Bully Bullhead Weekend: Small Town Iowa Fun in Ruthven-Lost Island Lake, Iowa

Bully Bullhead Car Show
The girls picking their favorite car for the ‘People’s Choice Award’ at the car show.

Bully Bullhead Weekend 2015 is in the books! What in the world is Bully Bullhead Weekend, you ask? Well, it is celebration in Ruthven, Iowa full of Small Town Iowa Fun. While our family spends a lot of time near Ruthven at Lost Island Lake each summer, we’ve never participated in annual Bully Bullhead festivities. This year we changed things up a bit to see what this weekend is all about.

We missed out on Friday’s festivities which included a tractor ride, basketball tournaments, library program, food, kids pedal pull, and a teen dance. Saturday was full of even more activities. A 5K, 10K, and Fun Run took place in the morning along with a fishing contest with tagged bullheads (the lake is full of those whiskered creatures-hence the name of the celebration). Antique tractors and cars were on show, a bean bags tournament took place, and mini donuts and sno cones were consumed. We made it to town in time for the parade.

Bully Bullhead Parade
The parade was just the right length and had many fun floats celebrating the area.

The parade was close to forty-five minutes long and was full of floats from area businesses. Candy was tossed along with other goodies. Some of our favorite floats were a bulldog in a wagon with the tag “Bully the BullDOG,” a small train, and a group of Shriners from Spencer, Iowa. The Shriners were visible from far away in their little yellow cars. As they got closer, the crowd was in awe of the driving tricks this group did on the street. It was fun to watch them quickly weave around each other and then suddenly stop. It made me wonder how many fender benders happen during practice!

After the parade, activities took place all around town including an antique tractor rodeo, and pony and wagon rides. The day rounded out with a street dance downtown and fireworks at Huston Beach. We enjoyed the fireworks from across the lake with s’mores and pjs.

Sunday mornings at Lost Island means pancakes at the Ruthven Legion Hall, and this weekend was no different. We had some of the world’s greatest pancakes (there will be a post about this fabulous attraction another day) before spending more time by the lake and taking refuge from the heat in the cool water.

Parade Time Fun
She got her favorite candy! We all had a lot of fun at Bully Bullhead Weekend and are looking forward to enjoying even more activities next year!

Bully Bullhead Weekend wasn’t over for some folks though. Sunday had just as many activities as the rest of the weekend, including a co-ed volleyball tournament, trap shoot, progressive organ recital, and an ice cream social at a local church. While a fishing tournament was a part of the festivities, it seemed like celebrating the community and having fun were main stage. There was something for everyone to do in the small town of Ruthven, where the water tower is painted like a fishing bobber (I hope I’m not the only one who noticed this!).

While we didn’t take in all the activities, we enjoyed Small Town Iowa fun at the car show, parade, fireworks, and pancake breakfast. We’ll have plenty of new things to see and do next year at the 24th annual Bully Bullhead Weekend!

‘Give our Shores a Spin’ During RAGBRAI 2015

RAGBRAI Countdown Bike
RAGBRAI Countdown Bike after the 4th of July Parade in Storm Lake, Iowa. You never know where you may find the bike before the RAGBRAI riders arrive in town!

RAGBRAI is just around the corner! And if you live in Iowa, you’ve most likely been hearing about The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa for quite some time now. The week-long bike ride will bring more than 20,000 people to several towns across Iowa.

This year, the droves of people (and bicycles) will arrive in Sioux City, Iowa on July, 18th for an evening of entertainment and fun. The other overnight stops include Storm Lake, Fort Dodge, Eldora, Cedar Falls, Hiawatha, and Iowa River Landing/Coralville before ending in Davenport on the 25th.

The the first day of riding just happens to end in the town we live in, so it is hard to ignore the hype surrounding this event that is 42 years strong. The preparations are in the final stages. Food, entertainment, showers, and housing for the night have been arranged. Check out the Storm Lake RAGBRAI website or facebook page for even more details.

