Better late than never: Conrad to host scaled down Black Dirt Day

The truck and tractor pull will return to Black Dirt Day on Saturday in Conrad beginning at 5:00 p.m. (Grundy Register file photo from 2018 event)
Robert Maharry
The Grundy Register

CONRAD- In Grundy County, one of the most notable changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been the loss of summer festivals, which have been longtime staples in small communities for decades and even centuries. Some towns, including Conrad, are now planning to host scaled down versions of their events, as “Black Dirt Days,” originally scheduled for June, will become “Black Dirt Day” this Saturday.


“A lot of people in the community were showing interest, even if it was scaled down, to have something, and the people that organized the truck pull fundraiser knew that they wanted to have a truck pull—not no matter what—but even if Black Dirt Days got cancelled like it did, they knew they wanted to have one later in the year,” BDD Committee Member Lindsay Kuhl said. “Once they scheduled that, people just kind of came together.”


The festivities on Saturday will undoubtedly be lesser in number than a normal year, but attendees can still expect a car show, a beer garden outside of RJ’s Lounge, a deadlift competition for the second year in a row and the aforementioned truck pull in the downtown area. The Marshall County Hangmen, a band that features Conrad resident and Grundy County Recorder Travis Case on drums, is slated to perform.


Hometown Foods will be grilling outside, and both Smokin’ G’s of Marshalltown and Big’s BBQ of Mount Vernon are planning to set up food trucks. Kuhl thanked community members and businesses for stepping up to make something happen even on a shorter schedule than normal.


“One person took care of the truck pull stuff. One person organized the car show and food, and another person did this. Each one just kind of delegated themselves a task, and it really just came together pretty easy,” Kuhl said.


With the outdoor events, the organizers will encourage social distancing, and masks will not be required.


“If people are questionable, of course we want to encourage them to either listen from a distance or just stay home if they feel uncomfortable,” Kuhl said.


As other towns in the county including Wellsburg and Dike are planning similar smaller scale events, it seems that even as the pandemic has shut down most large public gatherings, residents of these communities would still like to do something to celebrate the places they live.


“The response was really great. Most people were really excited just to have something to look forward to,” Kuhl said.


A full schedule of events is available on the Black Dirt Days Facebook page.


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