Kalona Fall Festival celebrates Golden Anniversary

Posted 9/22/22

Fireworks will light up the night sky in celebration of Kalona Fall Festival’s 50th anniversary this year. 

“Normally fireworks aren’t allowed within city limits, so I had …

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Kalona Fall Festival celebrates Golden Anniversary


Fireworks will light up the night sky in celebration of Kalona Fall Festival’s 50th anniversary this year. 

“Normally fireworks aren’t allowed within city limits, so I had to get the approval of the City Council,” said Nancy Roth, Managing Director of the Kalona Historical Society.  Roth has worked hard to make this year’s festival spectacular, and the fireworks on Friday night are just one of the extras attendees will enjoy.

The Kalona Fall Festival will be held on Friday, Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 24 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Kalona Historical Village. 

“We try to get something different every year,” Roth said, and this year that includes the addition of wagon rides and wine sampling. Several wineries will be represented on both Friday and Saturday.

The younger set was a focus for festival organizers this year.  “We’re trying to lean towards the younger families with kids and have more kids’ activities and hands-on activities,” Roth said.  A variety of animal attractions, including llamas, reptiles, and a mule team demonstration, will keep children active and engaged.  Face painting, pony rides, and a kids corn bin round out the offerings.

This year’s entertainment was also carefully considered.

“Our two main performers Friday night, are locals,” Roth said, referring to the TeBockhorst Family and Old Man Band.  “For the 50th anniversary, we wanted to focus on having the locals here.”  Bands and choirs from local schools, including Pathway Christian, Hillcrest Academy, and Mid-Prairie, will also perform on Friday.

Not everything has changed over the course of 50 years, however.  Traditional demonstrations, such as spinning, weaving, and quilting, have always been a part of the Kalona Fall Festival.  Artisans will also be on hand to demonstrate broom making, cornmeal grinding, and chainsaw carving.

Delicious food has also endured.

“The apple fritters started when Fall Festival started,” Roth said.  Onion rings, pretzels, cheese curds, and pie are other tasty favorites festival goers can expect to find.

The Fall Festival serves as a fundraiser for the Kalona Historical Village and the Mennonite Museum, both of which attendees may tour during the festival. The Village consists of 12 restored historical buildings, including a train depot built in 1879 and a stagecoach stop hotel built in 1892.

  The Main Visitor Center contains two nationally known quilt galleries, the Reif Gem and Mineral display, and one of the world’s largest spool cabinet exhibits.

By respecting the past and embracing the present, the Kalona Fall Festival brings the community together. 

“It’s truly a class reunion, a family gathering. That’s a major tradition of what Fall Festival is all about,” Roth said.  “It’s something that the community looks forward to every year.”

Admission wristbands can be purchased at the entrance at the corner of 9th St. and D Ave., and at the Visitors Center.  Adult admission is $6, children 5-12 are $3, and kids 4 and under are free. There are no pre-sales.

More information about Kalona Fall Festival is available at KalonaIowa.org.

Entertainment lineup

Local entertainers will take to the stage at this year’s 50th anniversary Fall Festival.

Choirs and bands from area high schools, as well as favorite musical groups Old Man Band and TeBockhorst Family will keep ears happy throughout the day Friday; presentation of the Kalona Community Awards and a carving auction will fill the afternoon on Saturday.  Be sure to enjoy fireworks on Friday night, a Fall Festival first!

Friday, Sept. 23

11 a.m Mid-Prairie Homeschool Assistance Program Strings

11:45 a.m. Pathway Music

12:45 p.m. Mid-Prairie High School Bands

1:45 p.m. Mid-Prairie High School Choirs

2:30 p.m. Hillcrest Music

3 p.m. Hillcrest Praise Band

5 p.m. TeBockhorst Family

7 p.m. Old Man Band

9:10 p.m. Fireworks

Saturday,  Sept. 24

11 a.m. Heartstrings

12 p.m. River City 6 Brass Band

2 p.m. Community Awards

2:30 p.m. Carving Auction

3 p.m. Special Entertainment

Craft & Merchandise Vendors

The Fall Festival offers a wonderful opportunity to peruse the products and handmade creations of local businesses and craftspeople. 

This year’s expected items include: epicure; baskets; handbags; jewelry; baby blankets; braided rugs; goats milk soaps and lotions; metal signs; holy whistles; decorative wood blocks; face painting; wood signs; Kenny’s Seasonings; Color Street; handmade dishcloths; pot holders; towels; water bottle covers; baked goods; homemade jams and jellies; produce; mums; metal yard art; antiques; wire trees and pendants; Scentsy; hand-forged knives; crocheted items; canvas and wood wall art; handmade wood items; knit gloves hats, and scarves; painted glass blocks; bottles; saw blades and wood items; Usborne books; pottery, Norwex, up-cycled farmhouse décor; and homemade flowers and wreaths.


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