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Small town continues summer celebration with changes

Lake Mills community picnic

LAKE MILLS, Iowa (FOX 47) - Lake Mills is a town of just over 2,000 people that sits close to the Minnesota border.

Its July Jubilee celebration was in doubt this year. However, thanks to some community members, the weekend still continued on even if it was not the the same as usual.

"I think everyone understands but it's disappointing," said resident Laura Mattern.

"Usually we got uptown to the town celebration. They usually have a live band," said Matt Keel, a visitor from nearby Forest City. "Hit a few bars here and there. This year, like I said is a little different."

Yet some events were done virtually or socially distanced like the Little Mr. and Mrs. July Jubilee, chalk art and curb appeal contests. Also, many in the area were happy the softball tournament was able to go on.

"Definitely. We got to keep having the fun as far as town celebrations. You got to bring some money back into the town," said Todd Jensen, who organized the tournament. "Hopefully some of these people go uptown later and have a beer or tip their waitress."

Normally, the tournament draws teams from all over the Midwest. Despite some not being able to make the trip, it saw the most teams ever signup this year.

"All the teams have showed that have said they were coming. The weather is holding out for us," Jensen said. "The fields could use some rain so if you want to rain, you can."

Even with softball in full swing, many people miss the highlight of the weekend, the town parade.

"My kids do. I myself don't have time to go it because I'm running this every year but my kids certainly," said Jensen. "I miss them getting the candy because I get to eat it then."

"I do understand the safety concern," Keel said. "Personally, I could see them having the parade and maybe not throwing out the candy."

The annual picnic lunch was not cancelled but drastically different.

"Typically we do that after the parade in town, but this year we've had to have a drive-thru," said Mattern, who helped organize the meal.

The proceeds from the meal go towards Lake Mills students' spring trip to DC. They hope that trip still goes as planned, as well next year's July Jubilee.

"I'm hoping it's back to normal next year, yes," said Mattern.

The proceeds from the softball tournament benefit the Lake Mills Parks and Rec Department. It continues all day tomorrow as does the virtual 5K event.

Alex Tejada

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