Column: Union Day was a huge success


It didn’t take long after moving to Union in August to hear about the annual Union Day festival. People spoke of it as part tradition and part celebration and part obligation – in a good way. It quickly became clear, like Sunday morning services, Union Day was not an event one should miss.

In that spirit, I headed out from my house shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday, dropped off a payment at the electric association and headed toward town. When I arrived, I quickly understood what all the fuss was about.

Part of being in the newspaper business is meeting people, a lot of people, all at once. Yet, after the first few months on a new job, new people come less frequently, and the circle of acquaintances expands more slowly. At Union Day, however, it seemed like everyone in town was there.

Now, having grown up attending the Iowa State Fair and living in a town with 4 million annual visitors – tourists – I’m no stranger to crowds. But I’ll admit I was a little intimidated by the sure number of people wandering up and down Church and Main streets. I’m short and getting trampled by the crowds isn’t completely outside the realm of possibility.

Nevertheless, I carefully made my way though the throngs of people, visited stands, took pictures and chatted with a few people. In short, I had a very good time.

From the acts on the mini-park stage to the car show in the park, Union Day, from what I could tell, was well organized, efficiently executed and just a lot of fun. Sure, it was hot, but nothing a glass of lemonade from the Lions Club couldn’t cure. A brief jolt of hunger was quickly squelched by a sausage biscuit courtesy of the Union High School FFA. From one end of town to the other, Union Day met and surpassed my expectations of fun, food and socializing.

A general guideline in media is that it takes a year or so to meet all the people, see all the events and learn enough about a community to really understand the area. And, although I heard about Union Day in August, I finally understand why it is spoken of with reverence and excitement.

I’m already looking forward to next year.

Thomas is the managing editor of the Newton County Appeal. He can be reached at