Clean up Day in April was successful, even though it rained. The National Honor Society kids and the FFA kids came out early in the week and picked up sticks and cleaned the grounds so the Saturday work was all inside. And there were about twenty-five volunteers who got it done. Lunch was served at 11:30 by more volunteers.
There was another Clean Up Day on June 17th and 8 people came out to deadhead and weed and, in general, make the Park look good for the All School Reunion on June 19th. Thanks to a seminar on retail promotion, organized by the Western Iowa Tourism Region, and held at the Conference Center, some major improvements to the front of the Conference Center, made it look much more welcoming to visitors. Some things just don’t get noticed until someone or something brings it to everyone’s attention.
Ah, the memories from the All School Reunion! There were 838 people in the courtyard and the Conference Center and, although the ages varied greatly, everyone still remembered how to party! Fever and the Funkhouse, Jeff Mount’s band from Blair, NE, entertained most of the evening, but the local guys, The Blues Brothers, performed at intermission and were a real hit. Manning does everything well, including putting on a party! It took lots and lots of volunteers for the All School Reunion, Kinderfest and the Party on the Bricks and the people who came for the events were very appreciative!
And the beat goes on! Week-end after week-end, the weddings keep coming. What an interesting summer the site has had. At this time in July, nine of our 25 weddings have taken place. From simple to elaborate, and from Chicago and Cedar Rapids to Audubon and Manning the people come. The Park has a great reputation for customer service, thanks to all the people here who help to make the experience special for each couple. With the Church, the Hausbarn and the extensive grounds, couples have lots to choose from and it can serve many different kinds of groups.
And, of course, the community benefits from this influx of people. They buy gas, shop uptown, and enjoy the Main Street renovations. Vicki Waterbury just reported that she had had several people in the last few weeks offer their opinion that the Park was great and well worth a visit. Visitation is up this year and that benefits Main Street, too. The Park is grateful for such an attractive community. The Park has been blessed with some important free advertising. The wedding from Chicago came because the groom watched the Super Bowl and saw the video that the sportscasters from Denver had done of Manning. The sportscasters were traveling the interstate, saw the sign for Manning and thought it would be great to see what Peyton’s Manning looked like.
The courtyard is very impressive and has given the site even better accomodations for weddings and for parties. No longer do the high heels sink into the rocks and gravel, at least not on the west half of the courtyard. After the All School Reunion, several more bricks were purchased and it is hoped that the east half of the courtyard will be well on its way to being finished soon. If you don’t have your brick yet, please check the web site and you can order it there.
The flooring in the carriage house kitchen has been installed and paid for and it is very nice. Not only does it look good, but it’s easier to maintain. The cement floor in the chicken house has made that building usable and, in fact, it houses a hundred little pheasants that will be turned loose in the next few weeks. The foxes are watching the building closely, but the pheasants will be released somewhere else so the foxes are going to miss that dinner.
The Pancake Breakfast on the Reunion week-end served 290, the best one we’ve had yet. Hopefully, the Pancake Breakfast on November 29 will be as successful. Speaking of things to come, Oktoberfest will be on October 10. There will be a duo from Germany again. This time it’s Andy and Heike, Lady Sou and Mr. Banjo. Last year, it was Andy and Rudi and everyone enjoyed them very much. We will have a brew contest with several brew pubs coming. You will be able to taste and cast your vote for your favorite beer. There will be a traditional keg tapping by the German-American Society of Omaha and, with the west half of the courtyard finished, we may be able to have the Heimat Tanzer (German dancers) perform.
The tours come early in the season and there were nine in May and June. There is one in July and another in October. Both are thanks to loyal supporters of the Park. The July one was suggested by Dave Peters and the October one by Bob and Diane Riggert. The machinery has been placed in an organized line on the south side of the farmstead and the names of each piece and the donor have been placed on them. The tour guides have a hard time getting the men away from the machinery and the women away from the house.