Event organizer

The organizer welcomes the participation in Haze Daze | Oelwein daily register

After a two-year hiatus related to the pandemic, Hazleton returned to the haze and trade club president Amy Ekstrand was “hugely impressed” with the turnout.

“Our parade turnout is the best in three years,” Ekstrand said Saturday, noting that it topped that of 2019.

The first “can jam” tournament with a cash prize on Friday night saw eight teams of two participate. In it, teams attempt to land a frisbee in a small barrel. The partner is allowed to help the frisbee into the goal.

Out of eight teams, first-place winners Shawn and Renae Streittmatter were generous with their earnings.

“They won $80 and they returned their winnings to the Hazleton Commercial Club,” Ekstrand said.

For the band, Third Offense, which played on Friday, more than 100 people were in attendance — “double the normal crowd,” Ekstrand said.

Rain only threatened daytime activities on Saturday. From the 10 a.m. parade to the 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. skirmish-style skit by Civil War re-enactors from the Army Southwest’s 3rd Iowa Light Artillery, alongside a day of games for children in City Park, only scattered drops were felt.

Margaret Maddigan, who has operated Margaret’s Crafts in Oelwein for around 15 years – after a few years of retirement – said she has been attending the Hazleton Celebration for around three decades. What started as a chart table and chairs turned into a large tent. She’s attended “a few Oelwein celebrations” and now travels a festival circuit from Marquette to Spillville to Independence.

T&T Barbecue, another Oelwein business, was also operating at Hazleton City Park on Saturday. Pizza Ranch Oelwein was in the parade and had some offerings in the shelter house. Buchanan County vendors were also on hand.

A total of 23 vendors participated, Ekstrand said after press time on Sunday.

All of this bodes well for the community, which benefits from the funds raised during the town festival.

All proceeds from Commercial Club events are plowed back into the community, at events throughout the year – a Halloween bag giveaway and Christmas kids shopping event in addition to Haze Daze – and in scholarships for high school students. The scholarship rules are changing, so watch the Hazleton Commercial Club’s Facebook or check with the school counselor for updates, Ekstrand said. Proceeds were also used to beautify the community, including welcome-to-town banners, tables and chairs for the American Legion Hall, and lighted snowflakes lining the highway. 150 at Christmas.

Volunteers are needed to continue these traditions and improve the quality of life in Hazleton. For more details or assistance, call Ekstrand at 319-240-4704.