News

Keota 'the greatest small town in Iowa'

Residents show community pride during Keota Fun Days

GTNS photo by Grace King

Adelyn Carr, 5, rides a horse during Keota Fun Days on Friday, June 14.
GTNS photo by Grace King Adelyn Carr, 5, rides a horse during Keota Fun Days on Friday, June 14.
/

KEOTA — Toni Greiner took orders for hamburgers, hot dogs, rib-eyes and homemade pie outside Schmitty’s Restaurant in Keota. In the background could be heard the clanking of horseshoes and the chatter of excited children.

The born-and-raised Keota resident also fondly remembers attending Keota Fun Days as a child. On Friday, June 14, she enjoyed seeing the weekend event through the eyes of the youth of the community from kids activities to the parade.

“There’s not much else to do in a little town, and this is just tradition,” Greiner said.

During Keota Fun Days, residents competed in horseshoe tournaments, children enjoyed leisurely horse rides, rode their bicycles and four wheelers in the kids’ parade and watched wrestling.

Trent Leedom, of Cedar Rapids, has competed in Keota Fun Days horseshoe tournament for the past three years. On Friday, June 14, Leedom threw horseshoes with his grandfather, who taught him the sport.

Over the years, Leedom said he has come to know some of the residents in Keota.

“It’s laid-back. You can tell everyone is having fun,” Leedom said. “You hear a lot of first names. Everyone knows everyone.

Gary Carl, of Keota, has lived in the community for 36 years. He said all the residents are like family, and Keota Fun Days is their family reunion.

“It’s a big party. Everyone gets together and forgets their woes. It’s a good time,” Carl said.

Carl believes Keota is the “greatest small town in Iowa.”

“You can bet on it,” he said.

Taylor Wolkenhauer said Keota is so great that it deserves a star on the map.

“Everyone needs to visit,” Wolkenhauer said, who grew up in Agency. “The smaller the town, the more everyone has each other’s backs.”

Shaina Gearhart, of Keota, said Keota Fun Days is a good way to kick off summer. It draws together friends and family she only sees a few times a year back to the community for the yearly tradition.

Gearhart said it’s nice to get the family together and see old friends and reminisce about the times they had at Keota Fun Days as kids.

Molly Beinhart, organizer of the Keota kids’ parade, recalls dancing out in the street during Keota Fun Days when she was a child. Afterward, there was an ice cream social.

“It’s socializing and working together as a community to make it all happen,” Beinhart said.

Ade Beinhart, 7, drove a kids’ four wheeler in the kid’s parade on Friday. She said she likes riding in the parade because she gets to see people she doesn’t usually get to see.

What Beinhart was most looking forward to, however, was picking up candy after the parade on Saturday.