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Local

Conservation fall festival creates traditions

A chili cook-off, a prairie maze and a hayride were just a few fall traditions expected at the Jasper County Conservation Fall Festival Saturday. More than 80 attendees explored Jacob Krumm Nature Preserve and participated in a variety of family activities.

Children had the opportunity to shoot a bow and arrow as they fixed their aim toward a display of pumpkins. Other favorites included face-painting, ring toss and hitching a ride on a wagon to see the sights.

The third annual event was a fundraiser for environmental education programs and other conservation programs, according to naturalist Katie Cantu.

Cantu said the festival drew in around 200 people last year. Although this year’s event didn’t receive the same number of attendees, Cantu said the event is always an enjoyable one for the community.

“New things this year were the fresh pressed apple cider and the wagon ride rendezvous,” Cantu said. “Our whole staff put a lot of work into this and it is a lot of fun.”

Stephanie Clute and her daughter, Lily, of Newton, dressed up in aprons and bonnets, attire that was provided by the conservation to take a picture with a photo prop that said, “Explore Jasper County Parks.”

“I’m a scarecrow,” Lily said following her face being painted. “My favorite part was the face paint and the bow and arrow.”

Stephanie said they decided to have a mother-daughter outing after hearing about the fall festival.

“It’s a beautiful park and we really liked the hayride,” Stephanie Clute said.

Live music was played by RearView Mirror Band as attendees voted for their favorite chili. With three entries this year, the chili cook-off was especially heated as it was between three local sisters.

Janet Rinehart, Mary Altemeir and Connie DeGreef vied for votes. Rinehart won the cook-off with 29 votes.

“It’s all in good fun, but mine was the spiciest,” Rinehart said.

The festival concluded with door prizes including Capitol II Theatre tickets and tickets for Uncle Bill’s Pumpkin Patch in Grinnell.

“We want people to take advantage of the local parks,” Cantu said. “We would like to continue the festival because it offers things you don’t get at other parks or pumpkin patches.”

Contact Kayla Singletary at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or ksingletary@newtondailynews.com

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