The countdown is on-literally! A huge metal bicycle has been spotted around Storm Lake with signage counting down the days until the bicyclists arrive in our town. It’s been fun to see where we spot this bike. We’ve found it at Kings Pointe Resort, the 4th of July Parade, Downtown Storm Lake, and in the Hy-Vee parking lot. You’ll have to go for a drive around town to see where it will be next!

RAGBRAI Windmill Blade
This painted windmill blade welcomes bicyclists and other RAGBRAI goers to Storm Lake.

We’ve also found a windmill blade near Highway 110 by the Little Storm Lake Discovery Center painted for the occasion. The Witter Gallery has an art show going on now through July 31, consisting of locally created bicycle art of all kinds. My girls have entered their own glittery bike paintings for all to see. Be sure to check out all the art before it’s gone!

So, if find yourself driving (or riding) across the great state of Iowa July 18-25, keep an eye out for extra bikes on the road. Make sure you stop along the way and join in on the Small Town Iowa fun and hospitality. Check here for RAGBRAI’s 2015 route and here for the Storm Lake entertainment schedule. Bring on the bikes, Storm Lake is ready for our RAGBRAI friends to ‘Give our Shores a Spin!’

Relay For Life: Spreading Hope in Buena Vista County, Iowa

Relay for LifeHOPE. The shirts for the 2015 Relay for Life have this message front and center. Those who attend a Relay for Life fundraising event sponsored by the American Cancer Society this year will be reminded that there is HOPE-hope for a cure, hope for survival, hope that less people have to hear the word ‘cancer.’

Cancer is a very personal thing for my family and me, like it is for so many of you. We were first introduced to the Relay for Life in Carroll County, Iowa in 1998, after my younger brother was diagnosed with cancer. Since then, the Relay has become a part of my summer ritual. The Relay for Life took on an even deeper meaning after I was diagnosed with cancer in 2000, at the age of 16. Although the county I now Relay in is different, the cause is very much the same. For me, it is a celebration. It is on the track that I am reminded over and over again about my many blessings.

Carroll County Relay for Life 2005
My siblings, me, and our significant others at the Carroll County Relay for Life in 2005-10 years ago, before any of us were married. This is one of my all-time favorite Relay for Life photos!

For others, the Relay for Life is a time of healing. A time of remembering loved ones who lost their lives due to cancer. The Relay for Life is here to provide HOPE that someday there will be more celebrating and fewer tears. The money raised at these events is used for cancer research and programming to support those affected by cancer.

This year, I attended the Relay for Life in Buena Vista County in late June at Tornado Field in Storm Lake, Iowa. The event kicked-off with a meal at 5 PM and lasted until after dark. A survivors lap honored those who have fought or were currently fighting a battle against cancer. Luminaries in honor or memory of those touched by cancer lined the track to be lit at dusk. Entertainment and games were also available throughout the evening.

I wasn’t able to stay long at this year’s Relay for Life, but I made sure I walked a few laps. I walked for my family members, friends, and strangers all touched by cancer. I walked for me. This year, I celebrated being cancer free for 14 ½ years!

Relay for Life
Spreading HOPE at the Relay for Life 2015. Make plans to attend an event in 2016!

If you haven’t been to a Relay for Life, please go, and check it out at least once. You don’t have to be part of a team to participate, but if you are up to the challenge, get a group of friends together to make a difference in the lives of others. You can find additional information and a list of Relay for Life events near you here. Get out there, raise money if you can, and walk to create HOPE that someday we will live in a world without cancer.

Living Deliciously at White House 220 Cupcakery

White House 220
The White House 220 Cupcakery in Alta, Iowa offers a menu of yummy breads and cupcakes on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Yummy! Fun! Those two words pretty much sum up the date night my husband and I had at White House 220 Cupcakery in Alta, Iowa. The cupcakery, owned by Peg Hinkeldey, is an adorable venue-both inside and out. The cupcakery opened less than 2 years ago and has proved to be a delicious adventure.

