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Strawberry Fest in Iola

Event slated for June 24

Strawberries and local history are planned for Strawberry Fest to be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, June 24, at the Historic Village complex on Depot Street in Iola.

Sponsored by the the Iola Historical Society, the 34th annual event features local crafters and an Antiques Appraisal Fair with experts on collectibles who can ascertain the value of people’s attic treasures.

Admission to the event is free, although goodwill donations will be accepted.

Food include homemade strawberry shortcake, pulled pork sandwiches and hot dogs. Assorted sodas and bottled water will also be available for purchase from Iola’s Boy Scout Troop 631.

The food and beverages will be available in the historical society’s Machine Shed at 222 Depot St.

All proceeds benefitting the Iola Historical Society are earmarked for restoration projects.

Antiques Appraisal Fair
Area residents can bring items for evaluation by experts at the Antiques Appraisal Fair. Appraisals cost $3 per item or $5 for three items, with all proceeds benefitting the Iola Historical Society.

Antique and collectible appraisers include experts on general antiques, books, comics and popular-culture collectibles, sports collectibles, militaria and medals, toys, coins and paper money.

A craft show will also be held on the grounds. Greeting cards, doll clothes, jams and jellies, woodworking, honey, embroidered items, wood signs, pet products and other crafts will be on display and for sale. Spots are still available for $10 each by calling Barb Johnson at 715-445-3777.

Historic building tours
The Iola Historic Village will be open for visitors, including the Iola And Northern Railroad depot, which is undergoing restoration to its original design.

Other buildings include a replica of a one-room schoolhouse; a 1930s log cabin used by hunters; a replica of Iola’s original fire station containing Iola’s first three firefighting vehicles; the original Helvetia Town Hall; the Machine Shed, filled with vintage farm and manufacturing equipment; and the historical society’s newly remodeled and expanded museum.

The museum, which recently unveiled new display cases for its exhibits, and other buildings feature recently acquired collections:

• Towne Family Native American Artifacts Collection, dating back to the first Native Americans to live in Wisconsin more than 10,000 years ago. Ray Towne, his father and his grandfather collected the artifacts in Waupaca, Waushara and Portage counties.

• The Bert Stromberg violin collection. Stromberg 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.

• The Lee Nelson exhibit. 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, Nelson was also an accomplished woodcarver and a selection of his carvings are on display.

• R.I. Anderson machine shop: Features the original equipment used by Anderson, who built, among other things, brass fittings and other fixtures for Iola’s 1942 fire engine (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 shop’s machine tools were moved by R.I.’s descendants, first to southern Wisconsin, then to Minnesota before finding its way back to Iola – one-half mile from its original location.

• Chet Krause exhibit: Founder of Krause Publications, co-founder of the Iola Car Show, and philanthropist, Chet’s involvement in the community defined the Iola area’s success in the second half of the 20th century. He passed away in 2016, so this exhibit is just being developed, but already includes his original business desk, awards he received over the years, and other items.

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 the historic significance of the building and its contents and answer any questions.

Attendees are also encouraged to walk on the nearby Iola River Walk along the Little Wolf River and visit the historic Iola Mills, built in 1860.

The Iola Historical Society’s village is open from noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays in June, July and August.

For more information, go to the Society’s website at www.iolahistoricalsociety.org or visit the Iola-Scandinavia Chamber’s website at www.ischamber.com.

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