Saturday, December 12, 2020

Chariton's ambassador at large

I wish that I could share this morning the hour-long presentation several of us watched last night as the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs' annual "Celebrate Iowa" gala aired online. It was, however, a tickets-only event and you had to have one to participate.

The department is an administrative umbrella for the State Historical Society of Iowa, the Iowa Arts Council and Produce Iowa (the state office of media production). This is an annual fund-raiser for a perpetually underfunded department and in normal years is semi-formal (with black-tie aspirations) and held in person in Des Moines. This year, due to COVID-19, it went virtual.

At the heart of the celebration was an hour-long production highlighting Iowa cultural and historical treasures --- including Chariton's Piper's grocery and candy store, in business at the same location on the northeast corner of the square since December of 1908. 

The store's current proprietor, Jill Kerns (left), was magnificent as she stepped into the role she frequently fills as one of Chariton's  most effective ambassadors.

There were lots of other highlights, ranging from well-known treasures like Simon Estes to a considerably younger musical duo, the Brazilian 2wins, at the American Gothic House in Eldon.

It doesn't seem quite fair to tease like this, when you can't watch. But the hour-long production used a private "YouTube" platform and I'm hoping it will be made public one of these days so everyone can watch. If and when that happens, I'll let you know. In the meantime, you're just going to have to take my word.


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