Strawberries and local history are on the schedule for the Iola Historical Society’s 34rd Annual Strawberry Fest, to be held Sunday, June 24th, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Society’s Historical Village complex on Depot Street
Strawberries and local history are on the schedule for the Iola Historical Society’s 34th Annual Strawberry Fest, to be held Sunday, June 24, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Society’s Historic Village complex on Depot Street just west of North Main Street in downtown Iola. Local crafters will also show off their handiwork, and an Antiques Appraisal Fair provides experts on a wide range of collectibles on hand to ascertain the value of people’s attic and basement treasures.
Admission to the event is free, although goodwill donations will be accepted. Food items include strawberry shortcake – homemade! – with ice cream or Cool Whip, 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 beverage offerings will be available in the historical society’s Machine Shed at 222 Depot Street.
All proceeds benefitting the Iola Historical Society are earmarked for restoration projects..
Antique Appraisal Fair
Area residents can bring items from their attics and basements for evaluation and pricing information by a wide-ranging group of experts at the Antiques Appraisal Fair. Cost is $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. Find out if you have something valuable stashed away in your home!
Crafters showing their skills
A craft show will also be held on the grounds. Crafters are featuring greeting cards, doll clothes, jams and jellies, woodworking, honey, embroidered items, wood signs, pet products, and lots more. Spots are still available for $10 each by calling Barb Johnson at 715-445-3777.
Historic building tours
The Iola Historic Village buildings will be open for visitors, including the original vintage Iola And Northern Railroad 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 (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, and other buildings feature recently acquired collections:
- Towne Family Native American Artifacts Collection, from the first Native Americans to live in Wisconsin, 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 — just a ½ 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 on Saturdays in June, July and August from noon to 3:00 p.m.
The Society’s next special event is the 9th Annual Taste of Norway & Lost Arts Fair, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018.
The Iola Historical Society’s local Business Partners lending sponsorship support to this event include Bank First National, Central Wisconsin Electric Cooperative, Community Insurance, Homestead Realty, Iola Dental Clinic, Iola Family Chiropractic, Iola Sentry Foods, RBC Wealth Management, Subway/Iola, and Sweet Medicine/Prescriptions Plus.