Good-bye to 2014!

Oktoberfest was a great event. The German-American Society from Omaha came to do the keg tapping, there was beer tasting from three brew pubs, a banjo duo from Germany happened to be in the country and entertained and the Barry Boyce Band got the toes tapping. Jan’s Catering created the German dinner and everyone agreed it was a hit! The Holiday Party was the last event of the year and a fun time. Guys ‘n Ties from Davenport, a comedy trio, kept the audience laughing! Lots of people suggested we have them back again.

Starting with a bang!

It actually started in the fall of 2014. There are 23 weddings scheduled for 2015. Most of them are using the hall and bar, but several are also using the Church or the outdoor sites for the weddings. Four weddings are reserved for 2016, too. The advance notice for weddings and events helps to make the day more successful as the Park can be cleaned and decorated with flowers to add to the atmosphere. This is the earliest the Park has ever been so filled with nuptial events. There are also 23 other events on the calendar for 2015. And busy is just what we want to be!!

The German Immigrant Courtyard

This is an exciting project, begun over 15 years ago as the Immigrant Wall. The money raised at that time has been the impetus for the idea to brick the courtyard east of the Konferenz Centre, in essence just laying the wall down. A stage area on the south side of the courtyard is also in the plans. These improvements will surely bring more events to the Park and encourage more wedding receptions. New orders are received weekly and there should be a significant display by the All-School reunion in June of 2015. You’re all coming, aren’t you?

Memberships and Sponsorships

Weddings and events help pay for operations at the Park, but memberships and sponsorships are critical. As the office works on getting your statements for tax purposes ready to send to you, your generosity is amazing. It is hoped that you will be able to help again in 2015. Memberships are coming in and about at the halfway point of last year’s list. If you haven’t paid yours yet, there’s still time. Suggested levels are a Traditional Membership at $30, which will include the newsletter and an invitation to the Annual Membership Appreciation Meeting. The Supporting Membership level at $60 gets the same as the Traditional and adds a 10% off in the Gift Shop. The Historical Membership, $120, gets the same as the Supporting Membership and adds a one-time free admission for the member and family. The Park has benefited from sponsorships for specific Park events in the past six years. The sponsorships have been used for the event specified by the donor. Since the emphasis will now be on creating a German cultural center in the Konferenz Centre, events will include a variety of activities and may be planned in a shorter amount of time. Thus, a pot of donated money that can be used for any event that arises will be a valuable tool. To that end, there is a new sponsorship letter and schedule going out later this year.A couple of examples of the kinds of events or activities that might qualify for this stash of cash would be the planting of flowers all over the Park. With the 23 weddings, All School Reunion and Party on the Bricks coming up, there will be a need to pretty-up the Park. Another example of an activity that would need some of the cash is the idea to have an afternoon of German cooking class or a fun afternoon of German Platt class. There’s also a possibility of having daycamps at the Park in the summer in cooperation with the Rec Center.

Annual Membership Meeting

The Annual Membership Meeting will be held on Saturday, March 21, beginning at 3 p.m. The speaker will be Jeremy Parsons, the manager of the Clay County Fair in Spencer, IA. The Fair completed an Economic Impact Study in 2014 and the results were very useful for the Fair Board and their efforts to achieve financial support from outside sources. The Park will prepare a preliminary economic impact report for 2014, in hopes of attaining information of value to those businesses and individuals who support it. No plans are in the works to make this a professional report, which would cost considerable money, but rather just a glimpse of what the Park contributes to the community, county and state. There will be a light lunch after the meeting and the opportunity to visit with the Board about ideas for the Park. Please put the date on your calendar. If you can, come early and check out the improvements to Manning’s Main Street, thanks to the hard work of the Manning Main Street organization.

The Leet/Hassler Historical Farmstead!

The Farmstead, on the National Register of Historical Places, is a very important part of the Park and the German and agricultural history of Manning. A committee is working on the scale house and chicken house to stabilize and maintain them. The barn on the Farmstead also needs some rehabbing and, in fact, could be used again the way it was in Manning’s past. The haymow was a place for dances and it would be great to see it used that way again. Yes, it would be a major, major effort, but here’s a picture of the possibility. The haymow in the picture is in Grundy County. It’s used as a reception hall and also for local events. Our haymow is actually bigger than the one pictured.

Upcoming Events

On Sunday, January 25, the Park will be represented at the Annual Bridal Fair at Boulders in Denison. It will be the 4th year and it is an opportunity to make ourselves known to brides from around the area. It’s a good thing. The Park has membership in the Western Iowa Tourism Region and the Travel Federation of Iowa. Those memberships entitle it to a voice in tourism issues. On January 27, 2015, the Travel Federation of Iowa presents a Legislative Forum for the State Legislators. It’s a fun evening where all state legislators are invited to eat, drink and become acquainted with the tourism entities around the state that provide tax dollars for their use. We are told that it is one of the events that the legislators really look forward to. The Manning Hausbarn-Heritage Park has been present at each one for the last 15 or so years. It’s good for our name recognition. Put the Annual Membership Meeting on March 21 and the All School Reunion and Party on the Bricks on June 19 and 20 on your calendar. Annual events planned again this year are Oktoberfest on October 10 and the Annual Pancake Breakfast on Thanksgiving week-end, November 29. And do you or anyone you know have a golf cart to donate to the Park?? We could use it for taking visitors with disabilities around the Park and we would be very appreciative (you could use it as a tax write off!) Stay tuned. The Happy New Year is looking good!