Iola’s history comes alive
Taste of Norway, Lost Arts Fair
Norwegian pastry makers, lefse makers and lost arts artisans will demonstrate their crafts at this year’s Taste of Norway and Lost Arts Fair.
The events will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Iola Historical Society’s Historic Iola Village complex at 210 Depot St., Iola.
Admission is free and there will also be a craft show and fire extinguisher check.
Proceeds from the event will be used to pay for the restoration of the historic Iola & Northern Railroad depot, built in 1894, along with other Iola Historical Society needs.
Taste of Norway
Established in 2010, Taste of Norway celebrates the Iola area’s Norwegian influence. The event provides visitors with tastes of Norwegian pastries. Historical society members and local residents experienced in preparing Norwegian goodies ranging from lefse, smultrenger (fry cakes), krumkaka, sandbakkels, rosettes and fattigman will explain and demonstrate how to make them. Demonstrations will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The pastries and other homemade baked goods will be available for purchase in dozen and half-dozen increments while supplies last.
The Crystal Café will also sell pies by the slice, apple turnovers, chili and cheeseburger soup, among other items, while the Lefse Shack will offer fresh lefse for sale.
The Iola Lions will hold a brat fry with an option to have grilled hot dogs placed in lefse rather than in a bun. Boy Scout Troop 631 of Iola will sell soda and water. The Taste of Norway food court will be located inside the machine shed at 222 Depot St.
Iola Historical Society members are selling Taste of Norway raffle tickets are and tickets will also be available the day of the event. The price is $3 per ticket or two tickets for $5.
Prizes include a Wisconsin Badgers football autographed by coach Paul Chryst; a $200 cash second prize; and more than 30 other prizes donated by area businesses and organizations. The drawing will take place at 1:45 p.m. Winners need not be present to win.
Lost Arts Fair
The Lost Arts Fair will bring artisans to the village showing how things used to be done. Lost arts including blacksmithing, jewelry making, rosemaling, rug weaving and woodcarving will be demonstrated. Some of the artisans will have items for sale.
Craft vendors will also be on hand to sell a variety of handmade items.
Artisans interested in participating should contact Lee Halverson at 715-677-4918, while craft vendors should contact Bonnie Pethke at 715-445-5851 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Troll’s Workshop will provide projects and fun for children in the replica one-room schoolhouse on the grounds. Desiah Melby will play Scandinavian tunes on her fiddle from noon to 1 p.m. while using a vintage flatcar by the Iola Depot as her stage.
The Iola & Rural Fire Department will hold its annual fire extinguisher check at the 1901 vintage Iola fire station at the Iola Historic Village.
The department has arranged with licensed fire systems supplier Fire Pro to provide on-site fire extinguisher checks for $5 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Department personnel will check and service personal hand-held fire extinguishers to be sure they are current for use and insurance purposes.
The replica station contains Iola’s first three pieces of mechanized firefighting apparatus dating from 1913, 1926 and 1942.
Iola Historical Society docents will provide information on the historic buildings on the grounds, which include the Helvetia Town Hall; a replica of Iola’s first fire station; replica of a one-room schoolhouse; a circa-1920s log cabin, originally used locally by hunters; the original Iola & Northern Railway depot; and a vintage caboose. All buildings will be open for tours.
The society’s museum will also be open during the event. Displays include the recently completed Wayne Towne Native American artifacts exhibit, one of the most extensive displays of its kind in the Midwest; vintage Norwegian immigrant items; the Stromberg violin collection; and many other items of local history.
Also featured is a display dedicated to Lee Nelson, Iola’s “Humble Hero.” Nelson was a B-17 bomber pilot who flew several dozen missions over France and Germany in World War II. His autobiography, published by the Iola Historical Society, will available for sale at the event, along with other local history books.
There is also a developing exhibit for Chester L. Krause, world-renowned publisher and philanthropist, who passed away in 2016.
Members of the Central Wisconsin Tractor Club will have classic tractors on display.
Visitors can also take a fall walk along the nearby Iola Lions River Walk that follows the South Branch of the Little Wolf River from North Main Street to Townline Road. The walk is accessible at its mid-point behind the machine shed. The historic three-story Iola Mills, built in 1860, is located at the east end of the trail.
Visit www.iolahistoricalsociety, www.ischamber.com or the Iola-Scandinavia Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page for more information.