Everywhere you go across Iowa, communities have a local tradition that makes their town special and draws people back to their hometown. Whether it’s a festival or a parade, traditions run deep and make their residents happy to be part of their community. For over 150 years, the people of Luana have hosted an annual tradition that has brought families back together for a weekend in Clayton County: The Luana Daze Street Dance and Tractor Pull. I like to make it a goal to experience other community’s traditions for myself, so I made a trip to Luana to enjoy their special day.
As my car lulled to a halt in front of the Luana Tavern, I noticed a long line of patrons that trailed out of the tavern and up the sidewalk. Once I saw a sign for Mimosas and Bloody Marys, I hopped in line myself! With a Mimosa in hand and a list of activities to watch, I was ready for the day. Before I crossed the street, a group of runners shot out in front of me and kicked up mud with each step. From the sidelines, families were cheering their runners on, holding banners for the “Tough Scrambler Obstacle Course Race.” The race was non-competitive, and the participants were having a blast running through the two miles of mud and obstacle courses. With giggles and cheers of glee, children were grinning to their ears with grass stains on their knees and patches of mud on their shirts.
The rest of the day was filled with fun events for children and adults, including a softball tournament at the Old School Rec, and a tractor ride around the community. All of the residents young and old were having a blast, and I could tell that they were proud to be part of their town. It was a joy to see so many people there to express their pride for their community, and their never-ending support to local organizations.
The evening had quickly approached, and the local firemen sponsored a feast of ribeye steak sandwiches. When the grill cover was lifted, the aroma of the steaks sizzling on the grill filled the air and made my mouth water. A ribeye was delicately pulled of the grill, and set on top of a bun ready to be held in my hands. I took a bite of the sandwich, and felt the juices start to drip down my chin. The steak was so tender, it practically melted in my mouth, and the slight char on the outside made for the perfect bite.
Luana Daze wouldn’t be possible without the involvement of the community, and their dedication to their event truly showed that day. It was fun, engaging, and I felt welcome even though I had never lived there before. The Luana Daze Street Dance and Tractor Pull this year will take place on the weekend of August 26th and 27th as these Iowa residents celebrate another year of working together as a community.
Written by Jayna Felder | Photo Credit to Luana Community Club