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    World Food Festival 2011

    October 5th, 2011

    If there is just one thing that you can say Des Moines has an abundance of it would have to be restaurants.  It’s almost a problem because it makes it so hard to pick a place to go out to eat.  It’s always a tough decision to decide between hitting up one of your favorite local restaurants, or branching out and trying something new.  Well if you’re the type of person who inevitably winds up choosing what you know rather than trying something new and feels guilty that, then this weekend would be a great time to get on out to the East Village for the 7th annual World Food Festival.

    Times: Friday Oct. 7: 11 am – 10 pm
    Saturday Oct. 8: 11 am – 10 pm
    Sunday Oct. 9: 11 am – 5 pm

    This unique festival is held as a partnership with the World Food Prize Foundation which we talked about a bit more in our blog last year when they were in town.  Basically the internationally lauded prize is awarded to the person of the year responsible for the most vital breakthrough in making significant and measurable contributions to improving the worlds food supply.  In honor of that the World Food Festival in Des Moines was created to honor Iowa’s rich agricultural heritage.  The festival highlights 30 local shops, making family recipes,  each with their own ethnic flair with food ranging from American, Bosnia, the Caribbean, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Greece, Hawaii, India, Mesopotamia, Mexico, Morocco, Russia, Salvador and Turkey.  Stealing a play out of McDonald’s playbook all these merchants will be offering taste tests of their food for a dollar a piece.  Once you find something you love all full plates are five dollars or less.

    Food might be the best reason to visit, but it isn’t the only reason to be checking out the festival this weekend.  Live music all day long, cooking demonstrations from local chefs teaching new cooking techniques, salsa dance lessons, the chance to pet an alligator….. there’s certainly plenty to keep you occupied.  For a full run-down on events check out their website:  http://www.worldfoodfestival.org

    So give your taste buds a road trip and come check out this festival in the East Village of Des Moines!

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    Labor Day Weekend 2011

    September 1st, 2011

    Labor day weekend, the time of the year more typically associated with a three day weekend than the symbolic end of summer. But that’s what it marks… a transitionary period between summer and fall. So what better way to celebrate the passing of the seasons than with one final summer hurrah?

    Earlier this year we talked about Gray’s Lake in one of our blog posts. Going back to revisit that idea there is really no better way to enjoy the last days of summer than by spending time outdoors.  With fishing, swimming, and watercraft rental available (paddleboats, canoes, sailboats, kayaks and hydro bikes to name a few) if you want some fun on the lake this place just can’t be beat. More information can be found here: http://www.dmgov.org/Departments/Parks/Pages/Parks.aspx

    If the beach is more your thing there are a couple of options in the area to catch some rays. Over in West Des Moines is a great park with a nice beach, Raccoon River Park. This park boasts a 700 foot beach open for swimming, but you’ll want to get there early to grab a prime spot because it is a pretty popular place. If your interested in more information, or just interested in finding a nice quieter park to do some grilling and relaxing, a list of parks with some more informatoin can be found here: http://www.wdm.iowa.gov/Index.aspx?page=198

    If that seems like it might be too many people for you then you may want to check out Saylorville Lake, located just north of Johnston. Used more for boating than anything, it still has a great beach area. More information can be found here: http://www2.mvr.usace.army.mil/Saylorville/

    If that’s not your thing then there are a couple of events coming into town that you might want to look into. Out at Sleepy Hollow Sports Park the Des Moines Renaissance Fair kicks off this weekend for the 6th year in a row. Glass blowers, blacksmiths, potters, wood carvers, jugglers, musicians, and comedians all overlooked by a giant castle. If your looking for the best Renaissance Fair in Iowa you’ve found it. If nothing else the giant turkey legs have me sold!

    The other event coming into town is the Hy-Vee Triathalon. Do you know anyone running in it and want to help support them? For more information on watching the race check this out: http://www.hy-veetriathlon.com/spectators/spectator-info-maps.aspx

    So whether you’re in the water, on the beach, in a castle or watching form the sidelines, have fun and enjoy the holiday!

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    Des Moines Hot Spots

    July 7th, 2010

    Looking for somewhere historic? Somewhere you can shop, eat, catch some music, walk around and enjoy a drink, all in one place? Historic Valley Junction is your answer.

    Valley Junction has all sorts of options for your shopping experience, from Frackleberrys, which features an eclectic mix…greeting cards and gifts to home accessories and accents. As well as art from the fun and funky, to traditional and bold metal works and even a few local artists. Another local favorite in the Valley Junction is Atomic Garage, featuring vintage clothing ranging from prom dresses and tuxes to platform shoes. All of which can be purchased or rented for a special occasion.

    If your hungry, there are all sorts of options. The longest Yard, a place where you can grab a burger and fries while checking out the game, or you can head to The Tavern, featuring pizza and pasta. And afterwards, Nan’s Nummies is a great place to cure that sweet tooth and grab some fresh bakery items.

    The Junction also features several art galleries you can parouse, and the Theatrical Shop is always worth a visit.

    Also, if the Downtown Farmers market is a little too early in the morning for you to check out, Valley Junction has a great one of their own, every Thursday from 4:00 -8:00pm, with Live Music every Thursday from 6:00-8:30pm.

    So, next time your trying to think of something to do Des Moines and want a place where you can do it all in one place, we suggest Valley Junction.

    For more information on Valley Junction, the shops and restaurants or directions check out their website:
    www.valleyjunction.com

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