Pawsitively fun

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, September 20, 2017
What’s the covering on the top of a house? “Woof!” responded Bruiser the Ragdog, a chromatic K-9 with a playful personality.

The giant pooch-like puppet roamed downtown West Liberty on Saturday, Sept. 16, during the annual Children’s Festival.

Brought to life by Bob Aiken of the Cloud of Dust Theater, Colorado, Bruiser drew a lot of attention as he received hugs, pets and belly rubs.

Once again the Eulenspiegel Puppet Theater filled Third Street with food, fun and fantasy as children, parents and the community gathered for a good time.

“I think it’s going great, I think we’ve got even more people than last year,” said Monica Leo, organizer and owner of Eulenspiegel Puppets.

“The shows have been really well received, the park has been full for every show and the kids have been really responsive,” she added.

The Children’s Festival on Third Street seems to draw a larger crowd year after year. However, it’s no mystery why.

First off are all the puppet shows in Ron-De-Voo Park, with puppet troupes from Wisconsin, Colorado, Arkansas and even Argentina.

Then there’s the plethora of playful activities and food running from one end of the street to the other. There were giant bubbles, painting, an obstacle course, crafts and more.

Oh my!

“We went to go get books and made bracelets and we went to make key chains for our backpacks,” said six-year-old Lorelei. “My favorite was the bracelets because they’re really fun to make.”

“We went last year, this year is better. They have more to do than last year,” responded Maddie, 8, standing right by her. “The puppet shows are good, they’re funny.”

The Children’s Festival has been around for more than 20 years. From late morning to the early afternoon it transformed downtown West Liberty into another world.

Kalimbaman and the Fabulous Yahoo Drummers filled the street with music. If that wasn’t enough the Public Library let kids get hands on with a variety of other instruments.

There was face painting and coloring, including West Liberty State Bank which let kids color their own backpacks.

Active Health Chiropractic had an obstacle course and handed out jump ropes while the West Liberty Dream Catchers let children make giant bubbles.

The Latino Americanos, which just officially became West Liberty’s newest 4-H Club, handed out paper-made flowers to promote itself.

The club, which unofficially started back in May, emphasizes achievement in the areas of medial, legal, fine arts and humanities.

These were only a few of the 25 plus organization’s and people that made the festival possible.

To top it off was Angela Polowy, Eulenspiegel’s traveling Third Street entertainer who roamed around greeting everyone in a variety of different outfits.

Her most memorable costume was a giant masked figure with one giant hand, a costume she allowed this writer to dub the One-Handed Myazaki Monster.

“It’s a great chance to get out and have fun in town,” she said about walking up and down the festival. “It’s the kid in me that won’t be quiet, I like to have fun everyday.”

You couldn’t miss the return of The Dean of Juggling Deen Franzen, Mrs. Hinky Dink the Clown and Duffy DeFrance handing out free books on behalf of the Friends of the Public Library.

To think, the Children’s Festival was only the first part of Fiesta West Liberty, a day-long affair that also included Fiesta Latina in the late afternoon.

Fiesta Latina, a still a relatively new annual event in the community, was organized by West Liberty’s La Comunidad de Latinos Unidos (LCDLU).

It honors independence days in Mexico, El Salvador, Spain, Honduras and a variety of other Latin American Countries.

The Chicago based group, Arrieros de Mexico, was back to headline the event as the sun began to slowly set for the evening. The group’s larger than life lead singers were all too happy to belt out their music loudly and proudly.

Of course there were half-a-dozen Mexican food stands, filling the street with the fine smell of cuisine.

To top it off was a mechanical bull for kids to ride, music from Arty Cavazos and a traditional Mexican dance from the Iowa City based group Ballet Folklorico Corazon Latino.

Perhaps the most entertaining ensemble of Fiesta Latina was Danza De Los Viejitos, translated “Dance of the Old Ones.”

More than twenty dancers disguised as old men came out for a 20 minute long mash, which included everything from falling on the ground to grabbing people from the crowd to dance.

Together the Children’s Festival and Fiesta Latina formed Fiesta West Liberty for a second year in-a-row. It’s a feat that take a lot of community involvement.

“The community really stepped up with some fun activities for the children this year,” said Monica Leo of the Children’s Festival.

Fiesta Latina is truly a testament to the community. Though Eulenspiegel and LCDLU were in charge, the masterful mix of West Liberty businesses to pull it off was amazing.

Sometimes West Liberty is just a fun place to live!
More News
©2017 West Liberty Index | Web Development by Brian McMillin, LLC