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Destination Dyersville


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Finding Baseball Heaven in Iowa

Posted on June 17, 2016 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (1)

Sometimes we see and hear stories that are just better coming from the mind of someone who is not native to our area! Check out the blog from Lance below to read about their recent visit!

Finding Baseball Heaven in Iowa

LANCE WIEDOWER | Special to The Daily News

 


Driving the two-lane road northeast out of Dyersville, Iowa, it wasn’t hard to hide our intentions from the 9-year-old boy in the backseat.

 

Yes, like many boys his age spending more than 30 seconds in a car, an electronic device was in his hands. More than that, though, we were in Iowa. So far, much of his experience in Iowa had been fields of newly planted corn, rolling hills and rain. Actually, lots of rain.

 

And to his credit he had paid attention during the hour-and-a-half drive from Iowa City that morning. But there is only so much rolling farmland a child can take in.

 

On a recent visit to Minneapolis we decided to drive from Memphis instead of fly, in part because none of us had been to Iowa and I hoped to see one or two highlights of the state as we quickly passed through.

 

We split up the 13-hour drive with an overnight stop in Iowa City, which came as a good break from the rain, the kind that must be necessary to grow all that corn.

 

The next morning, thankfully, brought partly cloudy skies without much hint of rain, a welcome sign considering our destination near Dyersville before continuing to Minneapolis.

 

Maybe it was the magic of the corn, or possibly it was the voice that told Ray to build it some 30 years ago that decided this moment should be sunny. But as we drove down that country road and pulled into the long drive, it seemed the sun was shining bright when we asked the backseat passenger where we were.

 

He looked up and to the distance, squinting as the light poles came into focus. “Field of Dreams,” he said, adding extra emotion to each word as he realized our destination.

 

Yes, we made it to the real Field of Dreams, the site where Ray built “it” in the middle of a corn field so everyone would come. Yes, build it and they will come and we did just that.

 

Just outside Dyersville, Iowa, is the real farmhouse and real baseball field and real fields of corn that starred in the baseball film “Field of Dreams.”

 

For any baseball fan or movie buff who finds their way to the heart of the heartland, stopping at Field of Dreams is a must. There is no admission charge to walk into the corn or play catch in the outfield.

 

My son stood on the mound and pitched for a few minutes on a diamond with actual Major League Baseball dimensions. He ran the bases, and slid into home. It was a Field of Dreams made to order for a baseball-obsessed boy.

 

Dyersville, Iowa, isn’t exactly on the way; in fact, we added more than an hour to our drive to visit.

 

I hear the state of Iowa is quite fond of a slogan that came from the movie and is printed on T-shirts sold in the gift shop: “Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.”

 

Contact Lance Wiedower at tripsbylance.com.

The Pub Special or Chad's Special?

Posted on May 23, 2016 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the great things about the Dyersville  are is that you can come here hungry and leave very full! Now maybe it's the fact that it's mid-afternoon and I have to take my lunch break yet, or maybe it's the fact that it is beautiful outside and I am alreadying thinking ahead to a fun weekend, but I am thinking about pizza!

Our area has some great establishments that are known for their pizza. So I'm curious, which place do you think has the best? 

Casey's General Store- 1402 9th Street SE-875-2175
WAY more than a general store! Casey's is known for its pizza and they have the great boxes with coupons where after you buy 10 pizza, you get your 11th free! Plus, this is a great place to pick up breakfast pizza and make your co-workers really love you!

Chad's Pizza-108 1st Ave W, Dyersville- 875-2483
A great place to get the Chad's Pizza, Hawkeye Pizza, Taco, or our family's personal favorites: cheese or sausage! They also have great chicken and a fantastic taco salad!

The English Pub-210 1st Ave E- 875-8832
The English Pub is a great place to go after work, on the weekends, to meet a friend, for lunch...what am I kidding...it's a great place to go anytime! Have a cold one and order a pizza and you will actually see the number change on the board of how many pizzas they have made! Be a part of history!


Golf Side Grille- 30824 Olde Hawkeye Road- 875-6336
Golf Side Grille was the recipient of two awards in 2013: Dubuque County Dairy Association "Golden Butterknife Award" and Dubuque Country Beef Producers "Beef Backer Award." It is fair to say that their pizzas are covered with the best stuff you can get anywhere! Whether you are golfing or enjoying a night out with familiy or friends, this is a great place to relax.

