Donnie and Susie Edelen of rural Grinnell wear their crowns as part of the fun of the 2022 Poweshiek County Fair after being named the Senior King and Queen. The couple, who met at the 1973 county fair, have been involved in 4-H and the county fair all their lives.
By J.O. Parker
Donnie and Susie Edelen of rural Grinnell met at the Poweshiek County Fair in 1973.
In the nearly 50-years since, the couple has remined active in 4-H with their three children and four grandchildren. They have also had a positive impact on the lives of area youth and fair families for many years.
That is why Donnie and Susie were named the 2022 Poweshiek County Fair Senior King and Queen.
“They have a real heart for the county fair,” someone said of the couple after they received the honor with their grandchildren by their side.
Susie, who grew up in Brooklyn, was a member of the Madison Mischiefs 4-H Club. She was active with indoor projects in cooking and sewing.
“I basically grew up going to 4-H meetings since I was two,” said Susie. “My mom was a 4-H leader for 30 years. She was also on the Poweshiek County Extension Council for five years.”
Donnie, who grew up in Grinnell, was active in the Malcom Blue Ribbon Winners 4-H Club. He enjoyed showing calves, swine and sheep.
“My sisters and I were all involved in 4-H,” recalled Donnie.
Susie was a sophomore at BGM and Donnie was a junior at Grinnell when they first met at the old fairgrounds, which was located just north of where the current fairgrounds is today.
“Your mom probably wouldn’t let you date someone like me,” Donnie recalled telling Susie when they first met.
It didn’t matter as the two hit it off from the beginning and enjoyed their first date that same fair when they went on a car ride around Grinnell with friends.
“Then he called me again,” recalled Susie.
When the couple met, Donnie said the county fair showring was an open area with a snow fence and wooden bleachers.
“The exhibit building was a Quonset type building with a kitchen on the east end,” he said.
The couple married on May 19, 1978.
They raised three children, Shawn, Shane and Sheena, and remained active in their lives and 4-H. And today, the couple enjoys being involved in the lives of their four grandchildren, Easton, Aubree, Trenten and Tanner.
In the early years, Donnie worked for Sieck Electric and Susie worked at GTE in Grinnell. Today, Susie works for Allen Financial in Grinnell and Donnie retired on April 1 after 39 years with DeKalb/Monsanto/Bayer Crop Science.
Susie spent 13-years alongside Cheryl Hanssen as co-chair of the Sheridan 4-H Club. Donnie raised sheep, later selling them to other 4-H families, and spent two terms (six years) on the Poweshiek County Fairboard.
During his time on the fairboard, Donnie headed up the ag Olympics.
The Olympic games included 4-H’ers pushing a big hay bale the length of the arena. There was also the egg game where 4-H’ers tossed an egg over a cattle shoot to another 4-H’er, who put it in a basket.
Another game had 4-H’ers using a large syringe and filling a bucket with water.
In another game, Donnie said, “4-H’ers had to dress in bib overalls and carry a suitcase and run to the finish line.”
Susie took over the fair kitchen in 2019 with the help of her sister and brother-in-law, Wayne and Marla Ross, and it has been a hit with fairgoers ever since.
“We come up with the menu,” noted Susie. “Our whole idea to take over the kitchen was to make it family friendly with affordable prices so a family can eat at the fair without breaking the bank.”
Susie, Marla and a host of volunteers handle the kitchen duties while Donnie watches over the grill and serves up tasty strawberry smoothies, even going as far as wearing a strawberry costume, to reel in customers. And new this year was an ice cream shack serving area youth and families tasty ice cream treats.
The couple said none of this would be possible without the support of both of their families and siblings, their children, grandchildren an a host of great family friends and their children stepping in and helping.
“It is fun to look out and see these kids having fun in making smoothies or hanging in the ice cream shack or ‘running to the reefer (to get supplies),’” said Susie. “I have a passion for 4-H and I feel a responsibility to help kids.”
“And we had some great fun in being called the King and Queen,” she added.
Donnie and Susie Edelen of rural Grinnell are joined by two of their grandchildren after being named the 2022 Poweshiek County Senior King and Queen on Thursday, July 14.
By J.O. Parker
Poweshiek County will be well represented at the 2022 Best of Best competition on Saturday, July 30 at the Iowa County Fairgrounds in Marengo.
Eight area 4-H Grand Champion winners in swine, meat goat, beef and sheep from the 2022 Poweshiek County Fair will go against champions from Benton, Buchanan, Cedar, Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, Iowa, Jackson, Jones, Keokuk, Linn, Scott and Tama counties. Grand introductions start at 12:45 p.m. with the show starting at 1:15 p.m.
The Iowa County Fairgrounds is located at 800 East Marion St., Marengo.
Representing Poweshiek County are:
Will Slage, Grand Champion Commercial Breeding Gilt, Sheridan 4-H Club.
Rhylee Rodgers, Grand Champion Market Hog, Sheridan 4-H Club.
Dayton Mortvedt, Grand Champion Ewe, Sugar Creek 4-H’ers.
Kaylia Fuch, Grand Champion Market Lamb, Poweshiek Pioneers 4-H Club
Rylie Smith, Grand Champion Supreme Breeding Female, Sheridan 4-H Club.
