The 110th National Hobo Convention


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North America » United States » Iowa
August 14th 2010
Published: September 6th 2010
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In Britt, Iowa every year on the second weekend of August thre is a four day event called the National Hobo Convention or 'Hobo Days'. Saturday morning I got up early and drove out to Britt from my new home, Algona, Iowa for the Hobo Days parade. I got there super early because I was worried about parking and ended up traversing the town for an hour and a half, stopping at a few garage sales on the way. A little before 10 I found myself on a park bench in the town park talking to other people from out of town and waiting for the parade to start. Once the parade started, it did not stop for an hour and a half! There were antique cars, tractors, floats, hobos, more tractors, Shriners, and more tractors; it was such a long parade for a small town! After the parade, around 12pm, Mulligan Stew was served in the park free of charge. It was made in twelve HUGE barrels and was already being prepared when I first walked past the park around 8am. The recipe, which is based off of an old hobo recipe, creates about 500 gallons of stew. Hence the reason I was able to get a cup of stew over an hour after they started serving it to people who were eagerly waiting in line with their spaghetti pots and empty five gallon ice cream buckets from home.

As a sat down on the bleachers to eat my cup of stew, I noticed a man carrying a kitchen pot of stew in one hand, a walking stick in another, and proudly wearing a badge that read hobo king. As a turned to my left, I also spotted a fluffy tan colored dog wearing a shirt and special doggy sunglasses. I had never seen doggy sunglasses before. The dog quickly became the center of attention of everyone who walked by and it was amusing to see all of the stunned faces.

After checking out the street flea market and hobo art gallery which featured oil paintings of past hobo kings and queens beginning with the first hobo king elected in Britt, Iowa in 1900; I went to witness the coronation of the 2010 hobo king and queen. This involved speeches from all of the king and queen hopefuls and was concluded based on the king and queen candidate who received the most applause. The new king and queen were immediately crowned with robes and crowns made from old coffee cans.

Later that evening, I drove back to Britt to check out the hobo jungle. Just like back in the olden days, the jungle was set up beside the railroad tracks and consisted of a campfire, songs, stories, poems, and food. There was also two hobo weddings, or rather, hobo vow renewals. One interesting hobo tradition is the burning of the rhubarb leaf. The bride and the groom both get a stalk of rhubarb. Since the leaf is bad, poisonous, they walk around the fire arm in arm and rip off the leaf and throw it into the flames. Symbolically they are getting rid of the bad (the leaf) and keeping the good (the stalk). I stayed at the hobo jungle until dusk and it showed no signs of stopping anytime soon. I headed home for a good night of sleep but there were several people at the Hobo Convention who would be sleeping in the hobo jungle that night. There were at least a dozen tents spread out around the jungle where people had been camping that
Hobo WeddingHobo WeddingHobo Wedding

Or rather, a hobo renewing of vows after 40 years of marriage. The three children of the married couple are singing a song to their mother.
weekend for the convention.


Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 24


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National Hobo Convention ParadeNational Hobo Convention Parade
National Hobo Convention Parade

One group threw ice pops to the crowd. Mmm!!
National Hobo Convention ParadeNational Hobo Convention Parade
National Hobo Convention Parade

The Britt High School Class of 1960(?). They had float for the class of 1950, 1955, 1960, etc...
National Hobo Convention ParadeNational Hobo Convention Parade
National Hobo Convention Parade

I think they said this car was from 1902.
Coronation of the Hobo King and QueenCoronation of the Hobo King and Queen
Coronation of the Hobo King and Queen

Introduction of the past hobo kings and queens.
Coronation of the Hobo King and QueenCoronation of the Hobo King and Queen
Coronation of the Hobo King and Queen

The new queen sporting her robe and her crown made from a coffee can.
Coronation of the Hobo King and QueenCoronation of the Hobo King and Queen
Coronation of the Hobo King and Queen

The King is hoping that he didn't marry the queen through this gig, if he did, he wants out!
Hobo MuseumHobo Museum
Hobo Museum

There were way too many people inside. I'll go back some other time.
Hobo JungleHobo Jungle
Hobo Jungle

The 2010 Hobo Queen, Double B, is giving her welcome speech.


7th September 2010

You know, I really admire you. The way how you aren't afraid to go out there and do things in a new town etc. <3 and miss you.

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