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Chelsea celebrates 150 years

Events are full speed after recent flooding

July 21, 2014
Submitted by Janet Balvin - Chelsea 150th Celebration committee member , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Yes! We are still planning to have the Chelsea Sesquicentennial Celebration on July 25 & 26 ! The flood may have dampened the ground but not our spirit and determination! Due to the recent flooding, many people have asked if we are still planning to have the 150th celebration on July 25 and 26. Barring any further flooding, the answer is 'YES!'.

Events start at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 25, with a community picnic. Bring your picnic basket, grill, food, beverage, blanket, lawn chairs, and bug repellent and plan to relax and socialize with neighbors, family, and friends.

Also beginning at 6 p.m., we will be accepting entries for the Kolach Contest. Just bring two dozen kolaches (any flavor) to enter and vie for the title of "Kolach Champion".

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From 6 - 7 p.m. , all Chelsea children (those with a Chelsea mailing address) that are age 10 or under can sign up for Little Miss Chelsea and Little Mr. Chelsea. The winners will be randomly drawn later in the evening and will be asked to ride in Saturday's parade.

At approximately 7 p.m., the judges will start sampling those delicious kolaches to determine a first, second, and third place winner. Also, those who have entered the beard contest will line up for judging to determine who has the longest , darkest, grayest, thickest, best groomed, and most unusual beards. In addition, the oldest and youngest entrants will be revealed.

We hope you are busy working on your special 1864-era outfit because there is also an old-time costume contest. Just show up for the judges at 7 p.m. and they will determine the best dressed family, man, woman, and child.

Once the judging is complete (approximately 7:30 p.m.), all contest winners will be announced. This will include the drawing for Little Miss and Little Mr. Chelsea and the announcement of the Chelsea Sesquicentennial King and Queen. If you would like to nominate someone for the king or queen honor, please be sure to submit names at the Chelsea Savings Bank (Chelsea location only), Chelsea Post Office, or Silver Dollar Bar & Grill in Chelsea as soon as possible.

All Friday evening activities will be held in the yard north of St. Joseph's Parish Center (just east of St. Joseph's Catholic Church). In case of rain, these activities will be held in the St. Joseph's Parish Center.

A full day of activities is planned for Saturday, July 26. Starting at 6 a.m.the Chelsea Community Club will be hosting an omelette breakfast and a Bloody Mary bar at the Chelsea Community Hall. Serving continues until 9:00 AM.

Starting at 8:00 AM, cars, pickups, and motorcycles will start to line Station Street for the 4th annual Chelsea Car Show. This show has increased in number of entrants each year and we hope to have our largest turnout yet. Dash plaques will be given to the first 150 entries. (Pre-registration is accepted until July 19.) Registration closes at 11:00 AM at which time voting will begin and last until noon. All registered participant s will be eligible to vote for their favorite vehicle with awards being presented at 1:00 PM to the top 50 choices. Also, judges will choose the "best" in each of the following categories: paint, interior, engine, motorcycle, rat rod, truck, convertible, GM, Chevelle, Camaro, Ford, Mustang, Mopar, unfinished, special interest, '76-'99, and 2000-present. The best of show stock, best of show modified, and Mayor's choice will also be awarded. For details about the car show, contact Aaron Balvin (641-751-3928) or Jason Balvin (641-485-2234). You may also visit "Chelsea Car Show" on Facebook.

At 9:00 AM a flag raising ceremony will be conducted by the Chelsea American Legion Post 269. This will take place at the flag pole on the sight of the old Chelsea Elementary school. Pastor Charles Johnson and his wife, Karen, will share their vocal talent by singing the National Anthem for us. All area veterans are invited and encouraged to attend and be recognized for their service to our country.

You can then take a stroll in the nearby school yard and view the antique tractors and equipment that will be on display. If you have equipment you would like to include in the display, contact Tom L. Upah (641-484-5847). Another display of gas engines will be north of St. Joseph's Catholic Church. Contact Jerry Balvin (641-485-7441) for more information on this display. Both displays will be in place at 9:00 AM.

You will want to find your way to St. Joseph's Parish Center because starting at 10:00 AM, there are all kinds of things happening there. A vendor & craft show will begin at 10:00 AM & close at 2:00 PM. Various vendors will be offering a variety of goods for sale. If you would like to have a booth, contact Jackie Novotny (641-485-8176) or Keely Upah (641-751-4509). In addition, Chelsea 150th souvenirs / collectibles will be for sale at the vendor& craft show. These include the beautiful hard-bound Chelsea 150th Celebration history book, T-shirts, mugs, toothpick holders and crocks. There are a limited number of these items available so once they are gone, there are no more left to purchase or order. We will also have the Chelsea Elementary Keepsake Cookbook and other books from past celebrations for sale.

While you are there, you can also see the beautiful handmade quilt and wall hanging, both of which were made by ladies from the Chelsea area. The Chelsea Challengers 4-H Club will also have a beautiful flag design quilt on display. You can purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win these quilts at the vendor & craft show.

Another popular item for sale at the vendor & craft show will be those ever famous kolaches! They will be sold until all are gone. If you haven't already been contacted and would like to bake and donate some kolaches for this sale, please contact Becky Poduska (641-489-2107) or Kathy Fattig (641-489-2585). We know these will be a popular item and want to have as many as possible to sell.

