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One-of-a-kind projects

Jack Brockley | Jun 13, 2019

Recently, we noticed a Facebook post promoting the Kiwanis Ramp Festival in Newport, Tennessee. Some readers may not know what ramp is (I didn’t), but according to Wikipedia, it’s a species of wild onion, and it’s something of a culinary superstar right now.

The Newport Kiwanis Club’s post inspired a thought: What other unusual — one-of-a-kind — projects are out there in the Kiwani-verse? Here are a few that come to mind, both from recent sources and from the Kiwanis magazine archives:

  • Woolly Worm Festival They’re fuzzy and cute, and popular folklore claims they’re wise about winter weather. The larvae of the Isabella tiger moth is the star of the Banner Elk, North Carolina, Kiwanis Club’s annual Woolly Worm Festival. More than 16,000 people attend the event every third weekend in October, which includes music, bounce houses and rock climbing, food booths, weather predictions and fast-and-furry woolly worm races.

  • Gene Autry For a child growing up in the early 1950s, meeting Gene Autry would have been a dream come true. The crooning cowboy was one of the most famous Western movie stars of his day; so, it was a special treat one Sunday in Sioux City, Iowa, when Autry made the rounds of the city’s four hospitals delivering a rose and encouragement to each child. The surprise visit was part of a Sioux City Kiwanis Club tradition that began in 1927. “We’re still delivering flowers every Sunday,” reports club President Carmen Bossman.

  • carnival miami Carnaval Miami is so massive that it most likely is the largest Kiwanis fundraiser on the planet. The annual “Celebration of All Things Miami” generates an estimated US$40 million in economic impact every year, according to the carnavalmiami.com website. Started in the 1970s as the Calle Ocho Music Festival, the event has expanded into a “platform for all shapes of art, music, fashion, cuisine and sports,” all arranged by the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, Miami.

  • Loois Museum for Contemporary Art At 30 by 21 inches, the famously smaller-than-expected Mona Lisa is much too large to be exhibited at the Loois Museum for Contemporary Art. Conceived by the Kiwanis Club of Tessenderlo Alchemia, Belgium, as the world’s smallest museum, the LOMAK restricts exhibits to less than 16 inches square. Suspended high on a wall at town hall, the museum’s box exhibits only one object and is visible by telescope to but one person at a time.

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