Happy Joe's- 1211 12th Ave SE- 875-7263Happy Joe's is the home of the Taco Pizza! Plus, if you dine in you can play some great games, win prizes, and of course, have ice cream! They also have banquet rooms available!


Park Farm Winery- 15159 Theilen Road, Durango- 563-557-3727
Gourmet wood-fired pizza, baked in an on-site brick oven from Italy. Park Farm’s newest addition was made with the ever-growing "foodie" culture in mind. Their gourmet pizzas are made to-order, with over twenty toppings to choose from. Pizza and wine. The perfect pair.


Pizza Hut- 1845 8th Street SE- 875-2788
Pizza, pasta, breadsticks...the name says it all! Pizza Hut also supports numerous non-profits in the area whether it's the schools, Kid Project Community Child Care or Relay for Life, be sure to visit on their days!


PromiseLand Winery- 39053 Great River Road, Guttenburg- 563-252-2665
PromiseLand Winery has amazing wine (try Cabin Fever), great pizza, as well as a beautiful facility with live music each week. You can't go wrong here!

Quik 'N Handi II- 725 9th Street SE-875-2799
Need to get away from work and grab some great food! Stop on over to Quik 'N Handi II and grab some pizza! Or better yet, call ahead and grab one to go for supper tonight!

Sundstop II- 740 18th Ave SW- 875-8490
Get everything you need in one stop! Gas, lottery tickets, coffee and Godfather's Pizza! Yum!


Bon appetit!






New Year's Resolution: Cutting Out the Word "Actually" as a Proud Iowan

Posted on January 7, 2016 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Once in a while we like to feature guest or shared blogs that really catch our attention! Today we are featuring a well known Iowa Blogger, the Iowa Galivant!  Click here to view his original post. It's actually very good! ;)


New Year’s Resolution: Cutting Out the Word “Actually” as a Proud Iowan

Jan 5, 2016

Posted by jayjaygeorge in Gallivant Milestones and Moments, Iowa Wine, Beer, and Spirits 

Tags#IowaProud, #roadtrip, #teamgoodvin, #theiowagallivant, #ThisIsIowa, #traveliowa


Travelers all over the world seek destinations they’ve never been to and rely on locals and folks that know the terrain. There’s different degrees of expectations no matter where you go. Whether its a internationally well-known locales with top notch restaurants, hotels, and resorts. Or the the “not ready for prime-time” rural wineries, the route 66 motels you’ve seen on old postcards, and the small group of lights you see in the distance from your busy lodge that seem to draw you in. All destinations are worthy of your description. When you describe your travels to others what words do you use? There’s the obvious range of vocabulary that’s used from ecstatic reviews to harsh criticisms and everything in between. One word is used quite frequently that few pick up on, but isn’t necessarily a positive thing to say even when you think your’re dishing out a compliment. That word is “actually.” A lot of people, including me, drop this word with no thought on how others will interpret what you’re saying.

 


“I could have done without the “actually” part…” Bill Murray as Steve Zissou in The Life Aquatic when hearing praise for his last documentary.

 

Perhaps you think I’m over analyzing this or picking a topic to be overly sensitive about. And perhaps you’re right. But I heard about your boyfriend and from what I know he’s “actually” good looking. How’s that hit your ears? Because I went to your sister’s house for dinner and her family “actually” behaved and the food was “actually” pretty good. Hey…..those were compliments. Right? Kinda…


“Oh, dear…you actually brushed your hair this morning!”

 

That word can penetrate your ear canal with the sharpness of an ill-fated f-bomb at times and leave you wondering when the conversation will reach its much needed conclusion. However, the pitch of “actually” is much lower in a casual setting while describing places and locations. We in Iowa are proud of our state. As I’ve said before, without the Hawkeye State, the world doesn’t eat. Period. Now that’s pressure if you ask me. One thing we need to improve on is bragging. Our international agricultural contribution is second to none and we’ll never waiver from that debate. Mostly because there isn’t one for the most part. But, there’s so much more to this state that is kicking butt day after day and it is up to us to keep up the momentum. Without using that one word. If folks from outside our state say “actually,” then so be it. As proud Iowans we need feel okay with correcting them and ourselves when it happens. Imagine these conversations…..”We went to Napa valley and we actually had some great wine.” Well duh. It’s California. “We actually found a great place for BBQ when we went to Kansas City.” Yea. That probably took you 5 seconds. “The view at the Grand Canyon was actually amazing.” You don’t say! I’m sure these things are said, on occasion, but don’t they sound off to you? Then why do some of us say it so much and let others get away with it when it comes to our state? I think it’s because we don’t brag enough. You heard me. BRAG! Brag more!


