Iola to host Strawberry Fest
Crafts, antiques, shortcake featured
Strawberries and local history are highlights of the Iola Historical Society’s 32nd annual Strawberry Fest, to be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 26.
The event includes a craft fair and an Antiques Appraisal Fair, which provides experts on a wide range of collectibles.
The Iola Historical Society’s complex is located on Depot Street, just west of downtown Iola.
Admission to the event is free, although goodwill donations are being accepted.
Food items include homemade strawberry shortcake with ice cream or whipped topping, for $4; pulled pork sandwiches, $3; and hot dogs, $2.50. Coffee, water and assorted sodas will be available. The food offerings will be in the historical society’s Machine Shed at 222 Depot Street.
All proceeds from the event go to benefit restorations of the historic Iola & Northern Railroad Depot, a vintage caboose and other Iola Historical Society projects.
The Historic Iola Village buildings will be open for visitors, except the original vintage Iola & Northern Railway Depot, which is undergoing restoration to its original design.
The other buildings include a replica of a local one-room schoolhouse; a 1930s log cabin used in the area by hunters; a replica of Iola’s original fire station containing Iola’s vintage first three firefighting vehicles; the original Helvetia Town Hall; The Machine Shed, filled with vintage farm and manufacturing equipment along with the recently acquired Anderson Machine Shop equipment; a vintage caboose (also currently closed for renovation); and the historical society’s newly remodeled and expanded museum.
The museum, which recently unveiled new display cases for its exhibits, features recently acquired collections, including: Ray Towne Collection of Native American Artifacts, Bert Stromberg violin Collection, R.I. Anderson Machine Shop, and the Lee Nelson Exhibit.
The Native American artifacts are from the first Native Americans to live in Wisconsin, dating back more than 10,000 years ago. Ray Towne, his father and his grandfather collected the artifacts in Waupaca, Waushara and Portage counties.
Bert Stromberg violin collection was a former constable of Iola who made and sold violins in the area in the mid-20th century. The collection includes violins in various stages of production, plus Stromberg’s original violin-making tools.
Lee Nelson exhibit was a decorated World War II veteran from Iola who flew 31 bombing missions in a B-17 “Flying Fortress” over Germany and German-occupied France. He was also an accomplished woodcarver and his carvings are also in display.
The Anderson machine shop features the original equipment used by R.I. Anderson, who built, among other things, brass fittings for Iola’s original fire engines (also on display at the replica firehouse). The equipment is located in a replica building inside the society’s Machine Shed, and is still in working condition.
Originally located on State Street, the machine shop’s machinery was moved by Anderson’s descendants, first to southern Wisconsin, then to Minnesota before finding its way back to Iola, just a half-mile from its original location.
Other items of local historical significance are also on display in the museum and in all of the buildings. Docents will be at each building to talk about their historic significance and answer any questions.
The annual Antique Appraisal Fair will feature experts to evaluate and estimate prices of antiques. The cost is $3 per item or $5 for three items, with all proceeds benefitting the Iola Historical Society.
Antiques and collectibles appraisers include experts on general antiques, books, comics and popular-culture collectibles, sports collectibles, militaria and medals, toys, coins and paper money.
The craft show will feature Norwegian rosemaling, purses, jams and jellies, jewelry, photography, quilts, wood carvings, original paintings, sock monkeys, candles, maple syrup and candy, plus much more.
Attendees are also encouraged to walk on the nearby Iola River Walk along the Little Wolf River and see the historic Iola Mills, built in 1860.
The Iola Historical Society’s village is open from noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays through August. The Society’s next special event is Taste of Norway & Lost Arts Fair on Saturday, Oct. 1.
For more information, go to the Society’s website at www.iolahistoricalsociety.org or visit the Iola-Scandinavia Chamber’s website at www.ischamber.org.