Webster County Conservation celebrates fall

Down by the shores of Badger Lake, Gary Pritchard helped kids cast their fishing lines – out in the grass, away from the water.

The exercise in casting accuracy was one of numerous outdoor activities offered at Sunday’s Fall Park Festival at Kennedy Park.

The annual event aims to let people experience the outdoor events that they don’t usually experience, said Webster County Naturalist Karen Hansen.

“We try to have things on both sides of the lake, so people can see both sides,” she said.

On the south side, there was BB gun and pellet gun shooting, a concession stand, kayak rides and the fishing line casting activity, where the kids had to try to hit various hula hoops with a rubber float on the end of their fishing line.

They weren’t having much luck, but then Pritchard didn’t have much luck either.

“It takes a lot of practice,” he said. “Some people are really good at it.”

Theodoro Quinones helped his daughter Jaida Quinones, 4, get the feel of casting. The family moved to the area from Arizona early this year.

“We’re constantly trying to find outdoor things to do,” said Theodoro’s wife Alisa Quinones. “It’s harder in a small town. We’re used to the big city. But around here they seem to have good stuff.”

The kids had been busy Sunday, hitting the Recovery and Wellness Festival in Oleson Park before heading out to Kennedy.

The lake was filled with kayaks and canoes, some of them carrying first-time paddlers.

“We’ve had a lot more than I thought there would be,” said Doug Breyfogle of the higher turnout, as he helped boats into and out of the water. “It’s just a beautiful day.”

Dragon boats carried people back and forth across the water. On the north side of the lake, there were dog training demonstrations, atlatl throwing and tomahawk throwing.

Hitting the target with a tomahawk can be tricky.

“It’s all in the motion. You have to keep concentrating on the target,” said Jiggs Baker, who was supervising. “It’s like golf. The minute you look down it’s going to go all over the place.”

Annabell Wolff, 7, of Fort Dodge, said she liked throwing the hatchet even though she couldn’t make it stick in the big stump she was aiming at.

“It was really good, I’m just not a good thrower,” she said, adding that she also liked the kayaking.

TJ Williams, 13, of Fort Dodge, did get the tomahawk to stick.

“Am I the first one to get it?” he said.

“You’re the sixth one today, but there have been a lot of people here,” Baker said.

Williams threw it again.

“Am I the first one to get two?” he asked.

“Yep,” Baker said.