 

I caught myself saying it last summer. “Monie and I visited Fort Dodge and we actually had some great local wine.” Why the hell did I say that? What was I expecting to have from award-winning winemakers. There wasn’t a sign outside of the tasting room that claimed to have the best fermented rhubarb ever straight from our antique bathtubs. And why can’t we expect to find outstanding local spirits in Iowa. French grapes grow exceptionally well here, the demand for Iowa whiskys goes up every year, and master beer makers are flocking to Iowa with new breweries popping up the whack-a-mole game. Why? Because it’s one of the premier areas for this fine crafting industry and entrepreneurs think some of the traditional places in this country don’t have the same panache as they once had and it’s better in Iowa. Damn right! And that’s not all. Not even close! You like charcuterie? Some of the world’s best comes from La Quercia in Norwalk. Looking for Italian sausage? That’s cute that you think Chicago is where to go. Graziano Brothers in Des Moines ships all over the state and you don’t have to wait for the next Cubs game as an excuse to get your fix. The best is right here in Iowa. And then there’s Vermont. They had a good run with their White Cheddar, but they may want to stick to downhill skiing from here on out. Milton Creamery in Van Buren County lapped them years ago.

 

I’ve been up and down the Mississippi River. New Orleans, The Twin Cities, Saint Louis, Memphis. I’ve had a blast in these towns and a few more here and there along its banks. All have their own unique history with the great river. If you’re looking for the country’s best Mississippi River “experience, ” then look no further than the border between New Albin, IA and Keokuk, IA. There is not a stretch of the river that better prepares you for the history and importance of the Mississippi. Truly a history buff’s best friend. Wisconsin actually has some scenic areas too. Ohhh here come the emails!

 


 

I know what you’re saying. “JayJay, why stop now? You’re on a roll!” (Mmmm…rolls…;) I’m not going to stop now. As long as I have Peaches n’ Cream Sweet Corn running in my blood, I’ll never stop boasting about my Iowa home. We have a bucket list the size of Adams County Speedway and we tend to take quite a chunk out of it this year. We’re going to the best brewery, star trek festival, bike tour, jerky producer, cheese house, haunted hotel this country has to offer. Don’t think for a second I can’t squeeze that in to a weekend. Let’s actually do this. See you on The Iowa Gallivant!

Start Your Family Traditions in Dyersville!

Posted on December 14, 2015 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Dyersville is your destination if you are seeking to get into the holiday spirit! Check out some of the great family events that are going on:

Saturday, December 19th-Live Nativity at the Dyersville Commercial Club Park
4-8 PM
Stop by and see the live animals and nativity between 4 and 8 PM on the 19th. Then you can step inside and warm up with some refreshments (including hot cocoa, of course!) and music from the Western Dubuque Music Department. Sponsored by American Trust.


Sunday, December 20th-Breakfast with Santa and Horse Drawn Carriage Rides at Country Junction Restaraunt
8:30-11:30 AM
Call for your reservation to have breakfast with the jolly man himself and treat your whole family to free horse drawn carriage rides around Dyersville. 563-875-7055


Thursday, December 24th-Midnight candlelight mass at St. Francis Xavier Basilica
Midnight
Take in the stillness of the holidays in one of the most beautiful sites in the area. You will not regret staying up late for this tradition!



And of course, check out our calendar at www.dyersville.org for other events! We also encourage adding your organization's events so we can share them. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


#Shlofie This Holiday Season!

Posted on November 23, 2015 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Isn't it great to shop for yourself and others and be entered to win more money to go towards your gifts?! In Dyersville, we have those opportunities already going strong!

The Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce is carrying on the tradition of doing a Christmas Giveaway. Participating Chamber Members have sign up slips in their door where all you need to do is shop, sign up, and be entered to win. $2,000 in Chamber Dollars will be given away to 23 luck people with prizes ranging from $5 to $500. Hurry and get shopping now though as there are only two more chances to have your name drawn to be a finalists and the final drawing is on December 5th!

