Dyersville resident host tourists during National Farm Toy Show
DYERSVILLE (KWWL) -
This weekend the National Farm Toy Show brought thousands of people to the eastern Iowa area. The farm show, which takes place in Dyersville, is in its 36th year. This year, 200 vendors from around the world sold farm toys including tractors both big and small. The show boosts tourism in Dubuque and surrounding counties, filling up local hotels.
Ann Cannon is with the Dyersville Chamber of Commerce.
"This year looks really strong. There was a lot of people here, the harvest helped with that. People were able to get away from their farms or what they were doing this time and come to Dyersville," Cannon said.
Cannon says with the high volume of visitors through the weekend, it's hard for many hotels in the area to keep up.
"Hotels fill up the year before. So people are making their reservations this year for next year already and hotels in Dyersville obviously fill up as well as the surrounding communities," Cannon said.
But for years, the Dyersville Chamber of Commerce has been helping tourists find a place closer to the toy show to stay. A program is run through the Dyersville Chamber of Commerce that sets up tourists with Dyersville residents who are willing to have tourists stay in rooms at their home for a fee.
Donna Vaske is one Dyersville resident who opens her home to people in need of a place to say during the National Farm Toy Show. She has hosted guests at her home for 30 years.
"We have had them from California, Nevada, Kansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, all parts of Iowa and the couple that stays with us now is from Nebraska," Vaske said.
Vaske has hosted Debbie Behne and her family for the past 10 years.
"Early on we stayed in hotels in Dubuque, Independence, one year we had to stay as far away as Waterloo because it's hard to find hotels." Behne said .
Through those ten years both families say they have developed a close relationship with one another.
"In fact, one year Debbie's daughter and husband were expecting their first one. So this would have been Debbie's first grandchild. So they arranged it and asked me if all of her family could meet here and they wanted to announce it to everybody at one time," Vaske said.
"This is not just a place to stay we know their family, they know our family," Behne said. .
A close relationship through both good and bad times, that both families hope continues for years to come.
"Debbie left me a notice that her mom had cancer to pray for her and put her on prayer chains. She said 'I know you beat it so hopefully my mom can.' I had beat cancer about three years ago and they were so good. I still had them come, I didn't want to miss a year having them come."
"It's like an extended family here in eastern Iowa for us." Behne said