A "History of Chelsea" display will be open in the east room of St. Joseph's Parish Center beginning at 10:00 AM. If you have any items, pictures, displays, clothing, collectibles, or anything else that pertains to Chelsea and you would be willing to include them in this display, please contact Sarah Silhanek (641-485-3077) as soon as possible.

While you are in the area of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, you may stop in for a visit since the church will be open beginning at 10:00 AM for visitors.

Perhaps you have heard about the Human Tractor Pull? This event will begin at 11:00 AM and be held on Broad Street (just north of St. Joseph's church). Teams of 3 people will compete to pull a farm tractor the furthest distance. The entry fee is $100 per team and there will be a cash payout to the top three teams. To sign up your team and get details on this contest, contact Jerry Balvin (641-485-7441).

Area fire departments will participate in water ball fights that will begin at 11:00 AM. This will take place just east of the Chelsea Community Hall. Registration for this event will begin at 10:00 AM. Both women's and men's teams will compete. Contact Russ Ochs (319-444-4233) or Jim Shutts (319-444-3372) for more information or to sign up a team.

There will be some fun events for the kids as well. A kids' pedal tractor pull is scheduled to begin at 11:00 AM. This event is sponsored by Van Wall Equipment and will be conducted by the STC FFA Chapter. At 1:00 PM kids can participate in the nickel scramble. This event is sponsored by Sand Hill Auto Salvage and will be conducted by the Chelsea Challengers 4-H club. These events will be held on the grounds where the Chelsea Elementary School once stood. Other activities that will be going on all day for the kids include a huge bounce house, carnival games, face painter, and balloon artist. Just look for the large bounce house and you will find them!

There will be various food vendors on the grounds for lunch and snacks. The Car Show Committee will serve brats, pork burgers, hamburgers, beverages and more near the Co-op. Nearby, at the Chelsea Methodist Church, you can also purchase beverages and homemade desserts. The Tama County Cattlemen will be serving hamburgers south of the Chelsea Community Hall. A carnival food stand will also be in that area serving fun food such as cotton candy, funnel cakes, sno-cones, nachos, curly fries, and more! We also plan to have a food vendor selling authentic Mexican food. Of course, no celebration would be complete without the beer garden which will be located near the Chelsea Community Hall.

After lunch you might want to watch or participate in the rolle bolle tournament at the Chelsea Ball Park. Drawing for teams will begin at 1:00 PM. You do need to bring your own rolle bolle to participate. Contact Jason DeBrower (319-210-2035) for more information.

Following the voting, judging, and presentation of awards at the car show, you can join in on "A Toast to Chelsea". This is a wine-tasting event that will be held from 2:00 PM until 6:00 PM in the area north of St. Joseph's Parish Center.

Beginning at about 2:30 PM, entries for the parade will start lining up west of the railroad tracks on the west end of Jacobs Street. All individuals, businesses, organizations, etc. are invited and encouraged to participate in the parade. One extra special guest that will be joining us is Ms. Janna Waters. Janna holds the title of Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa, 2014-2015. The plan is to begin the parade at approximately 3:15 PM (or as soon as the car show entries have moved from Station Street). The parade route will travel from west of the Chelsea Ball Park, south on Green Street, east on 2nd Street, and north on Station Street. The parade announcer will be located near the Co-op on Station Street. For more information about the parade or to register your entry, contact Doug Stadler (641-489-2012) or Brian Balvin (319-350-5333).

Beginning at 5:00 PM, the Chelsea Fire Department will begin serving a meal at the Chelsea Community Hall. This meal will feature delicious pork sandwiches, potato salad, beans and more. Serving will continue until 8:00 PM.

At 5:30 PM plan to attend the special worship service at the Chelsea Methodist Church. It is open to all and will feature Keith and Joann Lambertsen from Garwin. Keith is a talented accordion player, having played accordion for over 50 years and has a collection of over 30 accordions. If you are looking for a bit of Czech music, you won't want to miss this!

Around 7:45, be sure to gather at the Chelsea Community Hall for the drawing of the winners of the quilts and wall hanging. Curt Kaufman will then conduct an auction to sell some kolaches that were made by the Kolach Champion and the first and second runner-up.

The day won't be complete until you've stayed for the annual Chelsea Fire Department's dance at the Chelsea Community Hall. The music begins at 8:00 PM and continues until midnight. This has been a fun and well attended event in past years.

The planning committee is hoping the celebration will be an enjoyable and memorable couple of days in Chelsea. We plan to have maps available the days of the celebration to help visitors find the various activities. There are a few air conditioned facilities in town that will be noted on the map in case you need a break from the anticipated July heat. There will also be some shuttle vehicles on the grounds to assist those who need a ride to/from their car.

As you drive by the fire station in town, be sure to look for the huge rock that has been placed there. Many thanks go to Glenn Suchomel for engraving the Chelsea 150th Celebration logo on it. Also, thank you to Gary & Kathy Fattig for donating the rock. This new landmark should provide a great spot for that special photo you might want to take to help you remember the fun time you had in Chelsea!

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Chelsea on July 25 and 26 !

(It's not too late to join the Facebook group "Chelsea's 150th Birthday" and/or contact the committee by email at

Submitted by Janet Balvin, Chelsea 150th Celebration committee member



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