It’s the weekend of the Canteen as the second annual World Championship Canteen Eating Contest makes its way downtown. While several events revolve around the competition, there are a few others, many designed with the family in mind, to make your way to as well.
1. The big event this weekend is the World Championship Canteen Eating Contest at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Canteen Alley. The lineup includes professional eaters such as 2018 champion Gideon Oji and No. 1-ranked Joey Chestnut as well as several local competitors. Competitors will eat as many canteens as they can in the 10-minute contest as they vie for the title of champion. Autographs will follow the contest. In addition, JBS has teamed with contest organizers to host an amateur Porkchop Eating Contest, which will begin at 12:45 p.m. in the alley, to warm up the crowd.
However, there’s more to the event than the contest. To kick off festivities, Bikes, Burgers and Brews will be held from 5-9 p.m. Friday with live music, drinks and burgers from the Canteen Lunch in the Alley being served in the Canteen Alley. Several eating contestants will be in attendance and signing T-shirts.
Events continue with Main Street Madness Saturday. The street fair of crafters, small business and food trucks will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the vicinity of the Canteen Alley.
For more information, contact Main Street Ottumwa or visit the organization’s Facebook page.
2. Upstairs Downtown returns to Ottumwa. This annual event has been expanded to include two dates, 5-8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, and has been timed to include crowds from the eating contest. The ticketed event allows the public to see the possibilities and progress of upper-story projects throughout the downtown district. This event is also hosted by Main Street Ottumwa.
3. You don’t have to head downtown to get family entertainment. Hills Fest will run from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on the main campus of Indian Hills Community College. Things get going at 5:30 p.m. with booths, and IHCC bookstore sidewalk sale, bounce houses, carnival games, the C1st train, food trucks and face painting and balloon animals by Desi Payne. A duck drop is set for 7 p.m. with a glow run 5K at 8:30 p.m. In case of inclement weather, events will be moved to the Hellyer Student Life Center and the Tom Arnold Net Center. For more information, visit www.indianhills.edu/hillsfest.
4. It’s time for the third annual summer party hosted by Ottumwa’s Old School Pinball and Arcade. The event is a fundraiser for Sieda Community Action’s school supply and backpack drive program, which helps kids and families in need with basic school supplies. Friday is ‘80s night with an ‘80s costume contest, Saturday will be ‘90s day, again with a costume contest, and Sunday is come as you are. Hours are 3-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit the Ottumwa’s Old School Pinball and Arcade Facebook page.
5. Despite the recent rains, the Wapello Chiefs Bowmans Club 3D shoot is going on as planned. The shoot will run Saturday and Sunday, and boots are encouraged as the course will be muddy. The course is at 1999 140th Ave., Bloomfield (about three miles south of Ottumwa). For more information, visit www.wapellochiefsbowmen.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Features Editor Tracy Goldizen can be reached via email at email@example.com or followed on Twitter @CourierTracy.