In 1985 Clair Zimmerman and his wife, Virginia, opened a small general store in Cantril, Iowa, a town that serves the surrounding Amish community. They expanded…and expanded…and expanded. Today Dutchman’s Store occupies an entire block on Cantril’s main street, and it’s as much a tourist attraction as it is a grocery store…or a fabric shop…or a gift shop. Read more
Seventy-six trombones led the big parade
With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand …
Twirling a baton and marching to “Seventy-Six Trombones” in a parade when I was eight years old, I was unaware the song was from the movie The Music Man, an Academy Award winner in 1962 and prior to that, a Broadway hit. The catchy tune has stuck in my head for fifty years, but it was only this year, when visiting Mason City, Iowa, that I learned the classic musical’s fictitious River City was modeled after composer and songwriter Meredith Willson’s hometown of Mason City, Iowa, and inspired by the city’s annual North Iowa Band Festival. Mason City pays tribute to likely the city’s most famous resident with The Music Man Square, which includes a museum with a reproduction of The Music Man movie set and his boyhood home.