Watermelon Days happens in the small town of Quimby, Iowa located about 8 miles from Cherokee, Iowa in Cherokee County. It took place this past weekend and it happens every year the last Friday and Saturday of the month of June. The typically quiet main street comes alive on those two evenings with carnival rides, bingo table, cake walk, city wide garage sales (some years), the fire station serves a meal one evening of grilled burgers and the fixings and my brother-in-law usually works the grill. There are concession stands and the area churches have held meals in the small community center building on main street. There have been quilt shows, car shows, craft shows, a dance held in the street, a kiddie parade, they hold raffles for some really nice things and also hold drawings for merchandise they have picked out and purchased for those two nights, a golf tournament at the fairly new golf course, and new this year was the “Watermelon Crawl 5k run/walk. The biggest attraction is the over 3,000 lbs of watermelon that is served on the second night of the event where they bring in a large Hy-Vee grocery semi-truck loaded with cooled watermelon that gets cut up by a number of guys who hand out pieces to the crowd. People will bring plates, forks, and salt shakers to enjoy a juicy slice of this favorite summer fruit! This year they had their 70th year and were selling T-shirts to celebrate. Here are two links to learn a little more about this little town in N.W. Iowa and information on the T-shirts being sold.
Also soon around the corner is RAGBRAI – an annual bike ride across the state of Iowa that happens the middle of July every year and this year it is July 20 – 26th, 2014. Typically in the past they have dipped their front tires in the Missouri River and dipped their back tires in the Mississippi River at the end of the ride, but I am not sure that is possible this year from where it is starting in Rock Valley, Iowa up in the upper N.W. corner of the state, as the Missouri River is a few miles west from there. Rock Valley has had some major flooding this year and residents in Emmetsburg, Iowa were volunteering to come and help them get cleaned up before this event takes place this year.
Cherokee has been a host town many times in the past – we did it 2 years ago and our town grows substantially in population during that overnight stay. Each town they go through there are host families who will open their homes for a cool place to shower up and rest before their next day trek or some like to rough it and sleep in tents and shower where they can – it is all up to the riders and those who follow along in vehicles.
Many people think Iowa is flat, but those who have come from all over the world to bike here find out that Iowa is anything but flat. We have a lot of rolling hills and some are quite a challenge on a bike. There are areas where we have flat land, but I would say there are more hills than flat areas. When you volunteer to help out at these over night stops you meet a lot of people from all walks of life and many of them are grateful for the hospitality and welcome they receive from these towns and cities across our state. Each town has entertainment for everyone, food stands, product stands where they can get things to help them with their week long bike ride, and many just want a clean towel or rag to wipe the sweat from their face and neck and a cold drink of water.
For those who seek a good workout biking hills and valleys this is the event for you! Many people say they love the scenery in Iowa and many come back year after year to bike across this Midwest state. Happy pedaling RAGBRAI riders!
Here is a link to the main page for RAGBRAI so you can read for yourself if you are interested.