First of all, let me start by saying how much I love the Clear Lake/Mason City area. Having grown up there, and now having my parents and a lot of my relatives still there, it’s always been home to me. I remember summer evenings driving around the lake in the backseat of my grandparents car, usually with an ice cream cone in hand. I remember beaches and sun and sand between my toes. Most recently, I have memories of taking trips around the lake in my parents’ boat, admiring all of the beautiful lakefront homes, each one unique and distinct.
This weekend, I’m making the trip back for the Clear Lake LakeFest, which is held on the weekend of the 4th Saturday in July each year. (This year, it’s July 22-24, 2016) In case you’re thinking about making the trip also, here is my list of 10 Reasons why you should:
#1. LakeFest weekend combines three big events all into ONE weekend– the Clear Lake Art Sail, the Iowa Storytelling Festival, and Lakeside Dixifest. Have the opportunity to enjoy music, arts and literature all in one location and in one weekend.
#2. To view 85 artists and crafts people participating in the Clear Lake Art Sail, which is in its 39th year. It’s always amazing to see the work of talented artists from all over the country, all willing to share their works with us in small town Iowa. Medias will include painting, sculpture, photography, jewelry and so much more.
#3. To attend book signings by several local authors, including one I am really looking forward to seeing. Mason City author Peggy Bang (pictured below) who authored a book about the house she lives in, titled “The Melson House Revealed: An Owner’s Perspective.” Peggy and her husband still live in this house, and the book chronicles the history and restoration of the Mason City home many refer to as “The Castle.” I’m also anxious to see her because I’m pretty darn sure this is the same Peggy Bang that I had for an art teacher at Hoover Elementary many years ago.
#4. To see Des Moines author Carson Ode, a man after my own heart because of his love for the state we call home. Carson is the author of “Celebrate Iowa“, “Iowa- Spaces, Places, Faces” and “Iowa Culture – Past & Present.” All of them document his extensive Iowa travel background. He’s been to every Iowa county and has so many personal stories to share– and I’m really looking forward to talking to him.
#5. So you can spend a beautiful weekend (seriously, the weather will be perfect!) finding out all the amazing things Clear Lake has to offer. The possibilities are endless!
#6. To get your face painted. It’s not just for kids, after all.
#7. So you can go back to work on Monday and tell your co-workers you got to ride on a “Ghost Boat.” Friday night at 9:00pm, the Ghost Boat departs on the Lady of the Lake Paddle Boat. Cruise the lake and listen to scary ghost stories. Sounds like a great night– but only intended for ages 10 & up.
#8. To take advantage of 12 hours of Dixieland Jazz — FREE. That’s right– Saturday night from 6-9pm and Sunday from 12pm-9pm, hear the toe-tapping jazz sounds from such groups as Raiders of the Lost Art, Blue Ox Jazz Babies, Reuben Ristrom & the Bourbon Street Boys and more.
#9. To see children’s author Karen Carr, another Mason City author. Karen writes children’s books such as The Many Hats of Jeramiah Porter and My Hot Air Balloon.
#10. To spend your weekend in beautiful City Park, located in downtown Clear Lake.
Photos of LakeFest 2015 used with permission from the Clear Lake Art Center.