Springtime park fun

Spring rains couldn’t stop the annual Spring Park Festival Sunday afternoon at Kennedy Park.

Though the sunny skies turned to rain by 3 p.m., Webster County Naturalist Karen Hansen estimated that about 60 people came to enjoy the activities, including flintknapping, archery and atlatl throwing.

“The idea is to get people outside,” Hansen said.

She said the festival has been held for the last few years. Syrup made from maple trees around the park was served in the evening on top of ice cream, along with chili.

Pat Hashman of Story City taught kids and adults how to make arrowheads out of a piece of rock.

Hashman showed how to hold the rock against your leg, using a cloth for protection, and push right at the edge of the arrowhead to make it flake off properly.

Hashman said he’s been knapping for about six years now as a hobby.

“It’s a nice thing to do after work, to get rid of some stress,” he said.

Bob O’Conner and his son, 8-year-old Kevin O’Conner, both tried flintknapping. Bob O’Conner said they’d never done this before.

“I’ve whacked on a rock before, but I’ve never made anything,” he said. “I’ve never seen how it’s done.”

Boy Scout leader Jim Kramer held a rope-making demonstration behind the Bob Huen Shelter House. Once the rope was twisted together and completed, Kramer showed the kids how to tie a “honda” knot and make a lasso.

“Honda means lasso in Spanish,” he said.

Assistant scout leader Doug Brefogle taught Dutch oven cooking.

Kramer is Scout Master of Troop 8, and said a number of his scouts had agreed to come out to the festival.

Out in the field, conservation director Matt Cosgrove helped kids work on their form with a bow and arrow. Hansen taught how to throw an atlatl, an ancient spear thrown with the help of a short throwing stick.

Isaac Landwehr, age 9, hit the nearer bullseye with the atlatl dart and then began patiently working on hitting the farther one.

“It’s really fun,” said Landwehr, who has thrown atlatl once before in Minnesota.

“He came out here probably three years ago and shot a bow,” said Isaac’s father Mike Landwehr, “and then he wanted a bow for Christmas.”

The family doesn’t get out to the park as often as they’d like, Mike Landwehr said, but they enjoy it.

“It’s nice. So many people live in town and don’t get a chance to do this otherwise,” he said.

Blake Davis, 12, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 8. He and his sister Hailey, 10, said they were hoping to go on a nature hike in spite of the weather.

Asked about their favorite part, both said the bow and arrows was the best.

“I got better at it,” Hailey Davis said. “I was at Brushy Creek camping and I couldn’t shoot it, but here I shot it four or five times, so I like it.”

The flintknapping, she said, had been a bit more difficult.

“I almost hammered my own finger,” she added.