ia: The best of Iowa arts and culture
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MAY 27, 2021  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
Produced in partnership with the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
ChopTalk: Animal care requires a team approach

Iowa raises lots of pigs! So, you may have questions about their care. ChopTalk host Laurie Johns talks about animal care with a livestock trucker and ISU expert.
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Old Station Craft Meats in downtown Waukee offers all the cuts you may want for your Memorial Day barbecue.
Photo: Verdigris Photography & Design


Indie meat markets are popping up all over the state. Here are some new options plus a few old favorites worth a visit.

Central Market, Des Moines
Des Moines Public School kids enrolled in the agri science course are learning farm-to-table in real time. Students raise lambs, goats, pigs and chickens, then sell meat and eggs in their shop on the farm campus. Find other student- and teacher-made products such as pottery and graphic T-shirts, as well as products from other local farmers and makers. The market is open Thursdays and Fridays from 3 to 6 and Saturdays from noon to 3.

City Meat Market, New Albin
Tucked into the far northeast corner of the state, this small town boasts the oldest specialty meat store and smokehouse in the state—it’s been in business since 1882. The small country shop is revered for smoked pork chops, hickory smoked bacon and steaks. Plus, find gourmet hot sauces, wine, beer and other essentials for a picnic near the Mississippi.

Elma Locker & Grocery, Elma
Another small-town gem, this market stocks both fresh and smoked products, as well as sausages and sticks (some spiked with cheese and flavors such as dill pickle). While at the grocery, pick up honey, soft-serve ice cream, cheese, pickled herring and gluten-free baked goods.

Old Station Craft Meats, Waukee
Another new-on-the-scene market, this downtown Waukee butcher sells bacon, steaks, sausages and more. The beef tenderloin roast looks particularly tasty for the first post-pandemic party. Owner Nick Lenters recommends flat iron and Delmonico steaks for summer grilling.

West Forty Market, Ankeny and Greene
In Uptown Ankeny, this new small meat market stocks gourmet cuts such as short ribs, oxtail and porterhouse steaks. We picked up bacon and made the best bacon, basil, heirloom tomato and avocado sandwiches with our haul. The original market is in Greene and carries beef, pork and poultry.

Woudstra Meat Market, Orange City
See a Dutch master at work carving a side of beef at this northwest Iowa shop (yes, the staff wear Dutch hats). The butcher shop (in business since 1926) also sells smoked sausages, dried beef, ring bologna, plus Iowa wines and Dutch treats.
Take the family to Sioux City's LaunchPAD Children's Museum during a long weekend trip. Photo: Travel Iowa


If you’re ready for a getaway during Memorial Day weekend, you could throw a dart at a map or, better yet, outsource your planning to the experts. The team at Travel Iowa is unveiling a new series of 3-2-1 itineraries, featuring three places to see, two places to eat and one place to stay.

It’s part of a new “Year of the Road Trip” campaign based on research that suggests Americans are itching to travel more than they did before the pandemic, even if they’re not quite ready to hop on a plane.

So consider, perhaps, an overnight trip to Sioux City. You can explore the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, learn how the world works at the LaunchPAD Children’s Museum, and treat yourself to a famous Bing candy bar at the Palmer’s Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe, which opened in 1879.

For something more filling, dig into a bucket of fried chicken from Sneaky’s Chicken or a loose-meat sandwich, some onion chips and a shake from the Tastee Inn and Out, a local mainstay since 1955.

Then sleep it off at the Chocolate Mansion, which the Palmer family built with $12,000 of their candy profits back in 1894. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was recently renovated with various candy-themed rooms. Sweet dreams...
10 Tips for Protecting Your Home While You're Away on Vacation

After being cooped up for months at a time, everyone needs a vacation! With warmer weather and the end of school around the corner, many families are thinking about taking to the road (or the beach, or the mountains) for a much-needed sabbatical. Before you go, however, you should take a few steps to protect your home and make sure it stays safe and ready for your return while you’re resting and recharging.
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Saturday in the Park in Sioux City is one of Iowa's top outdoor music festivals and takes place Fourth of July weekend. Photo: Travel Iowa


Summer music festivals are back on tap. Here are a few to put on your calendar:

Big Country Bash: Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater in St. Charles will welcome country music stars for the Big Country Bash on July 2 and 3. Lee Brice headlines the Friday night lineup, while Jon Pardi and Brett Young take the stage Saturday. Patrons can also enjoy a number other performers throughout each day.

