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CLEAR LAKE | With the Clarion Inn demolished and the Elks Lodge closed, the list of available venues for large parties and weddings shrunk in North Iowa.

Scott and Gwen Bultje decided to help fill a growing need by opening Diamond Oak Events in Clear Lake.  

“I was looking for an employment opportunity. I came from the corporate world after 25 years and I was looking to do something a little more positive,” Scott said. “We came up with this idea.”

The Bultje’s have owned the land for 10 years. When two of their children were married recently, they became aware of the lack of venues and the amount of planning that goes into putting on a large event.

“We realized that it’s an awful lot of work for parents and it’s very difficult to find private outdoor venues,” Gwen said.

In order to provide an all-inclusive type experience, Diamond Oak provides items like tables, chairs, linens and chair covers, among other items.

The open-air, barn-like pavilion is available for receptions May through October. The venue also includes use of a bridal suite for the wedding party to get ready, ceremony space with pews, kitchen for catering, fire pit, sound system and a trolley.

In putting together the venue, Scott and Gwen bought many items like a church window and pews at auction. Scott bought the trolley bus from South Bend, Indiana, and uses it as a complementary service to anyone who books an event.

This past spring, he bought 46 appliances in an online government auction from a Baltimore Ravens’ concession kitchen at M&T Bank stadium. Those appliances now take up the garage they converted into a catering kitchen.

“We wanted to make the decision-making easier so they didn’t have to rent 10 different things from 10 different people and outlets,” Scott said.

Diamond Oak hosted its first wedding Sept. 26 and the next one is scheduled for Friday.

“We hit our goal of three events this year, and next year we have a third of the weekends booked already,” Scott said. 

Most of the business has come by word of mouth and through the Facebook page. The couple also hopes to host other events including fundraisers, anniversaries, reunions and birthdays.

The address is 9400 Wheelerwood Drive; phone 641-357-1075.

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