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Iowa’s high point to host fall gathering

Sibley-Ocheyedan FFA members Brooke Block (from left), Jill Berkland and Megan Block, all of whom are members of the Westerners 4-H Club, join 4-H’er Garrett Sarringar on the newly completed observation deck at Hawkeye Point, the highest point in Iowa. From the deck, visitors can view the flat lands of northwest Iowa for miles. (Julie Buntjer/Daily Globe)

SIBLEY, Iowa — An old-fashioned fall gathering is planned at Iowa’s highest point on Saturday, complete with an antique tractor display, apple cider press demonstrations, musical entertainment, fun for the kids and a pancake and sausage feed.

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The event is open to everyone and planned from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hawkeye Point, located on 130th Street off Iowa 60, just a few miles south of Bigelow in Osceola County.

The fall gathering includes a pancake and sausage meal, served for a free-will donation, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

This is the second year the high point has been host to a family focused community event, but it’s the first time organizers have planned the event in the fall.

Mike Earll, Hawkeye Point Committee member, said the event will focus on the harvest season. An antique corn sheller will be displayed, and people will be encouraged to try to shell corn. Also, Chuck Nystrom of Ocheda Orchard has donated apples to be used in the cider press demonstration.

This Saturday’s event will offer the public an opportunity to climb the new viewing platform at Hawkeye Point.

A project of the Westerners 4-H Club and the Sibley-Ocheyedan FFA Chapter, the observation deck was made possible with a $3,500 grant from the Community Foundation of Osceola County. The grant was awarded in February, with plans to construct the platform during the school’s May term. This spring’s ice storm, however, delayed work, as FFA members were busy cleaning up tree branches at Hawkeye Point’s campground.

S-O FFA and Westerners 4-H Club member Jill Berkland said the deck materials were purchased as a kit. Members of the Osceola County Conservation Board assisted in framing the structure.

“It was community working together,” said Earll, adding that the 14- by 32-foot platform is 10 feet off the ground and surrounds much of the silo at Hawkeye Point.

“It gives people an option when they come to the High Point,” he said. “They can see the landscape from there.”

“I think it looks really nice,” added Megan Block, another FFA and 4-H member.

On Saturday, a pair of local boys will perform musical entertainment on the observation deck. In addition, 4-H and FFA members will lead activities for children, such as face painting, pumpkin painting, a bean bag toss, horse shoes and kids games.

An old-fashioned tractor ride —done in memory of Roger Sixta — will leave Ocheyedan, Iowa, at 10 a.m. and weave its way to Hawkeye Point. The group is expected to arrive at 11 a.m., just as activities get under way.

Anyone interested in participating in the tractor ride is asked to unload their tractor at 9:30 a.m. at the Ocheyedan School parking lot. For more information, tractor drivers may call the Sixta family at (712) 758-3673.

“It should be an alright thing if the weather cooperates for us,” Earll said, adding that he anticipates seeing a variety of makes, models and vintages — including restored tractors.

People are encouraged to view the tractors and enjoy a hay ride during Saturday’s event. On the drive to Hawkeye Point, visitors are also welcome to drive through the campground, where 75 trees were planted last week. Earll said a landscaping company donated the trees and helped turn the site into an “instant campground.” Free camping is offered Friday and Saturday night for those adventurous enough to brave the cooler temperatures.

Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at
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