Alleman City Councilman Perry Smith has a lot of fun creating hands-on pioneer-style interaction for kids at summer festivals.
This past weekend, he brought his pioneer activities to the Maxwell Old Settlers celebration, after being invited by Becky Pointer, of Maxwell.
“I saw him down at Slater last year,” Pointer said, and she wanted to see if he would come to Maxwell’s festival. She said it was clear that kids were enjoying his participation in the event. “Every kid in the park is walking out of here with a rope.”
Rope-making was what Smith was doing with kids when we caught up to him. He would hook pieces of fiber up on his old-time hand-operated rope machine and then kids would crank to twist the fibers into a piece of rope they could take home.
“I do it for fun,” said Smith, a construction worker who has lived in Alleman for 24 years.
For the past 10 years, he’s been going to the Iowa State Fair and setting up at the Pioneer Hall. So he’s headed there next.
“I probably show (the pioneer stuff) about 30 days out of the year,” he said.
He’s been to a few county fairs and Slater’s Fourth of July celebration. Another huge event for him will be the Midwest Old Threshers celebration in southeast Iowa at Mt. Pleasant over an extended Labor Day weekend. He does more than just the pioneer stuff at Old Threshers, which is where his parents and grandparents all live (at Mt. Pleasant), so it’s become a yearly tradition for a long time. He also works security at night there.
As for doing the pioneer-type things, and showing kids the way things used to be done, Smith loves it. “This is all for the kids,” he said.