The cupcakery sells gourmet cupcakes on Friday and Saturday mornings each week from 9 AM to 12 PM or until the cupcakes are sold out. During the summer, the cupcakery is open from 6:00-9:00 PM on Friday and Saturday evenings. So, when my husband and I found ourselves kid-less (thanks to my parents), we decided to try out the mini cupcakes, bread, and sangria we’d been hearing about.

We stopped in the store and picked out some cupcakes to enjoy. With no kids we might as well go for dessert first, right? The flavors are different each night, but the Monster Cookie and Upside Down Pineapple we tried were pretty fabulous! We sampled the house-made sangria (which was so good we each decided to fill up our glasses-mine with added fruit and his without), and made our way to the backyard.

Inviting Outdoor Seating
The outdoor seating was inviting, relaxing and super fun. It can be romantic, too, if you are looking for that sort of thing!

I must say, walking into the backyard at White House 220 Cupcakery was like walking into a different city. The brick backdrop, music, and outdoor seating was reminiscent of downtown Iowa City or Old Market in Omaha, not what you think to find in small-town Alta, Iowa. Old chairs serve as swings and an old door hanging from a tree is a table. A life-size Jenga game sat in a corner, inviting visitors to have fun. I’ve also heard a bicycle built for two often sits in the yard just waiting to be taken for joy ride.

Peg and her husband, Bruce, are host and hostess Friday and Saturday nights. Although they each have day-time careers, they are perfect for these jobs! It was like being at a backyard party with friends instead of being at an eating establishment. Peg brought us a bread menu, and Bruce shared info about the craft beers and local wines with guests. The menu had a handful of specialty focaccia (Italian flatbread) and fresh baguettes to choose from. We chose the Focaccia Italian Alfredo.

Playing Jenga
Trying to beat my husband playing Jenga in the backyard at White House 220 Cupcakery.

While we waited for our bread, we sipped our sangria and enjoyed each others company in the intimate atmosphere. I eventaully talked my husband into a match of Jenga. I’m competitive and had fun trying to beat him. (I secretly wanted to put my name on a Jenga block if I won.) It was harder than I thought. The stack of blocks was eventually taller than me, it slowly stated to sway more on each turn, and then, as I was pulling a block from the stack, it came clattering to the ground in a huge heap. He won. He signed his name. I think we need a rematch!

Yummy Food!
Yum! Words cannot describe how delicious this was!

We enjoyed our Focaccia Italian Alfredo which was topped with creamy alfredo sauce, Italian sausage, melty cheese, chopped tomatoes, and green onions. It tasted as amazing as it sounds! You need to try it for yourself! We totally recommend it.

Before we left, we were already talking about our next trip to the White House 220 Cupcakery. The atmosphere, food, and service were top-notch. We want to bring our friends and our kiddos (that’s two different trips). Peg shared that the neighborhood kids often come with their parents and have a blast playing Jenga. Others come to enjoy a glass of wine and relax with a good book. Groups of friends come to hang out or try new wines and beers. The backyard is perfect for all kinds of fun.

The backyard is also open during regular Cupcakery hours. So feel free to enjoy your cupcake inside or out. Peg shared that the little cupcakes freeze well, so you can get your cupcake fix any day of the week. If that’s not a good reason to buy a big box of yummy cupcakes, I don’t know what is!

Great Date Night
We had an amazing time on our date night at the White House 220 Cupcakery!

The White House 220 Cupcakery hosts parties, special events, and can make cupcakes for all your special occasions. Check them out on Facebook to stay up to date on their schedule of events and most importantly, the current list of cupcake flavors!

We had a memorable date night at the White House 220 Cupcakery. We tried something a little different and had a great time just hanging out. You never know what fun you’ll find when you try something new. If you find yourself in the area, be sure to stop by the cupcakery on a Friday or Saturday to live deliciously!

Meeting Local Heros at Cool Down with the Cops

 

Posing with Lieutenant Cole
Lieutenant Cole from the SLPD and my girls at the Cool off with the Cops event at Tropical Sno.

