A festival is planned tonight in the central Iowa community of Eldora to mark the town’s recovery from a large, violent storm one year ago. Eldora’s city administrator, Patrick Rigg, says they’re thankful to have been able to bounce back from the severe wind and hailstorm and they want to mark the occasion.

He says the celebration of the recovery on the downtown square is a way to say thank you to all of the first-responders and everyone else who volunteered their time to help out. Three-inch diameter hail came with 75 mile-an-hour winds, which blew out windows, toppled trees and left several people hurt. Rigg says the fast-moving storm that Sunday morning left many areas of town in a shambles.

“It really caught us by surprise but I think the storm really also brought out the best in many people in the community,” Rigg says. “That’s why we’re celebrating, to take a moment and reflect where we were a year ago and say thank you.” Even a year later, he says there are visible scars from the storm.

“We’re still cleaning up from the long-term damages,” Rigg says. “There are still some homes being rehabbed as we speak but a large portion of them have been fixed. We’re still taking out some of the trees that had died.” He says damage and clean-up of city property alone far exceeded a million dollars and he had no estimate on damage to private homes.

The day after the storm, Governor Culver issued an emergency disaster declaration for Hardin County due to the widespread damage. More than 12,000 people in the region were without power. The celebration runs from 6 to 8 P.M.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City