Event includes craft fair, appraisal fair, historic buildings tour
Strawberries and local history are on the schedule for the Iola Historical Society’s 31st annual Strawberry Fest to be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 28.
Held at the Society’s Historical Village complex on Depot Street just west of downtown Iola, the event includes a Craft Fair and an Antiques Appraisal Fair. Available will be experts on a wide range of collectibles to appraise the value of attic and basement treasures.
Admission to the event is free, although goodwill donations are accepted.
Food items include strawberry shortcake with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for $4; barbecue sandwich, $3.00; hot dog, $2.50; and coffee. Water and soda will be sold by Boy Scout Troop 631.
All proceeds from the event go to benefit restorations of the historic Iola & Northern Railroad depot, a vintage caboose, and other Iola Historical Society projects.
Historic building tours
The Historic Iola Village buildings will be open for visitors, including the Iola & Northern Railway 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; 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, features recently acquired collections including the following, which are all in new displays:
• Culled from the Robert Towne Collection of Native American artifacts are items from the first Native Americans to live in Wisconsin, dating back more than 5,000 years.
• 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 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 his carvings are also in display.
• R.I. Anderson machine shop featuring the original equipment used by Anderson, who built, among other things, Iola’s original fire engines. The equipment is located in a replica building inside the society’s Machine Shed, and is still in working condition. Demonstrations will be featured during the Fest.
Other items of local historical significance are also on display.
Docents will be at each building to talk about their historic significance and answer any questions.
Antique Appraisal Fair
Area residents can bring items from their attics and basements for evaluation and pricing information to a wide-ranging group of experts at the Antiques Appraisal Fair. The cost is $3 per item or $5 for three items, with all proceeds benefitting the Iola Historical Society.
Antiques and collectibles appraisers include experts on general antiques, books, comics and popular-culture collectibles, sports collectibles, militaria and medals, toys, coins, and paper money.
For the first time at the Strawberry Fest, a craft show will be held on the grounds. A total of 15 crafters will display purses, mechanical moose, jewelry, Norwegian rosemaling, photography, painted quilts, wood carvings, original paintings, sock monkeys, candles, plus much more.
The Iola Historical Society’s village is also open from noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays in June, July and August.
The Society’s next special event is Taste of Norway & Lost Arts Fair on Saturday, Oct. 3.
For more information, go to the IHS website at www.iolahistoricalsociety.org or visit the Iola-Scandinavia Chamber’s website at www.ischamber.org.