Thirty one days until RAGBRAI XLI and counting down! The training miles are up to you, but we thought we would fill you in on the unique Iowa towns that you will visit on your way across the state. Today we will spotlight the Danish Village of Kimballton.
Kimballton is 14.5 miles out of Harlan, which we will travel on the second leg of RAGBRAI XLI. The first miles of the day will fly by, as the scenery along Highway 44 is absolutely picturesque and the rolling hills have been freshly paved. Vilkommen to Kimballton, a little slice of Denmark! The town of 342 people was named one of Iowa’s Great Places (along with Elk Horn) in 2010 so you will want to stop and smell the Æbleskiver.
Residents of Kimballton have always stayed close to their Danish heritage, so close that in 1978 they installed a full-size replica of the Little Mermaid statue in the harbor of Copenhagen, Denmark. The famous statue is based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, and twelve other copies exist around the world. This beautiful statue and fountain are in H.C. Anderson Park, along with a ½ size replica of a Danish windmill.
Other attractions in downtown Kimballton include the New Genesis Art Studio, and New Century Art Guild, which were founded by veterans and feature the work of regional artists. There are a few buildings in Kimballton that are on the National Register of Historic Places – Immanuel Lutheran Church, built in 1904, and the Old Stone Masonry Post Office (Posthuset).
On a more modern note, the town will have plenty of vendors and a beer garden with entertainment for you to enjoy as you soak up the Danish atmosphere.
Kimballton is also home to Jan Jensen, current Associate Head Coach of the University of Iowa Women’s Basketball Team and member of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Hall of Fame. For more information on Kimballton, visit their site at: http://www.kimballtoniowa.com/ or http://www.danishvillages.com/.
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