Donning a bright red 1850s day dress, Carla Webster fit right in as she took in the festivities of Mantorville’s Stagecoach Days this past weekend.
Webster, who was one of several committee members that planned the weekend of fun activities for all ages, got a chance herself to relax and enjoy music by the Root River Jam Saturday afternoon.
“We have been working on this idea of bringing back the past,” Webster said. “Stagecoach Days features some of the artifacts and traditions of yesteryear. We want to bring out all of our antiques and possessions that historic Mantorville has to offer.”
One of the big attractions during Stagecoach Days was the Draft Horse Pull on Saturday. Another popular event was a Vintage baseball game on Sunday afternoon.
Visitors also enjoyed Model T trucks, Rideability horse rides, stationary gas engines, mini horses, food vendors, a style show and a variety of children’s activities throughout the weekend.
Webster said the committee tried to get a lot more going this year by utilizing the park next to the dam. Guests were able to take in roping, archery, tomahawk throwing and many other activities.
“We just hope we can attract more and more people each year to enjoy all the activities,” Webster said.
The event changed names a few years ago going from Old Tyme Days to Stagecoach Days. Despite the change, it doesn’t seem to have lost its luster for old-time roots. It is based on the historical parts from the 1860s to 1900s.
The popularity of Stagecoach Days has grown in recent years, according to Brian Hindal, chairperson of the event. He said the event experienced a “significant increase” in attendance over last year, though he didn’t have any specific numbers to share.
“We think we had wonderful attendance despite the heat and rain,” Hindal said. He noted about 200 people attended the Vintage baseball game.
The dates for Stagecoach Days have moved around a little bit over the years, but Hindal says he believes the committee has settled on the weekend before the Fourth of July for future events. It is a fundraiser for the Mantorville Restoration Association.
Hindal likes what Stagecoach Days has to offer area residents. “The importance is pointing to the historical value,” he said. “Giving the idea of what things were like before iPhones and all the electronics.”
He found it interesting how many people marveled at a one-cylinder tractor that operated during the celebration. “It was something tangible that the kids could see instead of a couple blips on the cell screen,” Hindal said.
The committee will meet later this month to evaluate how this year’s event went and to begin making plans for next year. “We’d like to bring in more events to spark more interest,” Hindal said.
Added Webster, “We have tried to reinvent it to be family friendly and offer old-fashioned things to do.”