old leather suitcase --
Dr. Seuss, Bugs Bunny, Star Wars --
Our next stop is Bentonsport, another 1800s steamboat stop on the Des Moines River, where old iron bridge crosses the river. The Fall Festival here is much smaller and cozier than the one in Keosauqua. It has the feel of a much-traveled leather suitcase.
Benton's Port was founded in 1835 as a steamboat port. It was dec many of the original buildings are still standing. In the few blocks that make up the village each house has a sign out front with its name and date of construction. The population has declined from 1,000 in the 1800s to 40 at present. The short main street is lined on one side with antique and crafts shops, the Mason House Inn and Greef General Store.
Only a few food stands here, one for fresh made lemonade, another for kettle corn.
Fewer trade booths, but they are mostly artists selling their paintings, photographs, handmade ceramics, quilts, braided rugs and old flour sacks. One woman is weaving on a floor loom.
A few tables are spread with antique tools, records and old CDs.
Instead of carnival rides, the main attraction for kids is a four-person cycle.
And then there's the ever-present teenager wearing torn jeans.