Many smiles and ‘Thank Yous’ were shared at the ‘Cool Down with the Cops’ event sponsored by the Storm Lake Police Department on June 30, 2015. For an hour in the afternoon, members of the SLPD were on hand at Tropical Sno in downtown Storm Lake to discuss community issues, field questions, and cool off with locals. Free sno cones were given out to those who stopped by.

This event appeared to be a hit. Many children and families lined up for the sno cones and opportunities to chat with the officers. My girls were super excited to see police officers up close and personal and have their photo taken with Lieutenant Cole. It was great to see so many children (and adults) excited to mingle with the people who work hard day in and day out to protect our beautiful city.

Addie petting Cesar
Officer Schuchhardt and Cesar were a big hit with the kids at the Cool off with the Cops Event.

Officer Schuchhardt and his K-9 partner, Cesar, made an appearance and heightened the excitement with the children. The children had the opportunity to pet Cesar and share their love with him. Meeting members of the SLPD, seeing Cesar, and cooling off with sno cones were the highlights of our day. It is something the girls will be talking about for days to come.

Thank you to Tropical Sno for working hard to make the yummy sno cones. Thank you SLPD for inviting the community to spend the afternoon with you. You are this community’s heros. Thank you for all you do!

If you missed this event, there are plenty of ways to connect with our local police department. Check out SLPD’s Facebook page for upcoming Neighborhood Outreach and Coffee with a Cop opportunities. If you live outside of Storm Lake, contact your local police department to find a community outreach event near you. Get out there, and meet your local heros!

 

4th of July Preparations=Star Spangled Fun

Star Spangled Spectacular Logo
Star Spangled Spectacular, Storm Lake, Iowa

Let Freedom Ring! Independence Day is just around the corner. The count down to fireworks, family, and friends has begun! In just a few days, Storm Lake, Iowa will be full of pomp and circumstance. The festivities of the Star Spangled Spectacular have become traditions for many area families, including my own.

Our favorite events include the Kiddie Parade on the 3rd, the Big Parade on the 4th, Artist’s Alley in the park, music at Sunset Park’s band shell, and of course all the yummy food! There is definitely something for everyone. For a full schedule of events check out Storm Lake United’s website or the Star Spangled Spectacular Facebook page.

4th of July Shirts
Our finished shirts will have everyone seeing red, white, and blue!

To make the holiday extra special, a friend and I recently got together to make shirts for our kiddos to wear. (We made matching ones for ourselves just for fun as well.) They were easy to make, and the kids had fun creating them. The full directions can be found on the Cutesy Crafts blog. You can also check out photos from our crafting session here.

With shirts made and and a schedule of events handy, we are ready to have a spectacular time on the 4th!

 

Exploring Sanborn, Iowa

Vander Haag Truck Museum
The Vander Haag Truck Museum looks very inviting from Hwy 18. We had to check out this fun spot in Sanborn, Iowa.

My girls and I had a fun afternoon exploring Sanborn, Iowa! After a morning of strawberry picking at Getting’s Garden, we headed into town for another Girls Adventure. (Be sure to check out my post about our strawberry picking adventure here.) Instead of driving by and just wondering what there was to do in town, we stopped and found that Sanborn has a lot of offer.

Our first stop was the city park. It was conveniently located a block away from Highway 18. The park had a nice variety of playground equipment and a large open shelter house. The girls had fun on the jungle gym and the many slides. After they worked up an appetite, we enjoyed a picnic which included our over-flowing flat of freshly picked strawberries!

Sanborn Playground
The playground at the Sanborn City Park was a fun place to play and have a picnic.

The Sanborn Aquatic Center was adjacent to the park and looked quite refreshing, so we explored the area by the park to let our lunch settle before swimming. There was a lot to explore in a small area. We found a big, orange train caboose at one edge of the park. At the other, we found a bear tree-carving, a small well-kept garden, and a beautiful Veteran’s Memorial.

Train Caboose
The girls had fun checking out this train caboose located near the city park.

