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      The 43rd annual American Gothic Days are here

      The small town of Eldon draws hundreds of people in each year for various events that make up the festive weekend known as American Gothic Days.

      â??Thereâ??s a lot of different events going on this weekend,â?? Holly Berg, American Gothic House Administrator said. â??We had a 5K this morning here at the American Gothic House Center. Thereâ??s a parade, chicken dinner, cardboard boat racing this afternoon, a mud run and several performances: Smoke on the mountain, a bluegrass musical at the McHaffey Opera House.â??

      The annual celebration is focused on the backdrop made famous in Grant Woodâ??s â??American Gothicâ?? painting. The Gothic House brings over 15,000 people from all over the world each year.

      â??A lot of people donâ??t know what that is, never heard of it,â?? Margie Stansberry, President of G.A.T.E. said. â??But when you say the old man with the pitch fork and the woman, then people relate that.

      â??American Gothic days has been going on for over 40 years,â?? Berg said, â??and itâ??s put on by G.A.T.E., which is a local community organizationâ??The Gothic Area Tourism of Eldon, so they go through a lot of work every year to put this on.â??

      â??And itâ??s about small town, you know everyone pulls together,â?? Stansberry said. 12-year-old Alexis Danger is one of dozens of volunteers who make this celebration possible year after year.

      â??Iâ??m face painting, and Iâ??m gonna give the person thatâ??s gonna win the egg toss, I get to say their name, and they get a prize,â?? Danger said.

      If you havenâ??t been to American Gothic Days before, some of the kids want you to know why you should go.

      â??Because it sounds really fun,â?? Chris Davis said.

      â??This is a very fun place,â?? Maggie Haw said. â??They should be here.â??

      If you missed the activities Saturday, the fun continues on Sunday.

      â??Thereâ??s still events taking place tomorrow,â?? Berg said. â??You can come to the American Gothic Days bike ride bright and early at 7:30 tomorrow morning. Itâ??s a great ride through Grant Wood country. Thereâ??s also the Firemanâ??s Breakfast at the Fire Dept, which will be really good and another performance of Smoke on the Mountain at 7:30 p.m. You can get tickets at the American Gothic Center or the North and South Hy-Vee in Ottumwa.â??