Alva Review-Courier -

Kiowa's 81st Annual Labor Day Celebration scaled back due to COVID, about 300 still enjoy


September 9, 2020

Yvonne Miller

Top Row (Left to Right): Sixth graders have fun snacking and talking at Kiowa's Labor Day celebration: (from left) James Fox at South Barber, Kariss Sciara at Burlington and Caylee Bridwell at South Barber; Longtime bean chef Brad Rathgeber stirs one of the huge black cauldrons of ham and beans served at Kiowa's Labor Day Celebration; Kiowa man Bob Lamkin gets his plate of ham and beans and all the fixin's at Kiowa's Labor Day celebration. He is served by Nora Gugelmeyer. Her mom, Kim, is hidden while serving and Daphne Rathgeber is also serving. Behind Bob in line is Donna Abbott and Jerry and Vicky Blevins; Four-year-old Koen Brattin has more fun blowing bubbles than anything else at Progress Park during Kiowa's Labor Day celebration. He is the son of Joey and Rae Brattin of Kiowa; Kiowa Chamber of Commerce President Janet Robison (in the center) keeps the Labor Day Cake Walk running with the late Bob Hays' traditional polka music. Middle Row (L-R): If there were a Little Miss Labor Day contest, this beauty, Caroline Hill, would certainly win the crown. She enjoys the park with her mother, Tammy Hill, and her baby brother, Harmon (who is in the stroller and you can't see him); By far the cutest bean chef this year is Emma Schupbach, 13, who volunteers at Kiowa's Labor Day celebration. She's the daughter of bean chef Matt and Courtney Schupbach;OH SAY CAN YOU SEE – Nothing makes Americans prouder than to see a huge version of Old Glory waving in the wind – gives you goosebumps and maybe a tear in your eye. Thanks to the Simpson's business, this was the scene on Kiowa, Kansas, Main Street over the Labor Day weekend; Patriotism exudes from this golf cart waving Old Glory driven by Jenna Mostert. This is just one of the many expressions of small town love of America seen in T-shirts, hats and more at the park during Kiowa's Labor Day celebration; Longtime Bingo organizers Bob and Pam Cox welcome Bayli Hyde of Burlington, who was one of their first winners of the day at Kiowa's Labor Day celebration; It's not every year that Kiowa's Labor Day celebration has a monkey visit the park. This year, Tammy Israel brings her green monkey named Djouiti. Bottom Row (L-R): The favorite part of Kiowa's Labor Day celebration for many is simply bringing your lawn chair, relaxing and visiting. From left: Terry and Oklahoma Senator Roland Pederson and Bev and Warren Little of Alva; South Barber grad Nicole Blick came home for Labor Day in the park and she enjoys an ear of roasted corn sold by the Shriners. Blick is attending KU Medical School studying to be an occupational therapist; Three-year-old Thomas is loving Kiowa's Labor Day celebration as his parents Steve and Mindi Clark of Byron push him on the swings; These children visiting from Lincoln, Nebraska, enjoy playing games in Progress Park during Kiowa's Labor Day celebration: Sam, 13; Eliza, 9; and Kate 11. They are with their parents Sovida and Rachel Tran. They were in the area competing in a National Rifle League contest at Medicine Lodge.

All the ham and beans disappeared at the traditional Free Ham and Bean Feed at Kiowa during the 81st Annual Labor Day Celebration. One of the bean chefs, Roger Robison, said they reduced the amount to 100 pounds of beans cooked in two big black cauldrons. In the biggest years the bean chefs cooked closer to 500 pounds of beans, he said.

Chamber of Commerce President Janet Robison and her crew estimated 300 people enjoyed the day at Progress Park. Imagine: that celebration has not missed a year since it began in 1939. The strong breeze in the shady park made being out in the heat quite plea...

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