There were no cell phones or electronic devices in Riverview Park on Saturday as attendees of Marshalltown’s first-ever “Pioneer Day” learned old ways and practiced skills that are both practical and fun, ranging from chopping and splitting wood to jumping and jumping through a sack race.
David Jones, who has worked at Emerson for the past decade, organized the event, and he borrowed the idea from his home state of Utah, which celebrates Pioneer Day on July 24 each year to commemorate the date when Mormon settlers first arrived in the state. Jones’ own ancestors trekked through southern Iowa on the Mormon Trail before finally landing in Utah.
As mentioned earlier, activities included the ever-popular wood chopping, sack races, balloon targets and more.
“We tried to come up with things that were going to be fun activities, something that people could do quickly as they walked down the sidewalk here, but things that weren’t technology-based,” he said. -he declares. “Cutting wood is clearly something kids don’t get to do these days.”
Along with the history lesson, Jones also hoped to send a message of patriotism with a station where Gregory Westwater instructed young people in proper flag etiquette. A genealogical research service has also set up a stand for those wishing to learn more about their own family history.
“We really like the idea of bringing a bit of patriotism. We wanted to have a flag up, kind of an early morning flag ceremony. How many kids actually get the chance to learn to fold their flag? asked Jones.
JBS provided a free lunch of burgers and brats for children and parents in attendance, and Patrick Brue, who is human resources manager for the Marshalltown site, said the word ‘pioneer’ is particularly meaningful because of the hand -the company’s diverse workforce and just how many people have come from countries around the world to chase the American dream here.
“This event, in particular, pays tribute to pioneers past, present and future, so why do we want to be involved? The pioneers of the past founded Marshalltown in one way or another, but our present pioneers – these are our people who may be from another state, maybe from another country – and they are really trailblazers helping build Marshalltown and making Marshalltown stronger,” Brue said. “So we wanted to be a part of that and support that.”
In Jones’ eyes, the event, which he hopes will continue with the support of local businesses in the years to come, served as a reminder that everyone can be a trailblazer in their own way – whether to invent something, to be the first in a family to graduate from college or to start on their own.
“There are many people through the ages who have given us the life we have now. Someone invented red lights. Someone invented vehicles,” Jones said. “Somebody invented all these things, and if it wasn’t for that, we’d still be living in some kind of stone age.”
Contact Robert Maharry at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or [email protected]