Black Dirt Days draws together friends, family

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE BURVEE Residents and out of towners came out to see the annual Conrad Black Dirt Days parade on Saturday. This year’s theme was “Destination Conrad.” The parade consisted of floats, tractors, emergency service vehicles, kids and lots of candy.

CONRAD — On a blustery but warm, sunny day the small town of Conrad held its annual festival, this year’s theme being “Destination Conrad.”

Despite the conditions people gathered their children and folding chairs to line Center Street. Soon after, the parade began with blaring sirens in the distance.

This year a variety of participants from sponsored organizations, tractors, emergency vehicles and zooming go karts, with the Wizzin’ Fezzes, made their way down Center Street. Kids lined the curbs eagerly holding soon to be full grocery bags to collect candy.

The 30-minute parade was emceed by Marshalltown native Denny Grabenbauer.

“I just love having the opportunity to do this and the town loves it,” he said. “I also like talking and interacting with the different people involved throughout the parade.”

The festival offered much more than a processional summation of the town, it also included food vendors, a car show, inflatbales and music.

One Conrad resident said one of his favorite parts is the food, a common answer by others.

“A nice variety of food and they always bring great vendors into town,” said Dave Sharp.

Another resident focused on how the event helps bring people together every year.

“It’s a great time for reunions, seeing them come back,” said Carol Altenhein. “Seeing friends is my favorite part.”

A good chunk of the success of this event comes from visitors and natives of Conrad.

The other piece that brings it all together is the number of people that volunteer their time and services.

“Having conversation with friends and others, along with all the food here is what makes this a great event,” said Darci Olson, a festival volunteer.

“This wouldn’t be possible without all the volunteers and vendors,” said fellow volunteer Audrey Kuhl.

Though there was plenty of dust flying around, smiles, laughter and music still filled the air. A testament to what Black Dirt Days is all about.