Our hometown of Crete, Neb., hosted its 2nd Annual Great Pumpkin Festival this weekend and we had so much fun hosting the photo booth and meeting so many new people. This year’s festival was even bigger and better than last year’s inaugural event [read more about that here] and attracted hundreds of people to our little town. It was great to see our friends and neighbors walking through City Park and downtown. We enjoyed watching kids play carnival games, jump in the bounce house, and show off their painted faces.

Crete's Great Pumpkin Festival

Face painting was a popular activity for the kids.

We couldn’t have asked for a nicer October day for an outdoor event in Nebraska. In our state, October can bring everything from extreme sun to falling snow. Fortunately, we had just the perfect fall day with temperatures in the mid 70s and a light breeze. It was a perfect day for strolling down the sidewalks, eating pulled pork and funnel cakes, busting pinatas, and watching local groups perform in the town center.

Kids had a blast playing all kinds of games on Main Street.

Kids had a blast playing all kinds of games on Main Street.

In just its 2nd year, Crete’s Great Pumpkin Festival is already becoming quite the attraction. What began last fall with a few community leaders and a local retiree turned “pumpkin master,” has quickly become a citywide event that has brought our community together in a way we’ve never seen.

Crete Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kayleigh Schadwinkel and Pumpkin Master Russ Sears.

Crete Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kayleigh Schadwinkel and Pumpkin Master Russ Sears.

Organized by the Crete Chamber of Commerce, the festival was well supported by dozens of local businesses, including Crete True Value, Heath Sports and Tees, Nestle Purina, Pinnacle Bank, Plains Equipment Group, Public Health Solutions, Union Bank and Trust and The Crete News, just to name a few. It was just amazing to see how many businesses and community groups supported this event and we were delighted to have Postcard Jar sponsor a free photo booth.

Taking pictures at the Postcard Jar photo booth.

 

At our booth, we invited passersby to stop for a photograph in a fall setting complete with hay bales, scarecrows, and lots of pumpkins. Here are a few our favorites.

Crete's Great Pumpkin Festival

Crete's Great Pumpkin Festival

Crete's Great Pumpkin Festival

Crete's Great Pumpkin Festival

Crete's Great Pumpkin Festival

We also had a chance to talk to people about our blog and display our postcard jar from home and some new Crete postcards we just made. As many people told us, postcards seem to be more and more difficult to find in this electronic age and our town hasn’t had any in a very long time. People were excited to see us feature some of Crete’s iconic structures like the bell tower at Doane University, the Sherman tank at City Park, and the old bridge at the entrance to Tuxedo Park.

doane

Sherman Tank at City Park in Crete, NEb.

tuxedo-bridge

A few local retailers asked if they could carry our postcards in their shops, so stay tuned for more news on that. We want to thank our good friends, Ben and Nikki Piper, De’Andre Miller, and our daughter, Meghan, for helping us with our booth as well as fellow travel bloggers, Tim and Lisa Trudell of The Walking Tourists for coming to Crete to support us and see the festival.

We are so grateful to live in a community like Crete. We love the history, the diversity, everyone’s willingness to help each other, and events like Crete’s Great Pumpkin Festival that bring us all together.

[well]Did you go to the Great Pumpkin Festival? If so, what was your favorite activity? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you. [/well]

 

