Sunday, August 30, 2009

Whiterock Conservancy Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Khrushchev Visit

I was honored to attend a luncheon for more than 100 invited guests served at the Roswell and Elizabeth Garst Farmstead near Coon Rapids Saturday. The occasion was the 50th anniversary of Soviet Premier Nakita Khrushchev's visit to Iowa, whose cooperation reinvented Soviet agriculture and produced one of the few thaws in the Cold War.

Thirty Russian officials and businessmen, along with members of the Garst family and guests were treated to a menu that replicated a lunch served during Khrushchev's visit in September, 1959. The menu included barbeque ribs, fried chicken, ham, corn casserole and slaw. A delicisous apple pie dessert topped off the meal. Elizabeth Garst was emcee of a short program of speakers who commented on the lasting effects of the 1959 visit.
Honored guest Sergei Khrushchev, son of Nikita, was a popular figure at the luncheon, signing autographs for those in attendance. Many events took place in Coon Rapids for the anniversary, including a dedication of the Garst Farm to the Register of National Historic Places, a Farm Progress Show, parade and street dance. The event was extremely well organized by the Garst family and Whiterock Conservancy staff.

Sergei Khrushchev, son of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, signs an autograph for 10-year old Hannah Sackett. "I love history and this is the best thing ever," said Hannah.

The delegation of Russian officials and businessmen sat for this photo with the Garst family. In assembling the subjects for the photo, I overheard one photographer say to the other, "It's like herding cats!", to which the another photographer, speaking in a thick Russian accent said, "It's like herding mulit-lingual cats."

Members of the Russian delegation at a luncheon that replicated a meal during Nakita Khrushchev's to the Garst Farmstead in 1959.

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