• Posted May 21, 2013

Food, music, cycling games, art show, fashion show, parade, Al Brody, Dave Zollo & more

Entertainment and activities are scheduled all day long for the second annual Iowa Bicycle Festival to be held this Saturday May 25 in Jefferson, where the theme will again be “celebrating the bicycle and those who ride it.”

It all begins with an 8 a.m. ride on the Raccoon River Valley Trail. The Greene County Historical Museum opens at 9 a.m. with special displays on bicycling in the county. Vendors open and events begin on the courthouse square at 10 a.m. and continued until 6 p.m. Everyone is invited to ride bicycles – even decorate them – in the 11 a.m. parade, which will start at Russell Park and go to the square. An exceptionally good bicycle-themed art show, which has drawn entries from artists across the nation, will be open and free to the public all day long at All Ability Cycles.

There are bicycling games and challenges for all ages, beginning at 12 noon, and a show of classic bikes from 12 to 6 p.m. on the southeast corner of the square. The big, colorful RAGBRAI team buses, after being in the parade, will be open for tours on the north side of the square.


The festival’s special guest speaker will be Al Brody, 54 of Colorado Springs, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel who has become a leading national spokesman for lifelong cycling activities of all kinds. He’ll speak at 10 a.m., and again at 2 p.m.

Brody, in a phone chat from Colorado, said he is “one of those rare persons who started riding as a really young kid and I just never stopped. I rode all over the Bronx and New York City when I was growing up. As an adult I’ve ridden all over the world – and this will be my 18th consecutive RAGBRAI coming up. But maybe what’s more unusual about me as a cyclist is that while I have 22 bikes that I’m riding right now, I do not own a regular road bike or hybrid. Mine are all a little different – several recumbents, I’ve got an adult-sized Big Wheel, two unicycles and now I’m really into what are called ‘fat bikes’ with the big wide tires.”

From 12 noon to 4 p.m., acclaimed graffiti artist Taylor Smith, 21, of Spencer, will be leading the total repainting of the former school bus used on RAGBRAI by Team Curbside, which is based in Panora. The bus is currently a faded yellow and blue. “I have a few sketches ready to go, with color schemes that match their jerseys, and with different letter structures that I can’t wait to try out,” said Smith. At last year’s festival, he and members of the public did the bus of Team Purple Jam.

Smith is now completing his training at the Creative Center Art College in Omaha, and hopes to land a job in that city as a graphic designer. While in school, he has done “a lot of music posters, shirts and album designs,” he said. “I do a lot of designs for local bands in Omaha and Des Moines. I am recognized in those cities for the work that I do, and hope to keep that going.”

Musicians performing at the festival including a duet of veteran Iowa newspapermen Rick Morain of Jefferson on piano, and Jim Magdefrau of Belle Plaine, on guitar; veteran radio farm broadcaster Von Ketelsen, of Carroll, on guitar and vocals, and the 13-member “Tropical Steel” drum band from Des Moines in a two hour show on the shady north side of the courthouse. Their show will be preceded at 1 p.m. by band leader Stan Dahl, a music professor at Central College, showing people “how to make music with bicycle parts.”

How did central Iowa wind up having a fine steel drum band playing Caribbean, calypso, rock, reggae and cha-cha music?

“Well, I come from the ‘Isle of Jewell,’ as I sometimes call my hometown in central Iowa,” Dahl said. “I went to Iowa State University in music education, and while I was there I took part in a steel drum band workshop and liked it. Then when I went on to do my master’s work at Arizona State University, they had their own steel drum band, the ‘Pan Devils,’ which sort of fit with our sports teams’ nickname of Sun Devils. I had a great time doing that, so when I moved back to Iowa in 1997, I started up ‘Tropical Steel’ and we’ve been playing ever since.”

In ’99, he started the “Flying Pans Steel Drum Band” at Central College, and Dahl also plays in a drum-based “Caribbean funk band,” the “Jumbies.”

Don and Jean Van Gilder, of Jefferson, will lead a bicycling tour of the tour at 1 p.m., departing from the statue of Abraham Lincoln. And a “fashion show” of bicycling styles – both historical and the latest in apparel – will be at 1:30 p.m. and repeated at 3 p.m. The Kiwanis Club will be grilling a meal beginning at 4 p.m.

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You can access the complete line-up of festival events on the Internet site

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