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1. Baler

A baler is a piece of farm machinery used to compress and rake a crop such as hay, silage or straw into compact bales that are easy to handle, transport and store. The most frequently used type of baler is the round baler. The modern round baler was designed in 1972 by the Vermeer Company. To learn more, visit the Vermeer museum.

2. Beans

The beans growing in Iowa are called soybeans, not green beans. The soybean is a species of legume native to East Asia. For over 5,000 years, soybeans have been used in China as a food source. Soybeans are high in protein and used in many processed foods. Most vegetable oil sold is made from soybean oil. In 2008, Marion County farmers raised 3.4 million bushels of soybeans on 76,600 acres.

3. Black Gold

As settlers made their way west, they discovered “black gold” jutting out along river banks. “Black gold” or coal was an important part of Marion County history. At one time, over 500 coal mines operated in Marion County. The last coal mine in Iowa closed in the 1990’s in Marion County. Melcher-Dallas has a museum dedicated to the coal mining heritage of the area.

4. Chimney Swift

A chimney swift isn’t a character from My Fair Lady, but a bird that looks much like a cigar when flying. They have short tails with plumage of sooty grey/brown. Originally, these birds nested in hollow trees, but now, most nest in man-made structures. They are frequently found in North America but migrate to Peru. In Pleasantville, you will find a Chimney Swift Tower dedicated to Iowa’s bird lady, Gladys Black.

5. Crappies

It may not have the best name, but the crappie is a fish in the sunfish family found in the Red Rock area. Crappies like to stay in weed beds and submerged objects during the day. They move to open water or shorelines at dusk and dawn to feed. Crappies are popular with ice fishers since they are active in winter. Roberts Creek is a popular crappie fishing area.

6. Dragoon

The U.S. Dragoons were the first to scout Iowa after the Black Hawk Purchase. In 1835, the Dragoons explored along the Des Moines River and established outposts. In 1933, the state of Iowa opened the Dragoon Trail, which is a scenic and historic driving trail that follows the paths of the U.S. Dragoons on their historic march. Markers for the Dragoon Trail can be found around Lake Red Rock.

7. Dutch Letter

Although you can order Dutch letters from local Pella bakeries for delivery by mail, these are not some type of letter written by a Dutch person. Dutch letters are a flaky pastry with almond paste filling usually shaped into a “S.” Traditionally, the Dutch letters were only made for Christmas, but soon the demand for the pastries made them available year-round at Pella bakeries.

8. Gumbo

This type of gumbo doesn’t include crawfish, but instead is the name for the rich Iowa soil that has made the Knoxville Raceway a special place to race for 50 years. The Knoxville Raceway seats over 24,000 people. The half-mile oval track is banked in the turns. Each Saturday evening from April to September, there is racing excitement cooked up for you on our black gumbo dirt.

9. Horn’s Ferry

During the 1870’s, Elias Horn operated a ferry to haul goods and people across the Des Moines River. In the 1880’s, the first bridge across the river in Marion County was built at Horn’s Ferry. By 1982, the bridge was closed, but remained open for pedestrians. In 1991, a stone pier collapsed and 300 feet of the bridge fell into the river. The remainder of the bridge is an observation area to watch eagles near Howell Station Recreation Area.

10. Klompen

A klompen (clog) is a wooden shoe. The swampy ground of Holland made wooden shoes popular with farmers and gardeners. The wooden shoes are made out of willow, poplar, birch, beech and alder wood. Some of the stores in Pella still sell wooden shoes. Each Tulip Time, dancers line the streets to dance in their wooden shoes.

11. Poffertjes

Poffertjes are a traditional Dutch batter treat originally served in Dutch abbeys and monasteries. They look like tiny pancakes. They received their name from the noise of air escaping from them when done. Typically, poffertjes are served with stroop (molasses), slagroom (whipped cream) or aardbeien (strawberries).

12. Red Rock

Red Rock is a type of sandstone found near the present-day Lake Red Rock. The Red Rock Line was patrolled by the Dragoons from 1842 to 1845 and extended across most of Iowa. And finally, Red Rock was the first permanent river town in Marion County which, today, lies under Lake Red Rock.

13. Sinterklaas

In November, Sinterklaas and his helper Zwarte Piet arrive from Spain via steamer wearing traditional bishop’s robes. Sinterklaas rides into town on a white horse. Sinterklaas travels around the country to determine if the children have been good. During this time, children put their wish list out in their shoes with a carrot, water or hay for the horse. The next morning, children find chocolate coins or initial letter, candy treats and little gifts in their shoes.

14. Volksweg

Volksweg in Dutch is people’s path. Around Pella and Lake Red Rock, the Volksweg Trail is a 13-mile paved trail that travels through prairie, wooded areas and scenic vistas.

15. Wings

We have all kinds of wings…Buffalo wings in our restaurants, majestic birds such as eagles and pelicans with wings, and sprint cars that have wings to keep them aerodynamic for better racing. So, no matter what type of wing you like, the Red Rock area has them all.

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