HARCOURT?-There was something new to appreciate this year at the annual Harcourt Appreciation Day.
It could be tasted, smelled and if one wasn't careful, use up a lot of napkins.
It also offered prizes to the winners and some serious bragging rights.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Haileigh Smith, 8, of North Liberty, along with her brother, Kaiden Smith, 3, react to the sudden burst of water from a cold water balloon Saturday afternoon during the children’s games at the annual Harcourt Appreciation Day.
It is the Harcourt Fire Department's barbecue contest.
Sadie Trueblood and Emily Peterson, of Fort Dodge, make up the team Blonde Barbie-Q. There is only have one ingredient to their cooking that they will reveal.
"Love," Trueblood said. "It's made with love."
Beyond that, "If we told you our secrets we'll have to kill you," she added.
They would reveal one tiny thing. "Good meat," Peterson said
The two said they were graduates of a barbecue class. This was their first time in competition though.
Their biggest rivals were a few feet away: Peterson's boyfriend, Tom Richardson, and Trueblood's husband, John Trueblood.
The women had already prepped the men in case they lost.
"They have some Kleenex for their ride home tonight," Trueblood said.
John Trueblood thought otherwise.
"We're going to kick their butts," he said. "We already gave them that back."
In all fairness, the men did get a head start.
"We got here at 3 a.m.," he said. "We set up with headlights."
The ladies? "They strolled in at 8," he said.
Nick Meyer, of Fort Dodge, was using a cooker made from a 55-gallon drum, a welded combustion chamber and a rotating hanging rack with a salvaged lawn mower bearing as a pivot.
The old cooker serves him well.
"As long as it still works I'm going to use it," he said.
His revealable cooking secrets.
"Cook slowly, use good wood and tend the fire," he said.
Meyer uses a mix of apple and hickory to obtain his best flavor. His injections and rubs: classified.
He said you have to enjoy what you're doing, since the contests are usually an expensive outing.
"You can spend two to three hundred on groceries easily," he said.
It's mostly about bragging rights and being with friends and family he said.
Of course, there were plenty of other events for guests to appreciate, including the parade.
Jesse Hansen, 9, of Harcourt, is already a two-year veteran.
He operates one of the smallest floats, an RC car, that was giving him some trouble along the route.
"I can't get the wheels to work," he said.
It also gave Drake Erritt, 11, of Somers, and opportunity to get another driving lesson from his grandfather, John Erritt.
The vehicle of choice, a fully restored 1954 International Harvester Farmall M-TA diesel.
"He drives it by himself," John Erritt said.
Located strategically along the parade route, the annual car show is another popular event.
Robert and Julie Wille, of Clare, got a spot on the corner for their 1964 Corvette.
"We lucked out," he said.
"Our timing was impeccable," she added.
It was their first time at the show.
"We're hoping to find the food," she said.
In addition, the children's games were set up in the park, food was available and the annual bingo game was in full swing and for those inclined to do a bit of shopping, about a dozen garage sales throughout town.