by Katie Mills Giorgio
We may be half way through 2018, but the Main Street Districts of Linn County have a whole lot of fun packed into the second half of the year. Get ready to mark your calendar for these exciting events. You won’t want to miss out!
Central City Mainstreet District
It wouldn’t be summer without a visit to a farmer’s market. Stop by Courtyard Park any Thursday afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. to stock up on delicious fresh produce from local growers. It’s a great place to chat with visitors and residents alike. The July 26th market will also feature a health expo.
The 4th of July is a big deal in any small town and Central City is no different. The day will be filled with all sorts of patriotic activities capped off with an evening of fireworks.
Stop by Courtyard Park for some great live music during Central City LIVE. On July 13th, the Mississippi String Brand with play bluegrass music. Then on July 27th, Flex will play alternative rock and grunge music from the 90s and 2000s. The event, which runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m. is free and guests are encouraged to bring their own seating.
Then, the annual Oktoberfest celebration on October 13th is sure to offer all the makings of a great festival: plenty of food, drinks and entertainment — including a German band.
More events at: Central City Mainstreet
Czech Village-New Bohemia Main Street District
There’s a giant, one-of-a-kind extravaganza coming to Cedar Rapids and it’s all taking place in the heart of the Czech Village-New Bohemia Main Street District. NewBo Evolve, a multi-faceted event, will celebrate the creative bohemian spirit through music, art, fashion, dance, food and technology. Headlining concerts by Kelly Clarkson and Maroon Five are exciting draws. The event will also include the annual NewBo Arts Festival where you can connect with local artisans and hear music by acclaimed local musicians. NewBo Evolve will run from August 3rd through the 5th.
Get your appetite ready for Dine the District, Main Street’s Restaurant Week celebration. Stop by various restaurants to sample the best bites local chefs have to offer. The week-long food fest, which runs from September 14th to September 23rd, also includes three main events. BrewNost, the annual fundraising beer festival of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, will be held on September 14th. Room with a Brew, planned for September 21st, allows those interested in living in the district the opportunity to check out housing opportunities while grabbing a tasting of craft brews. And CzechFest, on September 23rd, allows visitors to immerse themselves in a fall festival with a Czech flair.
The district gets into the spooky spirit as well. Don’t miss the annual Halloween Parade that creeps through NewBo and heads across the river into Czech Village. Break out your costume to watch the night time parade on October 27th.
As the holidays roll in, the district gets decked out. Deck the District which runs from November 30th to December 2nd, features a variety of family-friendly winter activities including horse drawn carriage rides, open houses at local shops, a holiday themed market and live music. Local businesses compete in a window decorating contest that delights visitors as well.
More events in Czech Village-New Bohemia
Mount Vernon – Lisbon Community Development Group
Lincoln Highway Nitty Gritty is a fantastic way to spend the 4th of July. The whole center of Mount Vernon is transformed into a huge antique market where you can find one-of-a-kind items sold by vendors from all over the country. There’s repurposed pieces and architectural salvage finds galore. The event, which continues to grow each year, draws in about 12,000 visitors and runs from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine.
Just a week later check out all the excitement during the annual Heritage Days celebration. Activities take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (July 12th through the 14th) and include a parade, live music, kids’ activities and fireworks.
Foodies will want to take note of Mount Vernon’s Restaurant Week. Planned for September 14th through the 23rd, this event is meant to allow residents and visitors alike to get to know the savory talents of the local culinary artists. Save room for the annual Chili Cook Off that takes place October 13th.
As the weather cools down and Christmas approaches, plan to experience all the wonder offered during Magical Night. Set for November 29th from 5 to 8 p.m., this evening event lives up to its name. Wander downtown among the twinkling lights enjoying caroling and cocoa. You might spot a reindeer and you can take a trolley ride around town.
More to do in Mount Vernon
Uptown Marion: A Main Street Iowa District
The City of Marion celebrates its heritage in a big way at the annual Swamp Fox Festival. The event, named for the founder of Marion who earned the nickname “swamp fox”, will be held on September 29th this year in and around City Square Park. There will be a fall market, the Swamp Fox 5K, a pancake breakfast and the ever-popular Swamp Fox Parade.
If you are a chocolate lover then don’t miss out on the annual Chocolate Walk in Uptown Marion on October 5th from 8 to 10:30 p.m. You’ll be sampling chocolate treats from nearly 30 restaurants and businesses. Plus, there’s live music and other shopping to be had while you stroll around the historic district.
Then get in the holiday spirit with Christmas in the Park and the Peppermint Walk. Held the evening of December 7th, the event welcomes Santa, and all the holiday cheer, to Marion. Santa arrives by firetruck and greets kids from 4 to 8 p.m. Shoppers can also stop in all of the local shops and enjoy peppermint treats as you shop.
Get to Uptown Marion for these other events