It's not every organization that makes it to 80.
For those that do - such as the Blanden Memorial Art Museum - a big celebration is in order.
Heather Hubbard, of Fort Dodge, attended the birthday party with her daughter Kayla, 2. The pair kept themselves busy with arts and crafts projects that they could do together under tents set up on the lawn.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
An appreciative audience watches the Elsenpeter Marionettes perform “Hansel and Gretel” Saturday afternoon during the Blanden Memorial Art Museum’s 80th Birthday Party.
"I love the arts," Heather Hubbard said. "It makes like more enjoyable and lovely."
She said her family frequently visits the Blanden, and she considers it an asset to the community.
"I like their different rotations," she said. "It's nice to have a museum in the area."
Of course, getting to do art projects with her child out on the lawn has a definite advantage over doing them at home.
"You don't have to worry about the cleanup," she said.
One of the featured attractions at the celebration was Richard Elsenpeter, of New London, Mo., and his Elsenpeter Marionettes.
"I"m a fourth-generation puppeteer," he said. "I learned from my father who learned from his who learned from his."
Elsenpeter said he can trace the family tradition back almost 150 years to when the family was living in Elsen, Germany.
"We do the Old World style," he said.
During the show - the puppets appear on a small stage with a backdrop - Elsenpeter isn't seen by the audience.
"They pay attention to what the puppets are doing and the moral of the story," he said.
At the Blanden, he was performing "Hansel and Gretel."
""I highlight major parts of the story," he said. "Hopefully, they'll pick up the book and read the entire thing."
He said classic American stories such as "Tom Sawyer," "Huckleberry Finn" and the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" are performed by him as well.
He crafts his own string puppets but leaves it up to a family friend to dress them.
"We don't make our own clothes," he said. "I don't sew very well."
Will the family tradition carry on ?
"I have two daughters," he said. "Neither seems very interested."
Pamela Kay, with the Blanden business office, said many visitors were surprised the Blanden had been here for 80 years.
It did bring one who shared something.
"One visitor came because it was her 80th birthday too," she said.
Kay was happy with the variety of artists, music and activities; she said they tried to have something for everyone.
Ejanae Hume, of Council Bluffs, came to the birthday party to sing and play violin.
"I'm doing 'Gavotte' by Bach," she said.
While she said she was a little nervous, she was still glad to be helping out.
Another one of those helping out was artist Roger Feldhans. He was helping a long line of future artists make tie-dyed handkerchiefs.
"This is the most fun activity," he said. "If it wasn't busy, I wouldn't be doing it."