The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library is celebrating the former president’s 136th birthday today in West Branch. Library executive director, Becky Allgood, says the Hooverfest celebration has a special theme this year.

Allgood says they are paying tribute to Iowa’s firefighters and first responders. “President Hoover would’ve liked that, he would like us to not focus on him so much as to pay tribute to the folks that are public servants,” Allgood says. She says the 25,000 firefighters and first responders in the state are public servants who are mainly volunteers who protect us. There will be several special guests today.

The speaker is John Avalon, the speech writer for former New York Mayor Rudi Guiliani, who wrote all the eulogies for the mayor after 9-11. Hoover’s great grandaughter, Margaret Hoover will be the m-c of the event from 11:30 to one p-m. There’s also the annual Hooverball Tournament, a game invented by the president to keep in shape while in office.

Allgood says there are many teams signed up, and they have all kinds of other entertainment including bands, free birthday cake and the evening is topped off with a fireworks display shot off to the movie soundtrack of “Backdraft.” Last year’s celebration attracted 8,000 people to West Branch.

Hooverfest has been an annual event since 1954 when Hoover returned to his hometown to mark his 80th birthday. Hoover actual birthdate is August 10th. He died in October,1964. There is more information on-line at or by calling 319-653-5327.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City