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Iowa town honors ‘Grump’ at annual event

Iowa town honors ‘Grump’ at annual event

Readlyn Town Grumps, Marlys Deterding and Larry Sauerbrei

The 2021 Readlyn Town Grumps, Marlys Deterding and Larry Sauerbrei.

Typically in town festivals, people are honored for the work they’ve done in the community. In Readlyn, Iowa, they honor a grump.

The Grump Days celebration features many events, including fireworks and other festivities, but most importantly, they fulfill their town motto of being “857 people and one old Grump.” The community helps with the nominations and voting.

Being a grump isn’t a bad thing.

“A lot of the older people in our community are very active,” Readlyn Community Club President Hailey Broten said. “People want to win the title because they want the hats and license plate and things that come with it.”

The tradition started in 1990, she said. Grumps have to be 65 or older. The Grump will be a part of community activities throughout the year.

“I was really proud because my dad was a Grump back when he was my age,” 2021 Readlyn Grump Larry Sauerbrei said. “It’s an honor. I’ve been in Readlyn all my life and done a few things with the school and in town.”

Due to the pandemic, there was no official Grump last year. However, fitting with their 2021 theme of “Expect the Unexpected,” the town also named Marlys Deterding the Town Grump alongside Larry to make it the first time there had ever been two Grumps.

“We just said to wait until we could actually go out and do something like we did this year,” Sauerbrei said. “They gave it to both of us and I was happy because Marlys deserves it too. Everything worked out really well.”

The festival held a bicycle poker run to kick off the event, where people could go to area businesses for cards or stamps. After the crowning of the new Miss Readlyn and grumps, they name a little Miss Grumpster and a little Mr. Grumpster for kids going into first grade.

Broten said the events focus on family.

“We just want to have everyone down at the park and spend time with family,” Broten said. “We usually have a band or music, and this year we did a 1k.”

Participants in the Saturday morning race get a cup, and after the 334-foot race they come to a Bloody Mary bar, with Shirley Temples for the children.

“You walk a block and then you get a free drink,” she said.

That leads into a vendor show and a parade featuring other Bremer County-area towns. At night, there is music and various activities to help celebrate the town.

Sauerbrei said he wants to have “ice cream on the Grump” every so often in town, so the community can continue meeting up and staying close-knit.

“I’m looking forward to getting into some parades as we normally do,” Sauerbrei said. “I want to make the town proud of me and I’ll do anything to be a good Grump.”

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