My family and I spent Labor day at the Turning Hearts Celebration at the Bontrager's farm near Kalona, Iowa. I had never attended this event before, but a few friends and family members went last year. A couple of them must have really enjoyed it, because they
twisted my arm pleasantly encouraged me to go this year. (Ahem, the guilty parties know who they are.)
After Mr. Bontrager greeted everyone, the first speaker was Pastor Rafael Cruz, Presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz' father. In two sessions, he preached a sermon, and then told his life story. He was a revolutionary against Bastita's regime as a teenager, and ended up incarcerated and tortured. He survived and moved to Texas on a student visa in 1957, and eventually got saved. Pastor Cruz believes his son would make a good president. The Bontragers are Cruz supporters too; one of their sons even wrote a song supporting Ted Cruz.
Other speakers were the pastor of the Bontragers' church, and Richard and Betty Odgaard, a couple who owned Görtz Haus in Grimes, Iowa--an art gallery, bistro, and wedding venue. The Odgaards refused to provide wedding services to a homosexual couple. The couple filed a complaint; the Odgaards agreed to a $5000 settlement, and then closed their venue to avoid more lawsuits.
Between speakers, some of the young people (above) did some jamming. Their music was beautiful! Others went on hay rides. There was a football game, and the Bontragers had an ice cream stand. I enjoyed some delicious mint chip ice cream. There were also Lilla Rose hair accessories for sale, candles from another company, and flyers for Ted Cruz and a parental rights group. A couple people went around with petitions for folks to sign because their city councils were considering getting rid of crosses in public places in their towns.
Tim Harder, 2015 Iowa Reserve Chess Co-Champion, was there, so I played many blitz and lightning games against him, and a few bughouse games with him and others...and thoroughly enjoyed most of the games.
For supper there were cheesy potatoes, green beans, and pork burgers. After listening to speakers and hearing the Bontrager family sing (a photo from their sibling cooperation act is below), a little after 9:00 pm, it was volleyball time!
We played speed volleyball till around 1 A.M. or so. By then there were only a few people left on the court. I was quite tired, and we decided to call it quits. So we headed over to the Dutch Country Inn, which the Bontragers own in Kalona, Iowa.
We enjoyed a brief, but pleasant, repose, followed by a continental breakfast. Then we left for home. I'm glad I went to the Turning Hearts Festival. Although I was hesitant to attend this religious event, it's hard to beat good music, chess, and volleyball all in one day.
Thanks to the Bontrager Family for their hospitality!