Another new opportunity to be rewarded for shopping local is taking place on the social media scene! Going on now through Febryary 29th, shoppers can snap a piture of their purchase of of them making a purchase and share it to our Facebook page with the hashtag #shlofie (or #shoplocalselfie). A fan favorite will be chosen at the end of every month based on the number of likes the photo receives and all participants will go into a drawing at the end of the promotion to win the grand prize! Don't have Facebook? No problem! Send your photo to [email protected] and we will get it posted and you entered for you!

The first round of Fan Favorite is coming up soon, so be sure to check out the pictures and "like" the one that you like best! Happy shopping and see how it pays to shop local!!

Plan Your Bus Trip of a Lifetime!

Posted on November 18, 2015 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

This story was shared in the most recent edition of Bus Tours Magazine. Contact us if you would like to plan your next group's trip to Dyersville!

Journey to the real place mistaken for heaven –Dyersville! Located on Highways 20 and 136, Dyersville is Iowa and the Midwest at its finest. Founded in 1848 by Englishman, James J. Dyer, Dyersville is a rapidly growing city of 4,000 that combines history, tradition, innovation and breathtaking scenery. You’ll see why Dyersville is known as the “Farm Toy Capital of the World” when you retrace and retread tractor history at the National Farm Toy Museum. From miniature to grandeur, the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier will leave you in awe of the beauty of the late 1880’s Gothic architecture church. Continue your trip through history and tour the home of James Dyer, the Dyer-Botsford Historical House and be sure to reminisce at the Doll Museum, home to over 2,000 dolls and recently named one of the Top 5 Most Unusual Museums in the Midwest. Next, you can start planning and dreaming while visiting the FarmTek Hydroponics and Aquaponics Greenhouse Campus. Learn about and see the innovation and future of gardening and farming. Of course, you can’t visit Dyersville without stopping at the #1 attraction-The magical Field of Dreams. Ghosts still appear out of the corn at the site where a baseball field was carved out of a cornfield in the iconic movie “Field of Dreams.”

Come to Dyersville and see what it’s like to be “Living the Dream.” Contact the Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce to set up your itinerary and see what Midwest living is all about!

 


Agritourism Season Is Here!

Posted on October 14, 2015 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Peter Welte says is best in his article in AgWeek (http://www.agweek.com/news/north-dakota/3853831-peter-welte-agritourism-season-here),

It is October, with Halloween around the corner. My thoughts drift to a local pumpkin patch owned by some friends of our family. It is a delightful enterprise they’ve developed into not only a pumpkin patch, but also a corn maze, hay rides, pumpkins for sale, a haunted house and a haunted walk through the trees, along with baked goods for visitors. And it is often packed with visitors in the month of October.

 

It is a perfect example of agritourism.

A Google search on agritourism will yield 671,000 results. It is a hot topic in agriculture. With the serious financial challenges faced by farmers in the past year, agritourism will become more relevant than ever as farmers seek creative ways to diversify their income.

The National Agricultural Law Center has a separate reading room set aside for agritourism. According to the NALC, agritourism is a term that can be synonymous with agrotourism, farm tourism, agricultural tourism, or agritainment.

 

Defining agritourism can be difficult. According to the NALC, “agritourism could be thought of as the crossroads of tourism and agriculture. Stated more technically, agritourism can be defined as a form of commercial enterprise that links agricultural production and/or processing with tourism in order to attract visitors onto a farm, ranch, or other agricultural business for the purposes of entertaining and/or educating the visitors and generating income for the farm, ranch, or business owner.”

 

Technically defined, agritourism is comprised of four primary factors:

 

 

  • A combination of the essential elements of the tourism and agriculture industries.
  • Attracting members of the public to visit agricultural operations.
  • Designed to increase farm income.
  • Provides recreation, entertainment and educational experiences to visitors.
Here is a sample itinerary to get you engaged with agritourism in the Dyersville area:

Day 1

 

 

9:30 a.m FarmTek Greenhouse Campus Tour--     Free. Be a part of the next generation in agriculture and see the latest technologies and techniques during a tour of FarmTek’s state-of-the-art Hydroponics, Aquaponics, and Fodder Greenhouses.

 

11:15 a.m. Lunch at Country Junction--   Contact Mary Kay at Country Junction to arrange the lunch menu. Whatever your group’s tastes, Country Junction will be sure to have something to satisfy with delicious, home-made food. Feast on greens and vegetables that are grown right in the FarmTek Greenhouses! A piece of pie to finish the meal is a must!

