Wine, arts in Days of Olde spotlight
OCHEYEDAN, Iowa -- For Carolyn Glade Dvorak, Ocheyedan's Days of Olde presented multiple opportunities.
Dvorak, who grew up in this Osceola County community, returned from her current residence in DeSoto, Kan., to visit many family members who remain in northwest Iowa.
Additionally, she opted to take part in the Days of Olde's first-ever Home of the Mound Wine and Arts Festival, selling prints of her photography Saturday in Ocheyedan City Park.
Duane Tracy, who recruited five area wineries, one brewery and several artisans to participate in the festival, is Dvorak's brother-in-law.
"Duane had told us about this, and we tied it in with the opportunity to visit family," Dvorak said.
"This was Duane's brainchild, and he along with other people in the community decided to expand this with vendors, wineries, and arts and crafts. For next year, there's already talk of making Days of Olde an all-school reunion, so the festival could be even larger." Dvorak added.
Dvorak's interest in photography originated during her Ocheyedan childhood, she recalled. She began showing her work at the Osceola County Fair while in 4-H and went on to develop that skill further while pursuing a journalism degree at Iowa State University. She later worked as a writer-photographer at the DeSoto Explorer, that community's weekly newspaper, but she's now trying to make as a much of a living with her art as she van.
"I've been working on making this full-time," she said, adding she also earns a living through freelance writing jobs. "'The Nature of God' -- that's what I call my work. ... It's nature and some architecture, and the title really has a dual meaning because it has to do with physical nature but also with God and His creation."
One photograph of which Dvorak is particularly proud features a cardinal on a winter's day. Taken in her backyard, the photo was featured in the KANSAS! calendar, won first place in the Butterworth Art Space Photography Show and captured second place at ArtsKC Workplace. By no means, though, does Dvorak limit her photography to her own property.
"Wherever I can take my camera, that's where my pictures come from," she said. "I'm currently splitting time between here and my husband works in the Bahamas, so I've got a great photo-op there."
Across from where Dvorak was selling her art was a booth occupied by Calico Skies, a winery in Inwood, Iowa. The business is co-owned by Ashlee Bahnson-Kimberley, who grew up in Inwood and came back to her hometown to start her enterprise.
"I went to school at Iowa State for horticulture, and my husband and I moved out to California for a time and loved the whole wine-tasting thing," Bahnson-Kimberley said. "We started working for a winery to get the whole wine-making experience.
"I wanted to get back home ... and I later took classes through Des Moines Community College, which had a program where you could get certified in grape growing and wine making. ... Our vineyard just finished its third year, and this is the first year we've had our own grapes, though we've always done all our crushing, de-stemming and fermentation on-site."
Calico Skies offers 10 different grape wines and two fruit wines. The winery has a tasting room on site, not to mention an events center capable of seating 300 people.
On Saturday, Bahnson-Kimberley was away from the events center, eager to share her creations along with other wineries.
"We're all very friendly with each other," she said of other winemakers. "The more wineries, the better. The more, the merrier."
Daily Globe Managing Editor Ryan McGaughey may be reached at 376-7320.