Will Conover, Grand Champion Market Beef, Sugar Creel 4-H Club
Tyler Conover, Grand Champion Market Meat Goat, Sugar Creek 4-H Club
Alayna Huff, Supreme Champion Breeding Meat Goat, Deep River Helping Hands 4-H Club
Will Slage, Grand Champion Commercial Gilt
Rhylee Rodgers, Grand Champion Market Pig
Dayton Mortvedt, Grand Champion Ewe
Kaylia Fuch, Grand Champion Market Lamb
Rylie Smith, Grand Champion Heifer
Will Conover, Grand Champion Market Beef
Tyler Conover, Grand Champion Market Meat Goat
Alayna Huff, Supreme Champion Breeding Meat Goat
The Poweshiek County Fairboard recently updated the signs at the east and south entrances to the fairgrounds. The updates include a new face on the front of the signs. The new signs also include an area to place a vinyl banner that can be changed out for different events. The work was done by Cory Brand with Co-Line Graphics.
Nancy Bender, left, and Gail Bonath, right, members of the Grinnell Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, display Bender’s hand-quilted quilt, which won second place in a national DAR competition. (Photograph by Michael R. Stewart)
Nancy Bender, a member of the Grinnell Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), has won second place in the National Society’s American Heritage contest in the category Fiber Arts: Hand-Quilted Quilt.
The American Heritage Committee of NSDAR has an annual contest in which it awards 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in a variety of categories. The purpose of the contest is to preserve American heritage in the fields of art and sculpture, crafts, fiber arts, literature, drama, and music. Fiber Arts has 12 categories including hand-quilted quilts. No machine-quilting is allowed in this category.
Bender’s quilt pattern, which dates from the late 1800s, is “Star within a Star.” It is made entirely of cotton fabrics and thread which were in her “stash.” The only newly purchased fabric was the green seen in the border and the diamonds between the stars. Many of the other fabrics used were reproductions of the shirting fabrics which were used in early quilts. The batting, which is 100 percent wool, allows the hand stitching of the quilting to stand out.
“Star within a Star” was constructed by cutting two-inch strips of fabric and then cutting that strip at a 60 degree angle. The resulting diamond shapes were sewn together to make the double six-pointed star. They were then assembled in rows and the green diamonds were inserted by hand piecing. The stars were quilted ‘in the ditch’ and the border quilting is clamshell.
A quilter with more than 40 years of experience, Bender worked on this quilt for approximately three years while also making many smaller quilts. Bender previously won the NSDAR national first place award in hand-quilted quilts in 2020.
Dane Edwards preforms on Sunday, July 3 at Grinnell Central Park as part of the Grinnell High School Alumni "Hootenanny" - Live Music event. Local Grinnell favorites, Two Many Strings Band, also performed at the Sunday afternoon event.
Chad Meacham, the lead singer of Grinnell's Whiplash, belts out a song during the band's performance at Central Park on Saturday, July 2. The concert was part of the Grinnell High School All-School Alumni weekend. Meacham and the band started in 1987 while members were still in Grinnell Junior High School. The concert was the first for the home-grown band in 2.5 years. Band members are: Ben Latimer - Lead Guitar; Chad Meacham - Lead Vocals; Jim Davoux - Rhythm Guitar; Adam Kempenaar - Bass; Jon Edwards - Drums; Ryan Dahlby Albright - Keyboards/Guitar; Sarah Smith - Vocals; Stephanie Latimer - Vocals; and Sarah Dahlby Albright - Vocals.
It was small town Iowa at its finest as a mother tosses a handful of candy from a Heartland crop sprayer she is riding on with her family during the Malcom 150th Celebration Parade on Saturday, June 25.
A 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner owned by Gary and Rodney Morse of Montezuma was one many classic vehicles on display at the third annual Brooklyn Ruritan Car Show on Sunday, June 12.
Poweshiek County Fair Open Class judge, Jan Phelps, right, and judge’s helper, Denise Kaisand, judge a quilt during the 2021 Poweshiek County Fair Open Class show. The 2022 Open Class judging is slated for Wednesday, July 13 in the exhibit hall at the fairgrounds in Grinnell. Classes available include quilts, visual arts, photography, baked goods, canned goods, horticulture, woodworking and sewing. Judging takes place from 4 – 8 p.m. with entries being accepted until 7 p.m.
By J.O. Parker
Calling all entries!
If you have a talent or hobby you enjoy, organizers of the Poweshiek County Fair Open Class are possibly looking for you.
Numbers of entries have been down in recent years and according to Linda Iverson, superintendent for indoor projects, opportunities to showcase your talent have never been better.
Classes available include quilts, visual arts, photography, baked goods, canned goods, horticulture, woodworking and sewing.
Indoor judging takes place on Wednesday, July 13 in the exhibit building on the fairgrounds in Grinnell. Entries are accepted from 4 – 7 p.m. with judging taking place from 4 – 8 p.m. Please, no early entries. All exhibits will be on display throughout the fair.
There is no charge or pre-registration required. The event is open to all ages and talent levels and you can leave your project or meet with a judge.
“Just come, bring your project and someone will help you with direction,” Iverson said. “We would enjoy having more people get involved.”