The Ottumwa Courier

June 19, 2014

Five things to do in southeast Iowa this weekend

Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — Celebrate summer this weekend at any number of outdoor events and activities. Make plans to be at the fairgrounds, on the water, on a bike or tasting some great barbecue as you enjoy that beautiful Iowa sunshine.

1. You know it's summer when you're making plans to head to the Wapello County Fair. Friday night is the demo derby in the grandstand, and Saturday and Sunday are both packed with kids' events, livestock shows and lots of great food. Saturday evening's grandstand concerts will be Mitch Goudy, Diana Upton Hill and Rodney Atkins. On Sunday, enjoy the car show, ranch rodeo and the auto races. For a complete schedule of events, visit

2. FAIRfest, the free three-day music and literary festival, will be in full swing beginning Friday evening in Fairfield. Iconic band Los Lobos will headline Friday's concerts, one of 40 bands spanning several stages through Sunday evening. From nationally known groups to great local talent, the weekend will be full of music, entertainment and vendors. For the band lineup and schedule of events, visit

3. Hedrick Barbecue Days kicks off with a sidewalk chalk contest at 1 p.m. Friday, and Hedrick firemen will serve barbecue pork sandwiches at 5 p.m. with the American Legion Auxiliary ice cream social at the Legion Hall. Other Friday activities include Barnyard Billy, Hedrick train, stick horse races, kiddie tractor pull and a pie-baking contest. All activities will be held on Main Street. The Drifters Car Club and Odyssey Music will be hosting the Classic Car Cruise-In. A family dance will be held from 7-9 p.m., and fireworks will blast off at dark, followed by a family movie in City Park. Saturday begins with the American Legion breakfast at 7 a.m. with the Fox Trot Run and Walk (5K and one mile) at 8 a.m. in front of Hedrick Bank. The parade, “Salute to Agriculture,” will begin at 10 a.m., followed by a lunch and quilt display at the Methodist Church. Fireman water games will commence at 11 a.m. To round out the day, the Hedrick Alumni Banquet will be held at 4:30 p.m. at the Carl Craft Civic Center. A community church service will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday at City Park with a potluck to follow.

4. If you're looking for something a little more low-key, try the Wapello County Conservation Board's canoe float down the Des Moines River Saturday. The event will begin at 9 a.m., and the route will be determined by the water flow levels on the river. There is a registration fee, and participants are allowed to bring their own canoe or kayak. To register or for more information, call 641-682-3091.

5. Bike the Byway allows riders the opportunity to travel nearly 50 miles of the Historic Hills Scenic Byway and explore several area communities. Registration will be from 7-9 a.m. Saturday at Market on Main, and the route will go through Ottumwa, Blakesburg, Unionville, Drakesville and Bloomfield. There is a fee to participate, and the event includes free admission to Blakesburg's Air and Power Museum and a stop at Lake Wapello State Park.

— Follow reporter Laura Carrell on Twitter @CourierLauraC