 

12:45 p.m. Field of Dreams Movie Site $3/person or $75 minimum--      Experience the magic of this famous movie site as the Ghost Players give the history of how Universal Studios found this location and recount their baseball adventures around the world. This is truly a unique stopping point to see a baseball field carved into the heart of a farm!

 

2:30 a.m. Becker Woodcarving Museum $5/person---View the woodworks of the famous Northeast Iowa carver, Jack Becker, in one of Iowa’s most unique carving museum in the heart of an organic farm!

 

4:00 p.m. National Farm Toy Museum $3/person--The National Farm Toy Museum is the number one farm toy experience in the world! Shop right down the street at the Plaza Antique Mall or at the TOMY Outlet Store-formerly known as Ertl’s.

 

 

5:45 p.m. Dinner at Golf Side Grille TBD

 

6:00 p.m. Overnight stay at Comfort Inn--Enjoy the pool, close proximately to shopping, food, and Boji Sweet Tooth-a great place to stop and get your chocolate, cupcake, or ice cream fix.

 

 

Day 2

 

8:00 a.m. Breakfast at Comfort Inn

 

9:00 a.m. New Vienna Heritage House Museum and Statuary $3/person--   Travel back to the 1800’s and tour the Heritage House Museum. Each room is set up to give you an idea of how early settler’s lived in the area and includes a church room, school room and 1800’s Farm Tool Display.

 

10:00 a.m. Trip to a farm--   Take the scenic route up north and visit a local farm to see robotic milking and more!

 

12:00 p.m. Lunch at Breitbach’s--   Take in the breathtaking scenery as you take a short stop at the overlook, then settle in for lunch at the oldest bar and restaurant in Iowa. Here they serve homemade goodness and homespun hospitality!

 

 

1:30 p.m. Depart Balltown for Dubuque-coordinated with Dubuque CVB

 

Call us at 563-875-2311 or email [email protected] to set up your agritourism experience!

 


Unsung Heroes

Posted on September 4, 2015 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

A "hero" is defined as "a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities." Although the term "hero" gets tossed around a lot these days, I still think it is incredibly important to praise those who go out of their way or show noble qualities.

To me, unsung heroes are the ones that I look up to and admire the most for their qualities of humbleness, modesty, and doing what they do well and while having fun. The unsung heroes that I would like to spotlight today are non-other than our famous Ghost Players.

Despite the extremities of the weather that Iowa seasons may bring, when a Ghost Sunday comes around or a tour bus rolls into town, the Ghost Players show dedication and passion. Some of my favorite moments include a middle school student running to his bus after getting a ball signed by Ghost Player Frank Dardis and yelling, “This is the best day of my life!” Or when an older visitor from the West coast gets a picture with Hank Lucas and whispers in amazement, “I have never been this close to a celebrity!” Or there is my all-time favorite moment before a Ghost Sunday when Marv Maiers talks about the significance of the field and of baseball and asks everyone to remember to just “take the time,” stressing the importance of savoring every moment you have with your children, your parents, your family and your friends.

I have had many out of town guests tell me that the Ghost Players are the best ambassadors we have for the community and I have to agree. They are the masters when it comes to customer service, going out of their way to make someone’s day, and making every single person who visits feel like all of their dreams have come true. And these unsung heroes do not just  make local dreams come true, they have worked with the Make a Wish Foundation, inspired families living in poverty-stricken communities, and have given hope to military families who are stationed overseas.

This weekend is the last time to see the Ghost Players in action for the season and will be doing a special night show at 7:30 PM on Sunday, September 6th out at the Field of Dreams. Although it is going to be warm, I guarantee there will be moments you are laughing so hard you won’t even notice it and moments that are so surreal you will have goosebumps. Get there early and bring your own chair!


 --Jessica Pape

Grass Runway Fun-a blog by a pilot

Posted on August 11, 2015 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Grass Runway Fun – A Trip to Dyersville, Iowa

By Casey Hansen in Flight Stories


Grass Fields

Grass runways are heaven to pilots. There are many benefits, not the least of which are that grass is easier on the equipment and can make almost any landing look perfect.

 

So, when fellow shortwing Piper pilot, John Moes, suggested we find a mission for a peaceful summer evening, I figured, “What the heck?” Let’s find some grass!

