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Town Square Park was abuzz for the recent Pizza Fest and will be once again for the launch of Restaurant Week Aug. 15.


New this year: dsm's Restaurant Week 2019 starts with a party! Restaurant Week's free launch party runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, in Town Square Park, located in the District at Prairie Trail, 1500 S.W. Main St., Ankeny. Of course there will be food and fun. The District is home to eight locally owned restaurants, ranging from Mediterranean and Mexican to pizza and sushi. The event will feature many of their appetizers as well as  complimentary wine and beer, plus the introduction of a signature drink called District Sangria. We'll provide more details next week and hope to see you there.


Whether you want to hike, bike, golf or swim, Edina is the perfect blend of fun in the sun. With so much to choose from, the hardest part will be deciding what to do first. Need a few ideas for your itinerary? You can’t go wrong with these popular destinations... Read more »

Brad Magg and Dominic Iannarelli will bring a new flair to fair fare with their tempting creations at the Iowa State Fair.


By Wini Moranville

The food at the Iowa State Fair is decidedly low-brow, and that’s part of the fun. So yes, you’ll surely see me in line for a corn dog, some cheese curds and a root beer. But I also keep my eye out for handcrafted one-of-a-kind items, such as a fresh peach ice cream shake from Bauder’s and the fabulous homemade nut rolls, rife with a drape of caramel and a sweet nougat center. (I’m a nut about the nut rolls: I actually take some home to freeze for treats later in the year.)

That’s why I was pretty excited to hear about Bacon Box. This new stand is a collaboration between Dominic Iannarelli (executive chef of Splash and Jethro’s) and Brad Magg (owner of Goldie’s Ice Cream Shoppe in Prairie City). Here’s what they’ll be serving up:

• Bacon Pecan Pie on a Stick ($6): A double-crust pecan pie is dipped in chocolate caramel and rolled in extra pecans and bacon "to make sure each bite is filled with sweet, sweet, salty goodness," says Magg. And talk about handcrafted! For the pies, Magg has enlisted his aunts, teachers, his former babysitter and bus driver, and some of his parents’ and grandparents’ best friends to help house-bake the pies.

• Walt’s Lemonade Creamsicle ($3/10 ounces): This frozen dairy-and-lemonade treat is named for the gregarious proprietor of the fair’s erstwhile Walt’s Lemonade Stand, where Magg worked in his youth. Because there’s no shortage of lemonade on the fairgrounds, Iannarelli dreamed up the creamsicle angle with the help of Connie Boesen, who creates apple slushes at the Applishus booth.

• Bacon Meatball on a Stick (single: $5/double $8): Berkwood Farms bacon and homemade bacon cheese anchor these meatballs, which are wrapped in two pieces of bacon, rotisserie smoked (not fried) and dipped in barbecue sauce.

Bacon Box will be located across from the Grandstand in the spot formerly occupied by Pete’s on a Roll.

Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.

Disney director and animator Don Hall, an Iowa native, will be at the State Historical Building tomorrow (Wednesday, Aug. 7).


Learn about big-league animation Wednesday, Aug. 7, from an Iowa native who worked on the Disney blockbusters "Moana," "Big Hero 6" and "The Princess and the Frog."

All three movies featured the work of Sioux City native Ron Clements and Glenwood native Don Hall. Hall will be in Des Moines Wednesday for a series of free public events from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the State Historical Museum, including a screening of the movie that earned him an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, "Big Hero 6."

"It’s amazing to have two highly successful Iowans from different backgrounds now working together, as top animation fimmakers, in Burbank," says Liz Gilman, executive producer of Produce Iowa, the state office of media production, which is sponsoring Hall’s visit and a related museum exhibit. "We thought this was unique and wanted to dive into their early inspirations to see how Iowa helped shape their careers."

The "Hollywood in the Heartland" exhibition will showcase some of Hall’s and Clements’ childhood drawings, which provide some insight on how their works matured over the years on the way to the movie screen.

For details on Wednesday's schedule of events, visit the Department of Cultural Affairs website.

Polk County Heriutage Gallery is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.


"Iowa Exhibited," the annual showcase of Iowa artists, continues through Sept. 6 at  Polk County Heritage Gallery. Des Moines photographer Molly Wood is the juror of this year's show. Awards will be presented at a free public reception at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at the gallery in the Polk County administration building, 111 Court Ave. For more information, including a list of featured artists, click here.

Singer-songwriter Ben Folds leads a forum on the arts, then performs at Water Works Park, both Thursday, Aug. 15.


It’s showtime for a discussion on the arts with presidential candidates from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at Hoyt Sherman Place.

Singer-songwriter Ben Folds will join national and state arts groups who have invited all the Democratic Party’s presidential contenders to discuss the role the arts play in the cultural, economic, educational and social well-being of communities. Folds plans to interview the candidates onstage about their intentions on arts policy.

"If the arts community wants to move the needle on future support of the arts, then we need to act now to engage candidates on these issues," says Folds, who heads ArtsVote 2020, a program of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund.

The Iowa Arts Forum, which will be streamed via Facebook Live (@IowaArtsCouncil), is presented by Americans for the Arts and its Arts Action Fund, as well as the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education, Iowa Cultural Coalition and Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Register online at

The arts also help drive the economy. In Iowa, more than 5,000 arts-related businesses employ 25,000 workers statewide, according to a fact sheet about "Why the Arts Matter in Iowa," from the Americans for the Arts Action Fund.

Iowa's grand spectacle returns to the State Fairgrounds Thursday.


Tickets are still available for Grandstand concerts at the Iowa State Fair, including Hootie and the Blowfish. The fair opens this Thursday, Aug. 8. It's come a long way from the first State Fair,  held in 1854 in Fairfield, with an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 people in attendance and a budget of $323. More recently, attendance has topped 1 million. The State Fair Parade downtown starts at 6:15 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, Aug. 7). For all the details on fair events, schedules, tickets and much more, click here.
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