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Watermelon for all

Annual Stanhope celebration held Saturday

July 18, 2011
Billie Shelton - Correspondent , The Daily Freeman Journal

STANHOPE - Watermelon Day 2011 in Stanhope will long be remembered for its extreme heat and humidity, yet it was also a day filled with what comes from a small-town day in the park: eating a Lion burger, sitting under a shade tree watching free entertainment, winning a prize at the duck pond, watching a ball game on the park diamond, grabbing a hug and a visit with a high school classmate, viewing the parade from your lawn chair, and the camaraderie that comes from scores of volunteers pitching in to make the day successful.

Of course, the five tons of ice-cold watermelon that was served was the traditional high point of the day, especially in the heat of Iowa in July.

Watermelon Day this year will also be especially remembered because of the open house held all day at the brand new Stanhope community center and library. The building houses the city office, public library, and meeting space that are accessible to all. A grand opening at the facility is planned for next month.

Article Photos

Kids of all ages couldn’t get enough of the free watermelon offered during Watermelon Day 2011 in Stanhope on Saturday.

Alumni Banquet

Watermelon Day was kicked off on Friday evening at the Stanhope Alumni Banquet, held annually for all graduates of the Stanhope High School. It was fitting that the banquet was the first event held in the town's new community center, where local alumni were joined by their former classmates who traveled from all over Iowa as well as numerous states to attend.

The 50-year class was honored, with 16 of the 22 members of the class of 1961 attending Friday's banquet. There were 226 reservations made for this year's banquet. The first class to graduate, with two members, was in 1906. The last class to graduate from Stanhope was in 1962 before the consolidation of four schools to form South Hamilton Community School. There are now 375 graduates of Stanhope High School.

There was one member of the class of 1931 at Friday's banquet. Wendell Carlson, 97, of Boone, reminisced briefly about his early education when he rode in a horse-drawn school bus. As a young student in 1921, Carlson related, he was in an all-school picture taken in front of the school. There were 208 students in that photo, he said.

Contact Billie Shelton at or call 832-4350.



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