 

 

Dyersville, IA (IA8)

“If you build it, they will come.”

 

Definitely a great line from a great movie, but it also applies for the quiet, but well-kept Dyersville Airport. (And no, we didn’t have time to play any baseball on this trip!)

 

Located just west of the city of Dyersville, this grass runway is like taking a step back in time. Two old hangars are home to some old, but capable airplanes and two local airmen were there to greet our arrival with open arms and free soda.

 

This airport is an example of something that’s being quickly lost in the grassroots aviation community. These airports are gems that are dying off and playing second fiddle to the larger, commercialized airports of larger cities. Unfortunately, they’re also where we often find some of the most passionate aviators and amazing stories.

 

Enough about the history, though. I have photos of the flight!

 

Flying to Dyersville

Our destination (IA8) is about 34NM east of our home base of Independence, IA (KIIB). It’s an easy flight along Highway 20, so if you find yourself lost, it might be time to take up golf or woodworking instead.

 



 

After a quick and smooth flight, we set up for right traffic on RWY29 at Dyersville. It’s a simple approach with no obstacles to speak of, except one on this particular night: the sun. Our final approach had us both looking straight into the sun, but we made it work! I’m glad I was in a familiar airplane and could rely on some “feeling” of the approach as the sun was definitely a distraction.

 

No worries, though. We arrived safely and found a patch of grass to let the airplanes rest. We were greeted immediately!

 


Just like the good 'ol days for these two Pipers.


 

We spent quite a bit of time sitting and talking with the local pilots and those who care for the small airport. We learned how the city supports the airport and the relatively high amount of traffic that comes and goes from this little spot in the middle of corn fields.

 

But we also learned that, like many places such as this, the land is rented and the end could come at any time for this beautiful place.

 

After finishing our root beers, we decided we should probably beat the sunset. We had also planned a stop in Manchester, IA (C27) as well.

 

We launched into the sunset and reversed course.

 


 

Go Visit Your Airport


I think I speak for John and I when I say that we had an absolute blast on this flight. From a flying standpoint, it was great.

 

Ultimately, the lesson I took away was that these little airports just don’t stick around that much these days. Heck, even bigger airports are struggling. They are gobbled up by cities, housing developments and any other type of “progress” someone can dream up.

 

Go experience one of these airports. Pilot or not, you will be welcomed and there will usually be someone enthusiastically waiting to tell you why your local airport might just be the real “field of dreams”.



Something to be Proud of!

Posted on July 15, 2015 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Dyersville was recently named one of the top 50 small town in the United States. Although it is always fun to see our name in the news, I have to admit, we aren't all that surprised. We are fortunate to live in such a beautiful community that has a small town feel, but so much to offer. Where else can you get the best pie anywhere, see a national museum, and visit an iconic movie site all within minutes of each other? We also have just under 300 Chamber members who support the community in a big way through events, advocating for each other, and welcoming guests and residents alike into their storesd

So, call us a little biased, very proud, but not overly surprised. Come do Dyersville and see for yourself what makes us so beautiful!


http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/travel/g2549/best-small-towns/


--Jessica Pape


Happy Birthday, USA!

Posted on July 2, 2015 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Happy birthday to you, USA! Independence Day is a day to celebrate the freedom that we have in America as well as pay tribute to those who have paved the way and sacrificed to make it and keep it free. Truly, one of my favorite holidays, it a day that we can come together as a nation and share traditions as a unified front.

If you love the noise, sights, and smell of fireworks, then Dyersville will be your number one spot for 3rd of July festivities again this year at the Commercial Club Park. Come on down for games, Bingo, music, and inflatables which will begin at 5:00 pm. Admission is $3 and kids 5 & under are free. Individual inflatable ride tickets may be purchased or get unlimited rides with a bracelet for $12.  

For all of you who are planning on going out and capturing some great firework photos this weekend, here are some tips! Remember to share your photos on Facebook and Twitter at @dyersville! #Dyersvillefireworks. Happy snapping!

--Portrait-oriented shots will typically work best to capture a single rocket’s rise and explosion. If multiple shells are going up at once, try shooting in landscape.

--Don’t forget that the best is often saved for last. Don’t run out of space on your memory card before the finale!

--Water, buildings, and landmarks make excellent backdrops for photos and help create more interesting compositions. Try to frame some shots with landmarks in the foreground and fireworks in the background.

