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Holiday celebration commemorates 75 years of volunteer firefighting
Fire Truck

By Tammy Kilby

For the Times

WIOTA — The Wiota Fire Department celebrated 75 years of volunteer firefighting over the Independence Day weekend, as they entertained the Wiota community at their annual July 4th celebration, now in its 54th year. 

The event was held at Wiota Park July 4-7. Home Talent baseball games, softball, volleyball, a dunk tank and several large inflatables entertained every age group as families gathered together to enjoy the activities. 

The Wiota John Deer Collector’s Club sponsored the Kids’ Pedal Pull on Saturday morning, July 6. There were 21 pedal pullers in four age divisions. Each participant received a toy tractor to add to their collection.

Several musical talents showcased their vocal skills Friday through Sunday. The musicians included Jordyn Delzer and Jesse Bauman, along with Aaron Pustina, and Wayne Stern, known as the Driftless Ramblers; on Friday night. The Sunshine Band, who’ve been entertaining audiences for the past 50 years, entertained the audience on Saturday afternoon; followed by CC Music, featuring the talents of Brody Cooper and Kylie Crist, who kept the audience entertained through the evening. Meatplow rocked the stage in 1990s fashion on Saturday night in Wiota’s beer tent. The jam session featured impressive colored lights optics and puffs of smoke, as their presence and vocals carried throughout Wiota Park. A DJ entertained on Sunday afternoon.

Community Church services were held in the shelter house on Sunday morning at 9:30. ‘Worship In the Park’ was provided by the Wiota Lutheran Church. Services were led by retired minister Pastor Tina. Connie Bocklund served as Lector. Organist was Diane Updike. 

The Wiota July 4th Parade kicked off at noon on Sunday, July 7. The parade route started at the corner of County D and Walnut Road, and made its way through the heart of Wiota. Those in the parade lineup were waving at the gathered crowd, while tossing parade candy (and a lemon) . The car show that started at 9 am at the Wiota Park, went on for most of the day, as vehicles remained parked after the parade. 

The Wiota John Deer Collector’s Club tractor show was also held immediately following the parade. Tractors from the area were arranged just behind the Wiota Lutheran Church. John Deere tractors were joined by Oliver tractors, as well as a couple of Ford tractors. Guests to the show looked around to admire the antiques, newer models, and those much loved family heirloom tractors. Collectors of all ages were on hand and showcased their implements throughout the early afternoon. 

The local talent show entertained in the late afternoon on Sunday. Several vocal talents were onstage to showcase their skills. 

The 75th Wiota Fire Department’s Recognition event took place on Sunday evening at 8:30 pm. Steve Brennum made the announcements in front of the 1932 Vintage rebuilt Willy Fire truck, adorned with a commemorative wreath and July 4th adornments.

Guests to the Wiota Park enjoyed a menu full of treats throughout the weekend. Wiota’s famous BBQ sandwich, brats, burgers, pizza, ham and cheese sandwiches, nachos, chili dogs and popcorn kept those in attendance fed. Cooling off with frozen treats such as soft serve malts, Mr. freeze, and red, white and blue frozen pops helped keep the heat at bay. 

Fresh cheese curds were made available as a fundraiser for Black Hawk High School sophomore, Samantha Prescher. Prescher continues to raise funds as she will be studying abroad as a foreign exchange student in Japan this fall. Her parents, Edward Prescher and Brooke Peterson, along with other family members, were assisting her with efforts to raise the necessary funds herself. There are other events that Prescher and her team of supporters will be located throughout the summer. To find out more, contact Brooke Peterson at 608-558-3957.

The 75th Celebration fireworks display closed out the weekend events in Wiota, with increased funds that were invested into the show. Hardly a break in the blasts and booms from previous years, the 2024 fireworks display, provided by the Light the Night Displays company, showcased more in the 45-minute timeframe than in years prior. Multiple rockets cannoned out of the chambers to a DJ-style musical performance that proudly displayed patriotism, and helped showcase Wiota Fire Department’s 75 years of volunteer services to their community. 

Wiota Fire Chief Jeremiah Johnson; Assistant Chief Robert Cooper, Junior; Steve Tuescher, Treasurer; and Dave Gabel, Secretary; along with the rest of the firefighters of the Wiota Fire Department serve their community. Funds are being raised for next year’s July 4th Celebration. Contributions can be donated to any member of the Wiota Fire Department.