HARCOURT - Lisa Bintz, of Las Vegas, may have easily set the record for the furthest distance traveled to attend the annual Harcourt Appreciate Days.
The famous desert city is about 1,200 miles west - and a lot warmer.
"It's about 40 degrees cooler here," she said while waiting for the parade to start. "You are that much less likely to have a heat stroke."
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Grady Dodge, 11, of Fort Dodge, attempts to catch a water balloon Saturday afternoon in the Harcourt Park during the annual Harcourt Appreciation Days. While this one broke, he did manage to catch one in his shirt that didn’t.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Webster County Sheriff Jim Stubbs, at left, one of several volunteer judges, prepares to dig into the first entry in the Harcourt Fire Department’s barbecue contest at the annual Harcourt Appreciation Days celebration. Webster County Supervisor Mark Campbell reaches for a much-needed barbecue judging accessory: a paper towel.
While she enjoys the lower temperatures, she was also enjoying time with her family and attending the many garage sales throughout Harcourt.
She said the Harcourt sales offer a bit more excitement than the sales in Las Vegas.
"I buy a lot more treasures here," she said.
It also brings back lots of good memories.
"It takes me back to my grassroots," she said. "The community coming together, it's all happy."
Leland Urelius, of Harcourt, and his sister, Elizabeth Urelius, were busy signing in car show participants. They both enjoy life in Harcourt and the peaceful quiet small town atmosphere.
They both enjoyed the garage sales too.
Elizabeth Urelius didn't have much luck though.
"I didn't find anything," she said.
Leland Urelius however, did.
"I got a little piggy bank," he said.
Yes, he collects them.
Participants in the Harcourt Fire Department's second annual Barbecue Contest managed to filled the park with the delicious aroma of slowly cooking meats.
Fire Chief Matt Nahnsen said that five teams entered the department fundraiser. They compete in seven different categories.
Among the judges, Webster County Sheriff Jim Stubbs and Webster County Supervisor Mark Campbell.
Both agreed that saying they were "drafted" for the trying and arduous afternoon of sampling tasty, slow-cooked cuts of lean pork loin and other treats might be a bit harsh.
Campbell said he preferred the term "recruited."
Campbell denied that he had any particular expertise or prior training for the task or that he had attended "Barbecue Camp."
"I was asked," he said.
Stubbs, like Campbell, doesn't have any training in the fine subtle art of authoring food reviews. He did bring something else to the table though.
"My fondness for food," he said.
Catching a water balloon seems like a simple enough task. Catching a water balloon fired from a large slingshot, 50 feet into the air - perhaps not that easy.
Grady Dodge, 11, of Fort Dodge, found a way to do it.
He used his shirt like a net.
"It did work," he said.
His friend Kale Myers, 8, of Fort Dodge, was pretty impressed.
"That was epic when he caught it with his shirt," he said.
The water balloon catapult is not just for children
Kelly Blair, of Harcourt, gave it a try and no, he did not use his shirt although when he was done, his shirt was wet.
"It's a hot day," he said.
So is it actually possible to catch one of the balloons and win one of the candy bars doing so earns the participant.
"It's impossible," Blair said. "I think they're safe."
Dale Gentry, of Rockwell City, found a unique seat to enjoy the parade. The front tire of his 1932 Ford that he built to resemble a salt flat racer.
He managed to gather a pretty good pile of parade candy.
"It's for my wife," he said, "She was in the parade."
He had also managed to park in a shady spot, he maintains that among the other nice things Harcourt has to offer, better shade than elsewhere is one of them.
"Oh yes," he said.
Other events included a basketball tournament, pasture bingo, games in the park and an ice cream social.