Hooverfest to honor Iowa’s fallen heroes News · June 27, 2007
The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association, the West Branch American Legion, Main Street West Branch, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum and National Historic Site are honoring our men and women in uniform and paying a special tribute to Iowa’s Fallen Heroes at this year’s all new, one-day Hooverfest.
The event, an annual celebration of the birthday of the 31st U.S. President Herbert Hoover, will be held Saturday, Aug. 4 in West Branch, the site of Hoover’s birth.
“West Branch is a really special place. I’ve always thought it was, even as a kid,” said Becky Allgood, executive director of the Hoover Presidential Library Association.
The families of Iowa heroes and the Iowa National Guard will be special guests. Lt. Colonel Gregory Hapgood of the Iowa National Guard has been helping the Hooverfest planning group coordinate this event.
“This is the first time that all of the Iowans who have given their lives in the War on Terror will be recognized in a special tribute in one place and at one time,” said Allgood, who is coordinating Hooverfest for the first time.
From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., there will be family-friendly exhibits, arts, crafts and food vendors. Musical entertainment will be provided by Yahoo Drummers, The 100s, Euforquestra and B.F. Burt. Children’s activities, sponsored by the Iowa Children’s Museum, will stretch from West Branch’s downtown throughout the national park.
Fishing demonstrations and fun things for kids and adults on the Village Green are provided by the Mississippi River Museum, Department of Natural Resources, Army Corps of Engineers, University of Iowa Natural History Museum and Hawkeye Fly Fishing Association.
The Amana Colonies and Czech Village from Cedar Rapids will also have food and craft tents where they will sell a number of items including kolaches, the famous Czech pastry.
“I am just thrilled that people are jumping on the bandwagon and that we can display here. We have a big park, so we certainly can,” said Allgood.
For the first time, a 5K road race, formerly known as the Presidential Races, will be sponsored by the West Branch High School girls track team. The event has been renamed the Team Fergilicious 5K Road Race, in honor of Coach Harlan Ferguson.
The Hooverball National Championships, at Beranek Park, and the West Branch Fire Department Dinner complete the day-long festivities. There will be no parade at Hooverfest this year.
Starting at 7:30 p.m., Hooverfest hosts a first-ever special tribute, “Iowa’s Fallen Heroes in the War on Terror.” Honored guests are the Iowa National Guard, the American Legion and the families of Iowa heroes.
The tribute ceremony begins with a bagpiper-led procession to the Hoover gravesite. Ron Steele of KWWL-TV is the emcee. Governor Chet Culver has been invited to honor both President Hoover and the Iowans who have given the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan. The White House is sending a presidential message and a wreath. The National Guard promises some surprises for us. The evening concludes with patriotic music accompanied by fireworks that are the hallmark of Hooverfest.
Allgood said that volunteers are still needed for Hooverfest.
“We invite anyone who would like to volunteer on Saturday, Aug. 4 to sign up for jobs from helping vendors set up to parking to children’s activities, etc.,” Allgood said. “Please give us a call and offer your assistance. We’ll give you the list of tasks to choose from and welcome you into our group.”
To sign up as a Hooverfest volunteer, call the Hoover Presidential Library Association at 643-5327.
Hooverfest receives no taxpayer money; only private donations fund the event.