Crooked Creek Days made a big splash

By John Butters, Mt. Pleasant News


WINFIELD ? Winfield threw a party this past weekend and those who didn?t attend missed out on some old-fashioned fun.

Crooked Creek Days, a town celebration that started out 20 years ago as a one-day celebration, now fills an entire weekend with family-friendly activities, including the kickoff event Friday night, the cardboard boat regatta races at Twin Lakes Country Club.

Jennifer Scorpio said her son and his friends on the wrestling team put some time in on their entry in the contest.

?They went out canoeing this week so they could get some experience. Then they came back to our place and built the boats,? she said. ?It was a great team-building activity.?

The entry rules call for the boats to be constructed of cardboard and duct tape; no plastic. Three classes are recognized: vintage for boats that have raced before, adult and youth.

In a race against time, the boats navigate the country club?s shallow pond in a series of time trials. The fastest time in each class wins. Paddle-power moves the boats. Buoyancy is a problem.

Spectators at the regatta saw several styles of floating objects. Most of the entries were flat-bottomed boats, but there were also canoe-shaped entries, rafts and an approximation of a catamaran. Paddling is not too difficult but steering the unwieldy craft can be a problem.

More than one sailor found him or herself out of the boat and in the water. Life jackets were mandatory.

?It?s sink or swim,? said Nancy Utter, who had a contestant in the race. ?It?s great to see the kids having so much fun. It?s just the best.?

Kids were having fun in downtown Winfield on Saturday too, both during the parade and after it.

The parade had a large number of entries including a float for the Girl Scouts and the school district?s teachers. The parade was led by a color guard and members of the school band.

The crowd showed its appreciation by applauding and holding hands over hearts. Candy rained down on kids and adults alike.

?I always enjoy the parade. I?m from Winfield and I always take time to come back for it. I get to spend some time visiting family and friends. It?s always a great time,? said Nathan Carlson.

Thomas McDowell doesn?t have to go to the parade, it comes to him. He can watch it from his front porch.

?I watch it every year. Everyone likes it,? he said.

His son Daunte, a first-time viewer, was visiting from his home in Orion, Ill.

?This is definitely better than some of the other parades I?ve seen,? he said.

Not far from downtown, the carnival was waiting for business. Amusement Associates brought 26 features to Winfield for a three-day show.

Bill Harris of Washington was visiting with his family. He wondered about the future of Iowa?s small town festivals and the preservation of their traditions.

?I love coming to small towns for the celebrations. I like the small-town atmosphere. It?s something that we?re losing,? he said. ?It?s good to know that Crooked Creek Days are still doing well in Winfield.?