--Similarly, try silhouetting people against the fireworks glow for a neat effect.

--Use longer shutter speeds to capture multiple explosions.

--Use really long exposures (20-30 seconds or more) and a black piece of cardboard or a black hat to capture lots of explosions in one frame. Simply cover your lens with your cardboard or black hat in between explosions to prevent light from entering your camera. If you’ve got a “bulb” setting, you can use it to keep your shutter open continuously until you close it.

--If your fireworks start before it gets dark, use the sunset setting on your camera to get some great shots at dusk.

--Use flash to get some audience and people shots. They make great diptychs with fireworks.

And here's to many more!!


The Gem Down the Gravel

Posted on June 16, 2015 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

On the outskirts of Dyersville, down a short gravel road, there is a gem of artwork, history and love, hiding among the natural farm setting. I have heard people talking about Jack Becker's woodcarving and pieces of artwork, but never really saw them up close or in their own environment to appreciate the time, love and passion that went into each and every piece.

This morning, I drove out into the country, past an organic hog farm, and parked in front of a small farm house and barn. When I entered the barn though, I was speechless. The walls were covered with intricate pieces of artwork that displayed fictional creatures, people of the Bible, 6 foot tall hand carved clocks and more. Joyce, Jack's wife, shared stories about where they got the wood and the tools used to create the masterpieces as well as how much of his life and love it was. Using hardwoods to carve, he didn't use sandpaper or nails in his pieces, but he was able to take a photograph and make it come to life. After a 2 hour visit, learning about Jack and his family, I drove away in a daze. It is unfathomable that someone could possess so much talent. Even more so, it is hard to believe that this kind of talent and work is a part of Dyersville's history and heritage. Today, these pieces can be seen in area churches including St. Boniface in New Vienna and the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier in Dyersville.

So if you are up for doing something new and don't mind a short drive on a gravel road, contact us or give Joyce a call yourself to set up and appointment to see the barn. You will not regret it!

 --Jessica Pape

A Skeptic No More-Dyersville Summer Farm Toy Show

Posted on June 8, 2015 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Dyersville is known as the “Farm Toy Capitol of the World.”

Before I go any further, I feel that I need to admit, even though I have lived in Dyersville for the past 8 years, I was always skeptical about what was so great about being the “Farm Toy Capitol of the World.” Collecting wasn’t in my family heritage, and growing up, if we had a toy tractor, it was going to be played with in the mud and sand, and not kept clean on a shelf. Well, I am happy to share that after taking advantage of the opportunity to attend the 2015 Summer Farm Toy Show, I completely get it and am proud to live in the Farm Toy Capitol.

I started my morning walking through the vendors, just taking a few pictures, and was blown away at the sight. There were people everywhere! I know the show took place partly at Beckman Catholic High School, but I had no idea just how much of the school. There were vendors set up along the hallways, in the cafeteria, in classrooms, and in the gymnasium. Although I was there to capture the event and not to purchase, I was instantly intrigued. Each of the vendors had their hearts and souls poured into their booths and it was inspiring to see them set each box, tractor, or plastic hay bale out with love and respect. As I wandered around the cafeteria, I was drawn to the farm displays which were brought in and set up to be judged by Toy Show visitors. It was evident that hours of work went into each and every detail of the displays, from the grass turf fluffed up around the miniature out-buildings to the exact placement of the farmer and tractor in the 1/16 scale field.

As the show opened, others from around the nation began to enter, and there were smiles everywhere. Friends greeting each other after not seeing each other since the last toy show, comments about the beautiful Iowa weather, and memories shared about what was bought in the past filled the space. I became instantly intrigued about what brought people to Dyersville for the show. One family I talked to drove from Idaho because they have had collectors in their family, passed down from their grandparents, and they wanted to make sure it was passed down to their own children.

The two-day show ended with parades of tractors. As the sun began to set, tractors rolled out of the Beckman Catholic High School parking lot and made their way down Main Street while throwing out candy, waving, and showing off their pride and joy. For me, seeing the community come together to celebrate agriculture, each other, and the town was enough to finally seal the deal: I am filled with pride to live in the Farm Toy Capitol of the World. There is no other event or festival I have been to where I see my 2 year old as excited as the 80-something retired farmer or toy collector.

