The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 22, 2013

Downtown preparing for lively fall


"It's not a huge thing, it's not a fundraiser, it's just to get people involved," he said. "My hope is some of the hundreds of people who work downtown every day will be engaged this way."

The next event on the calendar is Margaritas on Main on Aug. 29. The event launched last year and ended up being MSO's biggest fundraiser for the entire year.

It even won the award for best fundraising event in the state at Main Street Iowa's celebration in May.

The event includes, of course, margaritas as well as "heavy hors d'oeuvres" and a silent and live auction. This year, a women's mariachi band will be added to the mix.

"It ends up producing about 10 percent of our annual budget," Untiedt said.

Two days later, the sixth annual Walk on Art Street will be held downtown.

Untiedt said 28 artists have signed up to display their crafts, but he's most excited about the kids' activities.

"We have a lot of really good stuff for kids, too," he said. "We're having belly dancers, African drumming, different art stuff. I actually want to go and just be 12 years old."

Finally, MSO will hold the third annual History Walk, this year in the 300 block of East Main Street. Actors will represent well-known Ottumwans from 1929, who will describe downtown Ottumwa as it was back then.

This is Untiedt's first fall as the new MSO executive director since he began in February, and he said it's the organization's busiest season.

"The upside of it is this really is a very strong volunteer-led organization, so I don't have to manage every detail," he said.

In an average year, Untiedt said MSO has around 100 volunteers.

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