There are lots of conventions out there in the world today. You have everything from Star Wars and Star Trek conventions to comic book conventions, video game conventions and even a mermaid convention (true story). However, the great people of Britt, North Iowa have taken the idea of a convention a little further than most would anticipate with the National Hobo Convention.
The National Hobo Convention started yesterday and when it all wraps up on Sunday there will have been medicine shows, authentic hobo music and entertainment, the crowning of a hobo king and queen, lots of stories and, quite possibly the very first marriage of a hobo and a “townie”, or local townsfolk, as hobo Bill “Wingnut” Rose and former Britt resident Lorienza “Sunflower” Zaht say their “I dos” in traditional fashion.
During the festival, convention goers will always be able to find something to do at the Hobo Jungle. The Hobo Jungle is where real hobos and “hobos for the weekend” hang out. This year organizers are focusing on keeping people centered around Main Street as well as the downtown gazebo, which is the focal point for hobo entertainment. Events at the gazebo included “Britt Idol” and “Britt Has Talent”. In addition to that, Doc Anderson’s Medicine Show will be held throughout the event.
Other events include a barbecue cooking contest, a car show, the traditional parade, ladies’ tea, crowning of the king and queen and Paul the Goose Man leading his geese in various maneuvers during the day on Saturday. Beware of geese poo. One special touch this year is the honoring of Britt’s military veterans as the parade grand marshals.
This is all good fun that convention-goers have been enjoying since 1900 with the festival producing a lot of unique fun and memories that can only be experienced in North Iowa. It’s these memories that keeps volunteers coming back year after year. The tradition helped inspire Amy Boekelman of the Hobo Days Committee and Britt Betterment Committee to get involved. According to Boekelman, “We have had great memories growing up with Hobo Days. We didn’t want to lose this great thing.”
So if you are interested in hobos, hobo culture or just want to tell your friends that you went to a Hobo Convention, check out Hobo Days in Britt, Iowa. There appears to be a lot of fun and interesting activities that should keep you occupied for the convention’s four day run.
Source: Globe Gazette – Hobo Convention unique among great N.I. festivals