Oskaloosa At 100 years, the Old Settler's Reunion refuses to grow old.
Just ask Whitney Artman, 10, and Kylie Shufflebarger, 9, who won the three-legged race in the fourth- and fifth-grade category.
"When you come, you've got to have fun," Shufflebarger said of the weekend event.
And the key to winning the three-legged race?
"We were fast, and we did teamwork," Artman said.
John Norman, Oskaloosa, helped organize the children's games Saturday morning, along with his daughters Julie, 15, and Sarah, 19. In addition to the three-legged race, there was a water-balloon toss, sack race and tug-of-war. Winners received cash prizes, savings bonds and ribbons.
"We're trying to keep it going for kids today," John Norman said. "We're just making memories."
Norman remembers participating in the games as a child; a highlight was when his dog won the pet parade. That's what makes the Old Settler's Reunion "part of growing up in Oskaloosa," he said.
The reunion, started in honor of the first people who settled the area, now includes carnival rides, a parade, a street dance and craft vendors.
This year included a few new events, such as a checkers tournament, storytellers and a beard-growing contest. Participants in that contest had their facial hair measured in March. The person with the longest facial hair as of this weekend will win $100, said Cathy Dailey, a co-chair of the reunion.
Dailey said the three-day event gave older residents a chance to reminisce and children a chance to create their own memories.
"It's a common desire to gather together, to sit around and reminisce and see classmates and old neighbors," she said. "It's a three-day memory trip."
Alma Tosh, 76, was chosen as the grand marshall of this year's parade. Tosh worked at the Thriftway Supermarket in Oskaloosa for 39 years until her retirement last year. Earlier this year, she was inducted into the Oskaloosa Hall of Fame.
On Saturday morning, Tosh helped with the United Methodist Women's bake sale.
"I'm just surprised I'm just an ordinary person," she said. "They say nobody works the same job in a town this size for 39 years, but it was just close and my children could get me if they needed me."
Teresa Hattemer supervised the checkers tournament, which spanned three days. She said that although this was the first year of the tournament, there was some stiff competition.
Hattemer has attended every Settler's Reunion since moving to Oskaloosa in 1982.
"It just gives people a chance to get out and mingle," she said, "and possibly see people they haven't seen in a long time."
Staff writer Matt Merkel-Hess can be reached at 832-7187.