The girls were then ready to swim. I happened to have swimsuits and water toys in our car (I remembered driving by a pool last year), so we were set for an afternoon of fun! The aquatic center included a water slide, diving boards, a water-walk, zero-depth entry, lap lanes, a baby fish slide, a tiki hut, and geysers all for $5 a person. It was the perfect size for this water-fearing mom and two adventurous 5-year olds. The girls splashed, played, and practiced their swimming skills for over two hours. They were not happy when it was time to leave. I must admit, the time flew by for me too!

Sanborn Aquatic Center
The Sanborn Aquatic Center was great place to cool off for kids of all ages!

The pool was very well kept. There were plenty of chairs for lounging and umbrellas for shade. Snacks were available for purchase during break times, and several tables were nearby for the hungry kiddos. The most impressive part to me were the very clean bathrooms. (I typically try to avoid pool bathrooms, but I wasn’t afraid of these!)

On our way out of town, we saw a quaint old-time filling station. The orange and browns of the Vander Haag’s Truck Museum were so inviting that we just had to stop. The museum is only open for special celebrations and by appointment, but we explored the grounds a bit. The girls had questions about the old gas pumps, found cute statues, and took a quick ride on a tire swing. We’d love to see inside the museum sometime and will put that on our list for another day!

Vander Haag Museum Fun
The girls just loved these little statues located near the entrance of the Vander Haag Museum. They pretended they were statues too!

If you’d like to see check out the memorabilia sooner than later, you are in luck! The museums are set to be open during Sanborn’s upcoming Railroad Days at the end of July, 2015. Another place to check out would be Miller Park which features a paved walking path, shelter house, and playground equipment. A disc golf course and a golf course and county club are also located near Miller Park and provide many recreational opportunities. Those are also added to our Sanborn bucket list. We just didn’t have enough time to see everything!

Bear Statue
This bear greets guests at the Sanborn Aquatic Center. He seems to be waving hello and good-bye to all those who visit!

I had two very tired girls on the way home. It was a quiet and peaceful trip for me. I couldn’t help but think about all the fun we had at Getting’s Garden and in the town of Sanborn. You never know what you’ll find when you check out new places!

Here are some tips for exploring towns new to you:

  • Pack your swimsuits, you never know when you may need them
  • Don’t hesitate to pull over and explore something new
  • Pack a picnic lunch, but also check out local establishments (especially if they sell ice cream!)
  • Check out local parks and recreation areas
  • Ask locals for recommendations on attractions and/or restaurants to visit; they may point you to unknown treasures
  • Keep an open mind and have fun exploring something new!

Getting’s Garden: Strawberry Picking at it’s Finest

Getting’s Garden
We could hardly wait to get out to the fields! The memories made at Getting’s Garden will last a lifetime!

Strawberries! Rows and rows of sweet, red, juicy, strawberries! It seemed as though the berries were calling us to the fields once we arrived at Getting’s Garden, a third-generation, family-owned and operated strawberry farm, near Sanborn, Iowa. The girls had been asking to return to this very spot since our visit last year, so I knew it would be a perfect Girls Adventure. It proved to be a very sweet adventure, indeed!

The girls were ready in record time in anticipation of our trip. The hour and fifteen minute car ride passed quickly as we played car games and listened to music. The excitement grew as I turned into the driveway of Getting’s Garden. The three of us were soon riding the Strawberry Express, a gator-like vehicle, to the fields of luscious berries.

Picking Berries
People of all ages filled the fields to find the perfect berries for jams, pies, and snacking!

Once in the field, we were given a box, assigned a row of strawberries, and got to work picking. The work was fun, the company was great, and the perks were even better! We hadn’t been picking long when one of my girls asked to taste the fruits of her labor. Soon sticky, red juice ran down her chin, and a smile spread across her face. I must admit I had to give into temptation once, too. Okay, I confess, I was tempted by these sweet little berries more than once. But, I swear they were just asking to be eaten!

We stayed on task for the most part, admiring the berries, and plucking them from the vines. Our box filled quickly. Soon it was almost overflowing. One of my girls, with big eyes, told me we better stop picking. With a glance at the box I realized she was right. We had more berries than we knew what to do with! It was just so hard to stop picking once we started. We rode the Strawberry Express back to the Market where the berries were weighed and put on a shelf while we shopped.

