Fun festivals, shopping, plus the new issue of ia magazine
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Produced in partnership with the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
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Sample food from numerous Latin and South American countries, see folkloric dancing, and view arts and crafts exhibits at the Latino Heritage Festival in Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park. It’s Iowa's largest ethnic festival and runs this Saturday and Sunday. Photo courtesy of Des Moines Partnership.

Engage With Latino Culture in Des Moines This Weekend

This weekend, immerse yourself in Latin food, art and culture in downtown Des Moines at the two-day Latino Heritage Festival, running Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
During the event, sample fare from different Latin countries (you’ll be amazed by the diversity of flavors and dishes), watch dancers in their colorful regalia, hear musical performances and study the art exhibits. Plus, there are kid activities. 

Find free parking at the Nationwide ramp, 1100 Walnut St. Learn more here.

You'll want to explore the trails at Effigy Mounds National Monument in northeast Iowa after you read the new issue of ia magazine, available next week. In addition to Effigy Mounds, the magazine covers finds throughout the state, including new restaurants, tourism destinations and inspiring artists and makers. Photographer: Mary Willie.

Get the New Issue of ia Oct. 5 at Envision Iowa Event

Join us for Envision Iowa's annual in-person event for new economic research, plus the unveiling of the new issue of ia magazine.

Keynote speakers Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Finance Authority, and Kavilash Chawla, partner at Bâton Global, will kick off a fast-paced program featuring a presentation of the research and a discussion with statewide leaders of the survey’s implications for Iowa’s future.

Envision Iowa is an initiative created by Business Publications Corp., the parent company of ia and dsm magazines and the Business Record, to help Iowa thrive and grow. In addition to this in-person event, the initiative includes three interactive, virtual think tank discussions.

The Oct. 5 event will be at Hilton Garden Inn, 205 S. 64th Street in West Des Moines. Register here.
Wills Family Orchard in Adel grows organic apples on a portion of the property. Picking is now through Oct. 23. Photo courtesy of Wills Family Orchard.

Check Out These Three Spots for Picking Apples

Now that fall is here, it’s time to get out and enjoy some of the state’s homegrown flavors. And that means apples. Here are three spots throughout the state where you can pick your own. For more options, check out Travel Iowa's interactive map.

Little Sioux Orchard, Milford: Located near Okoboji, the orchard has more than 1,200 trees. Take a hayride to the orchard and pick the latest varieties. After the picking, race through a corn maze or play old-fashioned games such as sack races.

Wills Family Orchard, Adel: The central Iowa destination has varieties you can pick or purchase in the farm store. The orchard has 12 varieties to enjoy. There’s also a pumpkin patch, where you can pick your perfect jack-o'-lantern, plus festival weekends (now through Oct. 23) with apple cider doughnuts, home-baked pie and caramel apples, plus a corn maze and hayrides.

Wilson’s Orchard & Farms, Iowa City: More than 80 varieties grow on the property’s 88 acres. In addition to apple-picking, there’s also a smokehouse, retail shop, tractor rides and fine dining at Wilson's Ciderhouse, located in a century-old barn.
Downtown Cedar Falls brims with independent shops, cafes, breweries and restaurants. Plan on a full day or a weekend exploring the area. Photo courtesy of Cedar Falls Tourism and Visitors Bureau.

Book a Weekend Away in the Cedar Valley

Sister cities Cedar Falls and Waterloo, separated by the Cedar River, serve up a fun fall getaway complete with art, culture, dining and outdoor rec. Here’s our guide to a complete weekend.

STAY: Located in Cedar Falls, the Black Hawk Hotel exudes a vintage vibe. In fact, it’s the second-longest continuously operating hotel in the country. Originally built as a stagecoach hotel and used as housing during the Civil War, the building was rebuilt after a fire in the 1860s and stands strong—and full of charming touches like intricate woodwork and exposed brick. But it also has plenty of modern amenities like a fitness center, a speakeasy, complimentary breakfast, and local coffee and tea. The Black Hawk has just 43 rooms, so be sure to book early. Find modern lodging options in both Waterloo and Cedar Falls downtowns.

