Rolfe gears up for 150th, alumni reunion

ROLFE – This year, the community of Rolfe’s annual celebration, Greater Rolfe Days, will be a homecoming for many who grew up in the Pocahontas County town.

Festival organizers say the weekend long celebration is expected to be bigger and better than ever as the community celebrates its sesquicentennial and welcomes home hundreds of Rolfe High School alumni for the all-school alumni reunion.

“We are expecting that this year will be a bigger celebration because of the 150th anniversary and the alumni reunion,” said Lauri Smith, who helps organize the parade.

Events will kick-off on Friday afternoon with the Rolfe Public Library open to view town history books, school year books and newspaper archives. At 5 p.m., registration for water fights will begin at the Rolfe Fire Station with water fights to follow around 5:30 p.m. A community scavenger hunt will also kick-off at 5 p.m. at the fire station and last through the weekend with clues and items to be found throughout the town. A community supper will begin at 6 p.m. and a street dance will be held from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Saturday events include a 5K run/walk beginning at 8 a.m. in Sunset Ridge Park. At 10 a.m., a kids parade will take place before the main parade through downtown at 10:30 a.m.

Registration for parade entries are currently being accepted by contacting Smith at (712) 848-3833 or

“We will also take parade entries the day of,” said Smith.

A classic car, tractor and motorcycle show will begin around 11 a.m. on Des Moines Avenue and kids games will begin at 11:30 a.m. near the Rolfe Pool.

A new Saturday afternoon event, Cork Meets Pork, featuring wine tasting and bacon sampling, will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in the new downtown Heritage Park.

“This is the first year we have tried this,” said Beth Pearson, who helped organize the wine and bacon festival. “With a bigger celebration we wanted to try something new that would be fun and wine and bacon are both so popular now.”

The event will feature Iowa wines from the Stone Cliff Winery of Dubuque, Inspirations Winery of Linn Grove, River Valley Winery of Humboldt, and the Plum Creek and Train Wreck wineries, both from Algona. Wine tasters will receive a commemorative red stemmed wine glass with the $10 admission fee to the wine festival.

“The glass will be a special souvenir,” said Pearson. “We chose the red stems on the glasses because red was one of the Rolfe school colors.”

Cheese provided by Duitscher Dairy, crackers and chocolate will also be available with the wines.

The bacon festival will offer bacon samples from two local meat lockers and Affiliated Foods, along with treats such as bacon chocolate chip cookies and caramel frosted bacon topped doughnuts.

The $10 admission to the bacon event will provide $3 in coupons to purchase bacon and meats from the vendors.

A bacon queen will also be on hand to welcome guests to the event.

Live entertainment will also take place throughout the event.

“It will be a fun afternoon,” said Pearson.

The seventh annual Rolfe Rodeo will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday featuring mutton busting, bulls, barrels, steer riding, a wild horse race and ranch riding.

“We are hoping the reunion and the sesquicentennial will be a big draw for the rodeo,” said Sonia Orwig, rodeo organizer. “It’s becoming a big thing and we are hoping with more people home that we’ll draw a bigger crowd. We are a small town but we have great supporters in this community.”

Saturday evening’s alumni reunion, which will kick off at 4 p.m. in the Rolfe Community Center, is expected to draw hundreds of graduates from Rolfe High School, Jann Ricklefs, a member of the alumni board, said.

“We have over 400 people coming,” said Ricklefs. “We’re expecting to see graduates from years ago up through the last graduating class from 1990.”

The reunion will include a social hour, catered meal and dance.

“This year we are focusing on getting reacquainted and reminiscing,” said Ricklefs. “We have people coming from Maine to California.”