Though it’s had to cancel many of its events over the summer, including the steam threshing festival and the Heritage Festival, the Heritage Park of North Iowa Board decided to go through with Junkapalooza in Forest City.
Junkapalooza is similar to a large outdoor flea market and will be held at the Heritage Park on Sept. 26 and 27, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., respectively.
Besides just the large flea market, there will also be craft vendors, repurposed goods, food and some demonstrations.
“People bring in odds and ends of stuff a lot of what would normally sell at swap meets and things like that, and they negotiate a price and if they get together they take it home,” Heritage Park Board Chairman Ron Holland said.
With so many of its events canceled and Country Thunder postponed to next year, Holland said they really took a hit in revenues, especially from Country Thunder, which would have brought in about $20,000 to the park, due to the pandemic, and the board would have liked to have all their events.
“This is one that’s completely outside, and we felt that we could social distance and comply by most of the rules that are out there, or all of them hopefully, and we feel it’s a safe event,” Holland said.
If a lot of people come to check out the stuff and make some purchases, Holland said that would be great and they would figure out how to keep everyone social distancing when that happens.
“There’s room for a lot of people inside that park and still be able to social distance from each other, so it wouldn’t be a problem,” he said. “We can handle a lot of them.”
Board member Dawn Arispe said they won’t be able to have as many kids’ activities as they had hoped for, such as the draft horse pull, but they will have a blacksmith giving demonstrations and a sorghum pressing demonstration.
Arispe said she is still looking for some vendors to come, and so far they have at least 75 vendors, some of whom came in the past, signed up and coming.
“I’m hoping COVID won’t affect the amount of vendors we get,” she said. “…The whole COVID thing is throwing us for a loop on how we can do stuff.”
Large indoor vendors will not be available this year, but they are willing to be outside, Arispe said.
Since the vast majority of the event will be outdoors, face masks, though not mandatory, are highly recommended for both shoppers and vendors, and there will be sanitization stations will be available in all the restrooms.
“It’s up to consumers to take the necessary recommendations that the state has issued to wear face masks, use sanitizer often, social distancing where possible,” Arispe said.
Admission to Junkapalooza is $3, and kids ages 12 and under will get in free.
Holland said they will also still hold the Tour of Lights event from November to Dec. 24.
Grace Zaplatynsky covers Hancock and Winnebago counties. You can reach her at Grace.Zaplatynsky@GlobeGazette.com or by phone at 641-421-0534.