Panorama Days August 2-4
By Susan Thompson
The first Lake Panorama Day was August 2, 1969. It was originally scheduled to celebrate the completion of Lake Panorama’s dam, but weather and other delays meant that didn’t happen until the summer of 1970. Yet the party went on as planned.
Activities that first year included a pancake breakfast, parade, water fight between Panora and Guthrie Center firemen, and a free watermelon feed. Lake Panorama bus tours were available throughout the day, and there was a teen dance in Panora’s new fire hall that evening.
Now 50 years have passed and what began as a single day stretches over three days. Chaille Crandall is employed by the Panora Chamber as Panorama Days coordinator. A Panora native, she’s the daughter of Ron and Kristie Reynolds, and a 1999 graduate of Panorama High School.
In this month’s Q&A, Crandall talks about plans for this year’s event, and why she likes being involved.
Q. How did you get involved coordinating Panorama Days?
A. My husband Damon and I moved back to Panora from Waterloo with our two boys in 2011. That next year there was an ad in the Panora paper submitted by the Panora Chamber seeking a Panorama Days coordinator. I was currently working part-time at UPS in Guthrie Center so I had the time to pursue this position. I had found in 2011 when we attended Panorama Days that it wasn’t as I remembered it as a kid, so I wanted to do what I could to help make it better.
Q. What are your responsibilities?
A. Coordinating all events, creating registration forms, contacting all vendors, including food vendors. I send out a sign up sheet for certain events and Chamber members sign up to help.
There are some businesses and groups that take on certain events. For instance, Reshape handles the annual 5K, and Guthrie County State Bank hosts Bingo. Fin & Feather hosts the Kids Fishing Derby on Sunday morning.
Q. Give us some details about this year’s celebration.
A. The 2019 Panorama Days will be Friday, August 2, through Sunday, August 4. The theme this year is "Your Ticket to Paradise!” Panora Chamber members brainstorm at some of our earlier meetings. We throw out a few ideas and vote on each year’s theme as a group.
Some Friday highlights this year will be the annual cribbage tournament, cake walk, Bill Riley Talent Show, and 5K run/walk. Panora Telco is celebrating its 100th anniversary, so is sponsoring a free barbecue and open house Friday 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fireworks over Lake Panorama’s main basin will be that evening.
Saturday will feature the parade, a Kid’s Zone, a variety of vendors, live music, a bean bag tournament, and an afternoon ski show on Lake Panorama. Things wrap up Sunday with a kid’s fishing tournament at the Lake Panorama marina and a barbecue contest. We’ll have full details on these events and more as the celebration gets closer.
In keeping with this year’s theme, we’re holding a special “Your Ticket to Paradise!” raffle. Only 400 tickets are available at a cost of $25 each, with the winner receiving a travel voucher worth $3,700. The winning ticket will be drawn during Panorama Days, and all funds raised will be used to help support the annual celebration. Travel arrangements will be booked through an agency. A typical resort trip would include all-inclusive accommodations for two adults for four nights, plus round trip airfare from Des Moines.
Q. For 50 years, this annual celebration has been a way to bring the communities of Panora and Lake Panorama together. How have you experienced this?
A. As an adult, I have lived at the lake for almost four years, and before that, four years in town. In my opinion, Panora wouldn’t be Panora without the lake, and the lake wouldn’t be here without Panora. As someone who has grown up here, attended school here, and lived in both places, we are one community, always have been, always will be!
Panorama Days and the Panora Chamber continue to grow because people and business owners of both communities accept this same concept. I love nothing more than seeing Panora and Lake Panorama grow. My goal has always been to help make this community a place where my kids will want to come back to, whether to visit, work, start a business, and/or grow a family. We can’t build that kind of community if we don’t work as one.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being the Panorama Days coordinator?
A. I love volunteering. It gives me a sense of accomplishing something. I don’t do anything that I do for recognition, but solely for the fulfillment it gives me. But I couldn’t do any of it alone. I have a wonderful husband who contributes and helps me along the way. Wanting to be a volunteer is something that is taught through observing, and I was raised and taught by one of the best! I can clearly remember Dad winning citizen of the year at Panorama Days when I was little. He was always volunteering his time, and still does today.