Yummy Treat from the Market
We had quite an appetite after ‘working’ in the field. We enjoyed a yummy treat at the Market.

The Market was full of all things strawberry. Pre-picked berries, jams, salsas, and everything in between were available for purchase. Sweet strawberry treats caught our eyes. We tried the Strawberry Angel Dream-a heavenly miniature angel food cake with fresh strawberries and a heap of soft serve vanilla ice cream. Maybe it was the fun we were having or maybe it was the fresh berries, but in the words of a five year old, “It was sooooo delicious!” (I seriously heard her say that between every bite!)

Feeding Animals
Even my non-animal lover was coaxed to feed a donkey from her hand. The cheese puff-eating pot bellied pig was a favorite.

Before heading out, we stopped to visit the animals which were new to Getting’s Garden this year. For $1 the girls fed goats, sheep, a miniature cow, donkey, a miniature pony, a bunny, and a pot-bellied pig. The animals seemed to be a big hit with the kids visiting the strawberry patch! After all the animals were fed and a few photos were taken we were ready to head out.

We paid for our berries ($2.05 a pound during the 2015 picking season), and picked up a case of those yummy mini angel food cakes. We were sad to leave the fields full of berries but were excitedly making plans for whipping up yummy strawberry treats of our own.

Strawberry Sisters
The girls showing off their prized berries. They had so much fun and have already asked when we can go back to Getting’s Garden!

If you’ve never picked your own strawberries before, get out there and give it a try! Pickers of all ages would enjoy what Getting’s Garden has to offer. We’ll be back next year for sure! We made many ‘berry sweet’ memories on this Girls Adventure!

To see more photos from our trip to Getting’s Garden and other Girls Adventures, click here.

**The strawberry picking season is short, so be sure to follow Getting’s Garden on Facebook for their hours of operation.

Crafty Girls: Creating Memories and Masterpieces

Intently Painting
This little gal carefully painted her mermaid. Making messes together can led to great memories!

Being creative can lead to a great adventure! This Girls Adventure was full of creativity, laughter, and fun. The day was made even more special when my mom joined us for an afternoon of painting at Cool Catz Pottery Studio in Storm Lake. While Cool Catz, a paint your own pottery studio, has recently closed its doors (I’m super sad about this!), I still wanted to share this experience since the idea is more important than the location.

While at Cool Catz, my mom and the girls thoughtfully picked out the pottery pieces they wanted to paint. (I decided to be a helper rather than a painter on this occasion.) One of my girls chose a bunny and troll to paint while the other picked a mermaid and a cup. My mom found two bowls that she and my dad will use for popcorn (my parents make the best homemade kettle corn ever!). After a quick lesson on paining techniques, the brushes were put to use. My girls, although only 5, worked on getting the details just right. They made pieces that were uniquely theirs. The girls critiqued Grandma’s work and helped her pick out paint colors.

Painting Pottery
My animal lover had so much fun painting her very own bunny. Both girls were so proud of their work.

The finished pieces were left at the studio to be kiln-fired. I was able to pick them up a week later. My girls quickly found special places to keep their handiwork. They were so proud of their work and couldn’t wait to deliver Grandma’s popcorn bowls. All masterpieces are now proudly displayed and will be treasured for years to come.

We chatted and laughed while making masterpieces that afternoon, creating not only art but lasting memories. Now each time my girls see their painted treasures they will think of the afternoon spent with Grandma. And when my mom enjoys popcorn in her hand-painted bowls, she will remember the fun she had with her granddaughters. I will forever cherish the time spent with three generations of crafty girls.

Grandma and Her Little Helper
Grandma and her little helper had fun picking out paint colors together.