EAT: Waterloo’s historic downtown has undergone significant updates and investment over the past few years. And there’s no better way to start a day than diner-style at Newton’s Paradise Cafe in the art deco Newton’s Jewelry building. The cafe’s menu features four types of pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and breakfast pizza, but we recommend the Iowa Toast. It’s their luscious riff on French toast and comes with bacon, ham or homemade sausage. For lunch, snag a sandwich or wood-fired Neapolitan pie from Basal Pizza, also downtown.

Come dinnertime, relax over local beers and upscale bar food including the Iowa Taco (yes, it’s topped with corn, bacon and ranch) at Singlespeed Brewing. Once home to a 1927 Wonder Bread factory, the spot offers tasty bites, beer flights, patio dining and areas for the kids to play or for you to store your bike. And for old-school Italian in the lobby of a former historic hotel, the Russell Lamson Building, check out the Brown Bottle. It’s been a downtown institution since 1974 and serves classics like lasagna (the seafood is also super tasty).

DO: Make the most of your sightseeing time by renting wheels at Waterloo Bicycle Works, located in the 1912 Kistner Building (originally a funeral home). Tool around both Waterloo and Cedar Falls on trails edging the Cedar River on a regular bicycle or an e-bike; there are over 80 miles of trails in the sister cities.

When you return from your ride, be sure to stock up on local souvenirs to keep or share—they offer Iowa books, stickers, socks, stationery and more.
Artists from all over Iowa converge on downtown Ames Sunday for the Octagon Art Festival. Photo courtesy of the Octagon Art Festival.

Explore Art in Ames, Sioux City and Jefferson

By Michael Morain
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

It’s a good time to be in the tent business. Artists are setting up camp this weekend to show off their work in three big festivals in the following three Iowa Great Places.

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday in Jefferson
Art on the Square surrounds the Greene County Courthouse with exhibiting artists, food trucks and music by singer-songwriter Chad Elliot of Lamoni and the popular Parranderos Latin Combo from Des Moines.

11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday in Sioux City
The Alley Art Festival livens up the Historic Fourth Street District, where you can watch artists paint murals during the event. While they’re working, check out the interactive kids’ mural, art vendors, food trucks and plenty of entertainment.

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday in Ames
The Octagon Art Festival welcomes more than 80 exhibiting artists from across the state to the Ames Main Street Cultural & Entertainment District. Now in its 51st year, the festival has become an annual highlight of central Iowa’s cultural calendar.

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Pick up this year's crop of apples at Woodbine's Applefest this Saturday. The western Iowa town promises a day of fun activities.

Savor Fall Flavor at Woodbine's Applefest

By Michael Morain
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

Hardcore apple fans know that a Madison County farmer cultivated the Red Delicious in the 1870s. In the century and a half since, Iowans have elevated other varieties to a whole new level—in pastries, pies, slushies and sticky-smooth coats of caramel.

You’ll find them all at Applefest on Sept. 24 in Woodbine, on the edge of the Loess Hills. Every year since 1988, throngs of visitors pull into the recently designated Iowa Great Place for the festival’s craft fair, car and tractor show (one of Iowa’s largest), helicopter rides, historical talks, beer garden, live music, and, of course, bountiful apple goodness. Pumpkin-spice fans will just have to wait their turn.

WHY ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT COMBATING HUNGER AND FOOD INSECURITY? Mom's Meals mission is to improve life through better nutrition at home. We partner with health plans to measure how home delivered meals programs impact vulnerable individuals who are facing social determinants of health and/or dealing with a chronic condition. Through our pilot programs, we're making a difference in their lives and ultimately helping to drive better health outcomes. We invite health plans to join us as we continue to build empirical evidence that will hopefully persuade legislators to more mightily tackle the issue of food insecurity across our nation. Read more
Food banks such as the Student Food Pantry at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids are addressing food insecurity. Learn more about this important topic and how you can help through our Iowa Stops Hunger campaign. Learn more here. Photo courtesy of Kirkwood Community College.

Hunger Action Month Announced

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation Sept. 14 declaring September as Hunger Action Month, citing the high numbers of people who are food insecure in Iowa, and the effects food insecurity can have on a person’s health and education and on the economy. Reynolds called on Iowans to fight hunger and food insecurity by volunteering and donating.

Business Publications Corp. and its publications, including
dsm and ia magazines and the Business Record, began their Iowa Stops Hunger campaign in 2020 to raise awareness of food insecurity in Iowa and inspire action to combat it. Read more about the campaign and additional stories at

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