Natl Anthem Kalona Day 2018

Kalona Days and the annual City Celebration will be combined into one event this year.

The city of Kalona and the Kalona Area Chamber of Commerce will partner to bring the two events together as part of Kalona Days on June 15.

“The Chamber is very excited about a potential partnership between the two organizations,” chamber Director Ben Curtis said at the March 6 City Council meeting. “It’s a win-win for both of us. I know if we can enhance Kalona Days, we’ll get some better attendance overall.”

Kalona Days, organized by the chamber, and City Celebration, organized by the city, have seen dwindling participation in recent years.

“We’ve seen a decline in participation outside of the public appreciation awards to where we really have to look at if that is an event we want to continue at the level we have,” City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said regarding City Celebration.

Schlabaugh said it would be crucial to keep the public recognition awards that have been a part of City Celebration.

“If we do anything, I would recommend that we continue hosting that in some fashion if we do combine events,” he said.

Council members said they supported the idea.

“I think it makes a lot of sense to combine the two,” council member Joe Schmidt said.

Council member Mark Robe added, “Our downtown celebration, I think we just ran it out.”

There have been past discussions about combining the events.

“I haven’t always been supportive of that because, in all honesty, I felt it would just get turned back over to the city,” Schlabaugh said. “I don’t have that fear right now. I think they have a structure in place that would allow them to do what they are going to do, and what we could enhance Kalona Days on if we want to look at that partnership.”

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James Jennings, News Editor at The News, can be reached at

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