Now its your turn to have a crafty adventure! Grab family members or friends and make memories. Although Cool Catz is no longer open for business there are plenty of other ways to get creative. Check out local art galleries, newspapers, colleges, and community education agencies for area classes and events. Or, try out one of these Northwest Iowa locations (not an extensive list by any means, but it will get you started):

It’s also okay to get creative in your own living room or kitchen. Have your grandma teach you to make her famous homemade rolls, get out the kids’ watercolors and create together, put together a puzzle, bake cookies together, try out a Pinterest project as a group, admire family photos or quilts, or have Grandpa teach the little ones how to make a birdhouse. Get several generations together, and do something a little different.

All Done!
All done painting! Waiting a week to pick up the finished pieces was so hard. The girls couldn’t wait to see their new treasures!

The great thing is, it won’t matter if you aren’t an expert painter, baker, or bird house maker. It’s okay if your cookies get burnt or you have a Pinterest disaster. (Those mishaps may bring more laughter and make your experience even more memorable!) What will matter is that you’re having fun while creating memories with the ones you treasure the most. I can’t think of a better adventure!

Free Fishing = Family Fun

Ready to Fish
Getting ready to fish at the Gone Fish’n Fishing Derby in Storm Lake, Iowa.

“Here fishy, fishy!” Kids of all ages were uttering these words on Sunday, June 7, 2015 at a fishing derby hosted by Gone Fish’n. This free event was held at Frank Starr Park in Storm Lake, Iowa for kids ages 3 to 13 in conjunction with Iowa’s Free Fishing Weekend. The event advertised free food, bait, prizes, and free fishing poles for the first 65 kids. While this was the first year Gone Fish’n hosted such an event, I hope it becomes an annual family tradition for years to come.

My girls were super excited to go fishing. We gathered our sunscreen, fishing poles, and camera and set out on a great fishing adventure. Our family is full of novice fishers, so our load was light. Next time I would bring the following items: Lawn chairs, bug spray, and hand wipes. (Some people also brought buckets for seats or to carry home their catch of the day.) I was able to scrounge up an almost empty can of bug spray and a couple wet wipes in our car once we got there, but having them at the beginning of our expedition would have been handy!

Shore of Storm Lake
The shore of Storm Lake was packed with families excited to go fishing.

We arrived at the park shortly before 2 PM. The free fishing poles were gone, and the amount of families lining the shore already was amazing. Later, we found out that a whopping 97 free fishing poles were given away to excited children!

The girls signed in and were given a cup of wiggly worms. We found a spot along the shore and got busy untangling fishing lines and baiting hooks. We threw out our lines and intently watched the pink and white bobbers for any sign of movement. We watched, and watched, and watched. “This is no use,” sighed one of my girls. She reeled in the line to check for signs of life. The worm still dangled from the hook. With a determined mind, she threw out the line again and waited. And waited some more.

Watching Bobbers
Making memories while watching bobbers for signs of movement!

A little girl next to us caught a fish, and excitement mounted. We chatted and watched the boat traffic on the lake. A jet ski made waves nearby. A family of curious geese swam by to check out the excitement. Our bobbers stayed in one spot, with no signs of nibbles. After 30 minutes of unsuccessful fishing, tiny little ripples started to appear on the lake, and rain drops slowly began to fall on our heads. Slowly, the sprinkles picked up. It was raining!

Our fishing expedition was over. We packed up and loaded our gear in the car. Some followed suit, while other die-hard fishers weren’t bothered by a little rain. A crowd slowly gathered in the park’s shelter house where a group from Storm Lake’s Grace Lutheran Church had graciously prepared hot dogs, chips, bars, and drinks.

Time for Prizes
This tackle box was a big hit and is now full of all her jewelry!

Prizes were then given away to kids who caught fish and to those who came to give fishing a try. All kids in attendance got a prize of some sort, ranging from lures, fishing nets, and tackle boxes. We went home with a mermaid tackle box, a big bag of bobbers, and fish coloring sheets. The girls loved their prizes and are even more excited to go on another fishing adventure! Despite the rain, Gone Fish’n hosted a great event that led to a lot of Small Town Iowa Fun!

You don’t have to wait for Gone Fish’n to host an event to get in on the fishing fun. The lake in Storm Lake is always ready for anglers of all ages. So, get your pole and tackle and plan an adventure of your own!