  • What a privilege to be in @visitbentonville this weekend to celebrate the opening of @themomentary and our friend, @addie_roanhorse. Addie’s Osage ribbon work- inspired design is featured on this tower at the Momentary and it is just fabulous! 
This new space opens to the public Feb. 22 and general admission is free, thanks to the generosity of the @waltonfamilyfdn.
  • In @visitmasoncityiowa, you'll find the boyhood home of famous composer Meredith Willson. Perhaps best known for his musical, "The Music Man," Willson based the show in large part on his experiences growing up in his hometown.⁣
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Mason City has kept Willson's memory alive through an extensive museum and convention space, which we got to see on our hosted tour of the town, called The Music Man Square. A part of the experience at Music Man Square is a tour through Willson's childhood home.⁣
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Now is the perfect time to head to Mason City for a visit. Hugh Jackman is set to play Professor Harold Hill in a Broadway revival of, "The Music Man." With that show opening in 2020, all eyes will be back on Mason City.⁣
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@thehughjackman @musicmanbway
  • When the @museumofamericanspeed invited us to come for a complimentary visit, we weren't sure what to expect. ⁣
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Yes, the museum is chock-full of race cars, engines, history, and car-related memorabilia. But it also houses other collections like one of old lunch boxes.⁣
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We had so much fun standing and taking in the lunch boxes, looking and trying to find the ones we had when we were kids. Ann had "Charlie's Angels" and Steve had "Super Friends." ⁣
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If you're ever near Lincoln, Nebraska, check out the Museum of American Speed. It's a true hidden treasure in the midwest. ⁣
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What kind of lunch box did you carry to school? Any kids of the 70s and 80s who had the ones we had?
  • Sometimes you find things in your own backyard.⁣
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Just up the road from our home in Crete, Nebraska, we found the National Museum of Roller Skating. Our curiosity piqued, we stopped in and took a look around. There we found the world's largest collection of historical roller skates, costumes, and memorabilia. ⁣
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It took us back to our childhood and spending time at the roller skating rink (do kids even skate anymore?). We remembered crossing over on the turns for the first time and bending at the knees for "Downtown" by Petula Clark. So many great memories. ⁣
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Sometimes, we focus so much on getting away that we forget that we have some really interesting places close to home, as well. The next time you feel a hankering to go somewhere, maybe try going down the street. You never know what treasure you might find and what memories it evoke.
  • This was our Valentine’s Day dessert last year. Chef Kurtess Mortensen at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile created this memorable dish he called “Fat Elvis.” It was a chocolate bread pudding, served alongside banana brûlée and caramelized peanuts then topped with marshmallow cream, homemade peanut butter ice cream, and a candied bacon garnish. We are giddy with anticipation to see what he comes up with tonight! We are budgeting our calories accordingly. 😉
  • “Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures.”
– Lewis Carroll
  • It's been a long winter. I need to see flowers again! Are you with me?Let's talk about these flowers. ⁣
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We are often asked about our favorite place we've ever visited. While that question is hard to answer, we almost always mention Tallinn, Estonia, as a contender.⁣
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Estonia has an interesting history. Conquered in 1227 by Denmark, it never again enjoyed independence until  1920. That freedom was short lived, however, as the Soviet Union occupied the country in 1940. Finally, in 1991, Estonia regained its independence and has remained free ever since. The country joined NATO in 2004. ⁣
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Visiting Estonia, we could see the remnants of Soviet control. Large block buildings dominate the landscape. They are of Soviet Communist design: utilitarian in nature with no thought given to design. They look just like the buildings you've seen in movies about the Soviet Union. ⁣
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Now free, Estonians have done what they can to erase the gray days of Soviet control. The Soviet-style buildings are painted bright colors, and flowers abound in the streets. The people are warm, cheerful, friendly, and welcoming. ⁣
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Yes, Estonia is a wonderful country, and we can't wait to return.
  • Each year from late February to early April, hundreds of thousands of Sandhills Cranes migrate through Nebraska on their way north to their breeding grounds. It's considered one of the greatest spectacles in nature, so thousands of people come to experience this incredible time.⁣
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We traveled to Kearney, Nebraska, one of the best cities for crane viewing, last year. Because the best times to view the cranes is sunrise and sunset, we found ourselves with some free time during the day. It turns out that Kearney has a lot to offer in terms of things to do.⁣
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Scroll across our highlights on Instagram, and you'll find the stories highlights we made during our time there. On our blog (link in bio) you'll also find a post we wrote with ideas for 20 things to do in Kearney while you wait on the cranes. ⁣
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Put crane viewing on your bucket list. It really is one of the most amazing experiences we've ever had in nature. And don't worry about being bored between sunrise and sunset--Kearney has too much to offer.

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