Riverview Music Festival: This event will feature local and national performers on Sept. 4. at Riverview Park in Des Moines. Organizers haven't announced ticket information or names yet, but you can follow along on social media for upcoming announcements.

Saturday in the Park: Sioux City's annual music event headlines John Fogerty, songwriter and well-known member of Creedence Clearwater Revival. The two-day festival takes place July 2 and 3. Best of all, admission is free.

Note: The popular Hinterland Music Festival in St. Charles is almost completely sold out, but there are some one-day passes available. Find them here.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony will perform its first in-person concert in 15 months at the Riverloop Amphitheater in Waterloo. Photo: Cedar Falls Tourism


Writer: Michael Morain
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

If you were an orchestra conductor, what music would you choose for your first in-person concert in 15 months?

Jason Weinberger, who leads the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, has chosen some Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, and tossed in Dvorak’s “Slavonic Dances” for good measure, for a free concert on June 12 at Waterloo’s Riverloop Amphitheatre. The program will also feature a piece called “Adoration” by Florence Price (1887-1953), the first Black woman to be widely recognized as a symphonic composer.

Like many of Iowa’s cultural organizations, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony shifted gears during the pandemic to create digital programs to maintain ties with audiences and keep staff employed. The orchestra received more than $60,000 in recovery grants from the Iowa Arts Council, plus an additional $5,000 grant to develop a virtual education program for local elementary students.

But still, there’s nothing like an in-person concert, where the sound waves wash over everyone at once. (The amphitheater’s upper level will be available, by reservation, for socially distanced seating.)

Another concert at the amphitheater is set for July 3, with holiday fireworks, followed by a Sept. 4 performance at the new River Place Plaza Stage in downtown Cedar Falls.
Trout Run Trail in Decorah weaves in and around the bluffs of northeast Iowa. Read our story, "36 Hours in Decorah," to help plan a short weekend there. Photo: Mary Willie


We're hoping the weather cooperates so we can hit some of Iowa's best bike trails this Memorial Day. One of our favorite trails is Trout Run Trail in Decorah, which allows you to start and finish at the Whippy Dip, a popular ice cream shop.

The 11-mile popular paved trail, completed in 2012, is yet another highlight in a town brimming with recreation, such as mountain biking, hiking and paddling one of the Midwest’s premier streams, the Upper Iowa.

You’ll ride along that river in town, but that’s just the start of the stunning variety you’ll find in a relatively short distance. Head along the north end of downtown overlooking the river, then follow its bend along the edge of town, through parks, before entering the countryside views.

This is where the fun starts, flanking the creek and heading out to another major tourist draw: the Decorah eagles’ nest that overlooks the fish hatchery about 5 miles into the trip. The famous bald eagles are known around the world because a camera is mounted near the nest and broadcasts live online.

Rest up, because the next 5 miles are a fun challenge: steep hills through pasturelands that have you rolling up and down switchbacks.

You get the whole story of the area right here—agriculture, trout streams, the river and its bluffs. Once you hit the home stretch rolling into town, that ice cream reward is within a mile.
Musician Edie Brickell and actor Steve Martin created "Bright Star," a musical that Theatre Cedar Rapids will perform on the Brucemore Mansion courtyard in June. Photo: Theatre Cedar Rapids


Take in the sights of the historic Brucemore Mansion courtyard (2160 Linden Drive S.E. in Cedar Rapids) while enjoying local theater. Theatre Cedar Rapids will present two shows outdoors this summer: "Little Women," which is running now through June 6, and "Bright Star," which opens June 18 and runs through July 3.

"Little Women" is an adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, telling the story of four sisters and their passage from childhood to women. The performance is almost sold out, but organizers have added a showtime for 7:30 p.m. today. The second show, "Bright Star," features a literary editor who meets a young soldier home from World War II, bringing back emotions from losing her child. She then goes on a journey to understand her past.

Find more information and buy tickets here.
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