ia: The best of Iowa arts and culture
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Produced in partnership with the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
Iowa Pork is Preferred Around the World!

Why do consumers around the world love the taste of Iowa pork? And what's the impact on Iowa pig farmers and our communities? Laurie Johns has the answers.

... Listen and Follow

Beaver Creek in Johnston provides a canopy of trees for cover from the sun. Photo: Greater Des Moines Partnership


With two rivers converging in the heart of the city—the Des Moines and Raccoon—plus lake escapes, there are plenty of ways to get out on the water.

Raccoon River
Edging the east-flowing Raccoon River in West Des Moines, Raccoon River Park is a top destination for families, fitness fans, and fishing and boating enthusiasts. New as of last year, the Raccoon River Boathouse offers even more reasons to visit the park, thanks to watercraft rentals available for exploring the 232-acre Blue Heron Lake. The structure houses single and double kayaks, fishing kayaks, canoes, pedal boards, and paddleboats to cruise the lake. Rent boats by the half-hour, hour, or full day (cash or credit accepted; prices start at $10).

For another water experience without much effort, spend a day tubing through Raccoon River Excursions. Trips include a rental tube, life jacket, cooler and a shuttle on the business's party bus.

Gray’s Lake
Centrally located just south of downtown, this lake is a city favorite. Rent paddleboards, pedal boats, kayaks and canoes to explore the water. Or try your hand at sailing for just $25 an hour. While at the lake, go for a quick swim, enjoy a shady picnic or grab a brew outside at Confluence Brewing Co., located just south of the lake off the Meredith bike trail.

Quarry Springs Park
East of Des Moines in Colfax, this lake offers a relaxed getaway. The 240-acre lake is right off the interstate, and kayak rentals are available through Quarry Springs Outfitters at the lake. Stroke to the back pool to enjoy some solitude.

Beaver Creek

Just north of Interstate 80 in Johnston, this meandering creek is covered with a shady canopy. Rent kayaks—and get a shuttle—through Quarry Springs Outfitters. Also in Johnston, Terra Lake is an easy paddle, with rentals through the same outfitter.

Des Moines River

For just $10, you can cruise through the city’s east side, putting in at Euclid and taking out at Captain Roy’s near the Birdland marina. Grab a burger or maybe fish and chips to enjoy with an adult beverage before being shuttled back to your vehicle. Quarry Springs also runs this rental.

For more great spots around Central Iowa, check out Catch Des Moines' website.

The Yankees and White Sox will play an MLB game on Aug. 12 on a field next to the original Field of Dreams movie site.
Photo: Travel Dubuque


Writer: Michael Morain
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

Even if you don’t have tickets to see the Yankees play the White Sox next month at the Field of Dreams, you still may want to slide into Dyersville.

Locals are lining up a “Beyond the Game” festival for Aug. 11-12, with a country music concert, activities for kids, an “Experience Iowa Zone” featuring Iowa products, a screening of the famous movie, and an outdoor viewing party for the game itself, beamed live to a giant screen at the city square.

An exhibit called “If You Build It” will highlight some of the ways the movie’s legacy lives on in Dyersville, Dubuque County and the entire state of Iowa. Since its production in 1988, the film has become a cultural icon and is featured in an exhibit at the State Historical Museum for its contribution to the state’s creative economy.

But a big-league game? That’s definitely a first.

As Travel Dubuque's Keith Rahe puts it: “A Major League Baseball game being played in a cornfield in Iowa—it just doesn’t get any more unique than that.” And if you want to get your hands on a ticket, you'll have to get lucky. Registration for a lottery is open until tomorrow exclusively for fans with an Iowa ZIP code.
The Key to a Solid Financial Plan

Do you fully understand the biggest risks you face? Losing your ability to work? A large, sudden need for cash? Leaving your family without proper planning? Learn more about how laying a solid foundation for your financial plan can have a long lasting impact.
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With summer temps peaking in the upper 90s this weekend, it’s a perfect time to head to Lake Icaria near Corning.
Photo: Travel Iowa


Iowa is home to some great reservoirs. While Coralville, Red Rock and Saylvorville might be some of the state’s most recognized, Lake Icaria in southeast Iowa, about 90 miles southwest of Des Moines, is worth a weekend visit.

Completed in 1978, the lake offers loads of amenities, including furnished cabins and cottages, camping, a swimming beach and more. Bobbers Down Marina at the lake has boat rentals for exploring the coves. Take out a pontoon, or for a little exercise book a canoe, kayak, paddle board or pedal boat. Grab refreshments, beach toys like tubes, fishing gear, ice and more while at the marina.

