5 Things

It’s a weekend of celebrating community. Celebrate the tradition of homecoming, the corn harvest the community’s diversity, all packed into one weekend. It’s also a celebration of local food with a special dinner as well as a homecoming for an author with local ties.

1. The 2019 ¡VIVA! Ottumwa festival is a celebration of the community’s diversity. Head over to the Jimmy Jones Shelter in Ottumwa Park from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday for a day of dance, music, food, drinks and activities for all ages. The festival will feature musicians, dance troops and food vendors representing cultures from Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Philippines. For more information, contact Shilo Seim at 641-455-8223 or sseim@marketonmainottumwa.com.

2. Cheer on the Bulldog football team Friday night as they battle Mt. Pleasant for a Homecoming victory. Varsity kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Schafer Stadium. Break out your red and white and celebrate the home team.

3. Enjoy a unique dining experience Friday evening with Field to Fork in the Canteen Alley. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres begin at 6 p.m. with a four-course meal following. The meal highlights local and regional dishes and products. Proceeds from the dinner support the American Gothic Performing Arts Festival and Main Street Ottumwa. Tickets are $75 per person with VIP tickets, including reserved parking, prime seats and a special gift, available for $100 (VIP available in tables of eight only). Reservations and payment can be made at www.americangothicfest.org, by calling 641-777-0894 or at the front desk of Hotel Ottumwa.

4. Head over to Blakesburg this weekend to celebrate the annual Corn Carnival, which runs Friday through Sunday. There will be events such as music in the park, a petting zoo, cake walks, raffles, a tractor pull and more. Bingo in the Burg will be held at Blakesburg Elementary School Cafeteria, 407 S. Wilson, on Saturday. Doors open at 2 p.m. and games start at 3 p.m. Loose meat sandwiches, hot dogs and homemade ice cream and pie will be for sale. The carnival will culminate with Community Church in the park at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. A lunch will follow, and those planning to attend are invited to bring a dish to share.

5. The American Gothic House is hosting its former resident, “Pie Lady” Beth Howard. She will be on hand from 2-3 p.m. Saturday to celebrate the paperback, second edition of her memoir, “Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie.” Howard will speak about the book, her time living in the American Gothic House and what she’s been up to since she moved. Following the presentation, she will hold a book signing, and, of course, pie will be served. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the American Gothic House Center that day as well. For more information, contact Kelly Westman at 641-652-3352 or theamericangothichouse@gmail.com.

Features Editor Tracy Goldizen can be reached via email at tgoldizen@ottumwacourier.com or followed on Twitter @CourierTracy.

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Tracy Goldizen is the Courier's features and magazine editor, leading production of the award-winning "Ottumwa Life" and the Courier's other magazine offerings. She began work with the Courier on the copy desk.

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