Iowa Picnic in California May Draw Bigger Crowd

Associated Press

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Organizers of the annual Iowa by the Sea Picnic in California say they have stepped up their organizing efforts and expect a bigger crowd this year.

The picnic began in 1900 in Pasadena and at one time drew more than 100,000 transplanted Iowans and their families. From the 1940s through the 1960s, Iowa governors and celebrities with Iowa roots often attended.

The Sioux City Journal reports attendance dwindled over time, and last year only about 70 people gathered.

Retired Navy and Cedar Rapids native Cmdr. Don Swenson is working to change that. He helped create a picnic website and encouraged university alumni groups to send information to graduates living in California.

Swenson estimates 200 people will attend the picnic Saturday near the battleship USS Iowa in San Pedro.

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