Two campgrounds have both electric and non-electric options. Lakeview is aptly named for the watery views, while Timber Ridge is tucked into the woods. While at the park, go for a hike (there are several miles of trails), make s’mores or grill burgers at one of the picnic shelters, try your hand at fishing, play disc golf and splash at the sandy beach.
A cappella group Straight No Chaser will perform at Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa on Dec. 9 as a part of its holiday slate of shows.


A mix of musicals, musicians and lectures makes up Hancher Auditorium's 2021-22 season lineup, which was announced earlier this month and will mark the first full-attendance, in-person shows at the Iowa City venue
since the pandemic began. Tickets will go on sale to the public at 11 a.m. Aug. 16.

The season starts outdoors on Aug. 28 with "Hancher Illuminated," which allows audience members to walk around the auditorium and enjoy music, dance and lighting installations. The first show inside will be Step! Afrika performing "Drumfolk," a dance set to percussive music reflecting the history of Black expression. Here are a few other shows that caught our eyes:

"Waitress": Marking the return of Broadway to Hancher, this musical tells the story of Jenna, an expert pie maker who dreams of a way out of her small town. It's scheduled for Oct. 22 and 23.

Holiday festivities: Hancher will mark the holiday season with vocalist Storm Large (Dec. 4), a cappella group Straight No Chaser (Dec. 9), and the annual Brunch With Santa event (Dec. 11 and 12) at Iowa City's Stanley Cafe.

Orchestras: String instrument fans have plenty to look forward to. The Boston Symphony Orchestra (Oct. 27) and the Philadelphia Orchestra (March 9) will make stops at Hancher. There will also be appearances by the Castalian String Quartet (Feb. 20) and Danish String Quartet (April 1).

Find the full schedule here.
Helping Solve Food Insecurity
At Bankers Trust, we believe combating hunger and food insecurity requires a combination of efforts across the food system. That’s why the bank proudly supports several organizations that are addressing food insecurity in Central Iowa and beyond, including the World Food Prize, Meals from the Heartland, the Food Bank of Iowa and Eat Greater Des Moines.
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The marquee of the 2019 Snake Alley Film Fest in Burlington. This year's event will be Aug. 5-8. Photo: Produce Iowa


Writer: Michael Morain
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

The Snake Alley Festival of Film will light up the big screen Aug. 5-8 at the historic Burlington Capitol Theater, just a few blocks from the city’s famously winding street. It’s one of more than a dozen Iowa film festivals that are returning to theaters after last year’s intermission.

But as you might expect, the self-proclaimed “crookedest film festival in the U.S.” offers some plot twists that set it apart.

For starters, the event focuses on short films and screenplays, so “if you don’t like the film you’re watching, it will be done in a few minutes and a new one will start,” says festival director Tadd Good. “You’ll find something you like in every block.”

He says two “adults only” blocks of films have become especially popular: a general mix on Thursday night and a few cartoons on Saturday morning.

Besides that, the festival features a screenplay competition, where writers get to hear their stories come to life during table readings performed by a cast of local actors. Even the shortest stories can pack a punch.

“Short films get thrown online, where they often sit until they’re forgotten,” Good says. “But film festivals give them a moment to shine on the big screen.”
The USA Track & Field Masters Outdoor Championships last came to Ames in 2019.


The Cyclone Sports Complex at Iowa State University in Ames is hosting the USA Track & Field Masters Outdoor Championships starting today, welcoming elite athletes competing in age groups at 25 through 100. The championships were originally slated for Sacramento, California, but relocated due to local COVID-19 regulations.

The event kicked off this morning with the pentathlon, 5,000-meter and 400-meter runs, and a few field competitions. It culminates on Sunday with many of the sprint race finals, ending with the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays at 2:15 and 2:45 p.m., respectively.

Find all meet information here.
A panel discussion at a past Iowa Hunger Summit. This year's event on Sept. 1 will be one day and fully virtual.
Photo: World Food Prize Foundation


International leaders involved in confronting hunger will speak and lead discussions at the annual Iowa Hunger Summit on Sept. 1. The event, hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation, will be fully virtual. Free registration opened this week. Sessions will focus on "transformations within our food systems and the changes needed to end hunger and food insecurity in our state," organizers say.

The keynote speech session will begin at 9 a.m. and last until about noon, followed by two breakout sessions at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Things close with a final session at 3 p.m. Find registration information and a schedule here.

Iowa Stops Hunger is a yearlong Business Publications Corp. initiative to bring awareness and action to food insecurity in Iowa.

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