They made no speeches, just greeted the crowd. They circulated in the Beef Day crowd for about an hour before leaving for an appearance at Shenandoah.

Arnold O. Kenyon, introduced Sen. Stanley and Joseph G. Knock introduced Mr. Ray. Percy Christensen, Republican candidate for reelection to the state legislature. Major Democratic candidates had been invited to attend Beef Day but were unable to do so. Their campaign caravan had been here earlier in the week and was in another part of the state Saturday.

Orval Walter of Lenox, candidate for state senator, and Harry Madden of Kent, candidate for state representative, represented the Democratic ticket and were introduced to the Beef Day crowd by Robert J. Beecher, former county Democratic central committee chairman. The Community Circus that played in connection with Beef Day, under the sponsorship of the retail bureau of the Chamber of Commerce, drew large crowds to three performances. The elephant and pony rides and the four mechanical rides of the circus also kept busy all day Saturday. 

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