In Dyersville, we have a few months to take a break and start preparing for the next and even larger crowd to come into town for the National Farm Toy Show. This show takes on an entire other building and brings 2 to 3 times as many people and this year, I guarantee I will be included in the count as well!

Before the National Farm Toy Museum was even built in Dyersville, IA, Dyersville was known as the Farm Toy Capitol of the World. It’s a title that came without any real fanfare, but as the home to two farm toy manufacturers in 1984, the name was tossed around until it eventually helped to brand the town. Starting in 1977, the National Farm Toy Show brings thousands of spectators, traders and dealers to Dyersville each year to visit the museum and to work on their personal farm toy collections. A Summer Farm Toy Show was added in 1985 and this year they celebrated their 30th Anniversary. For more information contact the National Farm Toy Museum at 563-875-2727 or contact the Dyersville Chamber at 563-875-2311 or at [email protected]


-submitted by Jessica Pape

 

Comfort and Discovery

Posted on May 28, 2015 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Two things that I love: being comfortable and also discovering new things. Some people think those are two completely different ideas and feelings, but it is amazing when they are combined. You can have feelings of comfort and discovery almost anywhere you are by shopping local.

Earlier today, I was on my lunch break. I should mention that this was going to be a quick 1/2 hour lunch break at most and then I wanted to get back to the office and get some work done. On my way back to the office after grabbing a quick bite to eat, I swung by Flammang Jewelers to drop off a watch I needed a battery replaced in. Nothing major, but I will admit that I love walking in there and checking out all of the one of a kind pieces of arwork-both for your home and your body! I also feel great just knowing that I am supporting a local business. As I walked out the door, I ran into Joan, a wonderful woman and also a great keeper of history of our community. After sharing a few pleasantries, my eyes wandered to the items sitting outisde of Savvy Salvage-a few "up-cycled" antique wooden high chairs and some beautiful items for the garden. With a quick glance at my wrist where my watch would normally be, I figured I had a few seconds to browse what else was in store.

The second I entered, I was greeted and asked if I was looking for anything in particular. I said I was actually looking for nothing in particular and was told they had plenty of that. :) She wasn't kidding! I found myself imagining and dreaming about what I could put in my home (who doesn't need a few artsy and hand-made throw pillows), in my jewelry box (I LOVED the button bracelets), and on my desk at work. Suddenly, I was looking for something in particular. I had been wanting to find a unique way to display my business cards and organize my desk. Why be boring and traditional when you can show your personality and have a little color??

I made a couple of finds that compliment each other and the rest of my desk decor amazingly and left with ideas floating around in my head about what else I could put in my environment to spark creativity and how can I tell more people about these incredible places that are just down the street? Needless to say, my short lunch break ended up going a little longer than I had initially planned, but I made it back to work in plenty of time within my hour break and love my finds. Now how is THAT for comfort and discovery?!


Check out the directory pages on our website (www.dyersville.org) to learn about and get directions to more places where you can shop local and make your own discoveries in the comfort of your own hometown.

--Jessica Pape

Hometown Tourist Weekend Winners!

Posted on May 13, 2015 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

May is National Tourism Month, and this year, the Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored an event to highlight the attractions to local families.

 

“Hometown Tourist” was a new program with the goal to get more families and youth out exploring their own backyard. Elementary students in the Dyersville area received invitations to attend local attractions on May 8, 9 and 10th. Any admission fees for these attractions were waived for their family if students bring an invitation. Additionally, at each stop, the students could receive a signature on their invitation. They were then invited to turn their invites back into their school on the following week and students who visited 5 or more of the frequent stops for tourists were entered in to win a tourism basket from local attractions. Partners involved include: Boji Sweet Tooth, Comfort Inn, Country Junction, Dyer-Botsford House, Field of Dreams, National Farm Toy Museum, New Vienna Heritage House Museum, Plaza Antique Mall, St. Francis Xavier Basilica, and Tomy Outlet Store.

 

Over the Hometown Tourist weekend, attractions saw an increase of business through their doors with more than 30 students and their families taking advantage of the opportunity to do a little shopping and learn about local history. Three winning baskets were available for those students who visited 5 or more attractions. The winners of the baskets were Mikayla Horstman, Steven Theisen, and Kayli Tegeler. Thirty students turned in invitations that indicated they made the 5 or more stops.

Thanks for participating and we hope you had fun! 

 


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