Iowa State Fair

Do you have a favorite genre of music? Do you ever want to go hear a certain artist? Sometimes in Iowa it is hard to find a concert to go to. Usually, in the summer you can find many venues where concerts are held. One of my favorite venues is the Iowa State Fair.

The Iowa State Fair takes place in Des Moines, Iowa and lasts for about two weeks before school is back in session. I have been to the fair several times but have only went to a concert at the fair once. Last summer I went to the Jake Owen concert at the fair. This concert was a smaller concert but the pit area was wide open so anyone could walk down and join in. This was nice because then you were closer to the performer and you could dance around with everyone. The sound quality was great and Jake Owen was amazing. The concert in general was very enjoyable and of course with it being in the summer it made the country feel of things more real.

Country music isn’t the only genre of music performed at the Iowa State Fair. The schedule mixes up the genres so a variety of people attend. Another great feature of the fair is that not only can you go to the concert while you’re there but you can enjoy all the farm animals the fairgrounds bring in. Also, there are carnival rides, face paint, a bunch of fried food, and more. The fair in general is a fun time even if you don’t have a concert to be at.

One neat addition to my experience at the fair was the time I went to the Jake Owen concert with my friends. We were sitting at a restaurant before the concert filling our tummies and these radio announcers came up to us offering us four backstage passes to The Cadillac Three. We of course took them and got to meet The Cadillac Three before the concert. It was cool watching them perform as an opening act after meeting them.

The Iowa State Fair is truly an exciting time of the summer in Iowa. If you ever get the chance to visit the state fair I highly suggest it. You will eat foods you have never eaten before and pet pets you have never felt before. Plus the state fair is a nice little get-a-way before school starts again.

Adventure Land

“You are going to love it at Adventureland.”

Adventureland is an amusement park in Des Moines, Iowa. This amusement park is quite big, having lots of rides to ride and things to see. I have only been to this park once in my life with two of my good friends. The time we went was the summer after 7th grade. Jane, my friend had her mom drive us up to the park. The drive was not bad, only two hours. When we made it to Adventureland we went to some easy rides to start out with. As the day grew longer we ventured to some more scary rides. As a matter of fact, I think we went down all the rides with the exception of the space shot one. The space shot ride was a straight up and down pole with people being dropped and raised back up from a high height. I was not a fan of this one, but my friends Jane and Page went right ahead. After we had enough time on all the rides we walked over to Adventure Bay. Adventure Bay was the water park portion of the park. You’re probably thinking wow the park has roller coasters and watersides, how cool. Yes, the variety is great because you may like water slides better then roller coasters like me.

I would prefer going down a water slide over a roller coaster any day. There is no specific reason behind this, I just like the feeling of water better I guess. Anyways, there isn’t as much to do at the water park then there is at the amusement park. After about two hours we headed out for some pizza at a local pizza shop surrounding the park. The pizza we ate was delicious as we all played the games at the pizza place to entertain us. The drive home had come, the two hours back was going to be a long nap for all of us. We all got cuddly and in no time the car had come to a complete stop and we were back in Cedar Rapids.

Everyone had a great day and I would love to go back sometime, maybe next summer. I highly suggest if you are ever in Des Moines to stop over at Adventureland and enjoy a fun filled day.

Lost Island

Half way across the United States, Iowa is located. In Iowa there are a limited amount of things to do. In the summer I am always looking for activities to participate in and fun places to go. One place I visit every summer is Lost Island Water park.

Lost Island Water park is found in Waterloo, a 45 minute drive from Cedar Rapids where I live. When I was little my dad would always take my brother, my friend Carlie, and I there. We would pack the car at 9:30 in the morning with all our pool stuff and a picnic for lunch. Then we would arrive at the Water park 15 minutes after it opened so the lines wouldn’t be long. After we entered the park, Carlie and I would run wild and go adventure down every slide. Our favorite slide was the “tornado.” The tornado slide was blue and white striped and had a big drop. At first I was scared of the drop but after riding it a couple of times I got use to it. Three or four hours would pass by and then we would go out to our car to eat lunch. Our lunch consisted of a subway sandwich, chips, cheese sticks, and other snacks. Soon enough lunch was all consumed and we were ready to get on our way to sliding down some more slides. The day went by fast and before we knew it, 5’o clock had come and it was time to go home.

Year after year we would revisit the park until both my brother and I grew old enough to drive. Now a days, I drive up to Lost Island with my friends and we spend the day together. Last summer I went with Noah, Jordan, and Tyler. We all packed into an expedition and made the trip. Everyone enjoyed a fun day and we even stopped at our favorite chain restaurant Culver’s on the way home. Stopping at Culver’s made for a great memory as Noah, the driver dropped his keys in the trash can and we couldn’t find them for a good 20 minutes. Other then that incident the trip went smooth and we all agree’d we needed to go again the next summer.

If you ever visit Iowa and need something fun to do for the day, go to Lost Island Water park. It may not be the best water park in the world, but it sure is the best water park in Iowa.

Prarie Du Chien, Wisconsin

Every summer I look forward to hanging out with friends, dance camp, visiting Chicago, laying out at the pool, going to concerts, and my birthday. August 9th is my birthday and I always like to do something fun for it. This last summer my friend, Julia texted me two days before my birthday and asked if I would like to join her at Country on the River in Prarie Du Chien, Wisconsin. Now country is my favorite type of music and I would do anything to be a “southern girl.”

As soon as I asked for permission from my mom, I responded to Julia with a huge “YES!” Before I knew it she picked me up and we were on our way to Wisconsin for the big country music fest. When we arrived at the house they had been renting out for the weekend, I was kind of skeptical as they named it the “frat” house. There was nothing bad about it, the house included a homey feel and had several beds. Other then that we were living like country people with one bathroom and a small kitchen. This isn’t anything to complain about, the house was perfect for the amount of time we needed it for.

On the way to the concert we took Julia’s parents jeep and packed about four people over the limit in it. The car ride to the concert was crazy enough as the parents already had their “party” on. When we got to the gravel parking lot we met up with the other kids we knew from school. It was fun all meeting up and getting pumped up for the concert together. We then went into the venue and before we knew it, the lead acts were starting. The two main performers we got to watch were Dierks Bently and Randy Houser. Both acts were great. I have never had a better concert experience. The crowd was packed with hundreds of people surrounding you in every direction and the mud up against your body was fantastic. The whole floor to the concert was dirt which made my cowgirl boots very dusty.

After the concert we took the jeep full of people to Culvers and ordered a gigantic meal while we mingled with the other people getting food as well. The whole time was a blast and I’m looking forward to next year’s experience. Last year I only attended one day but I now know I should do all three days. I’m more then excited, so if you’re a country fan I highly suggest you go to Country on the River.

Des Monies, Iowa

The biggest city you will find in Iowa is Des Moines. This city is the capital of Iowa with a population of 611, 549 people. Des Monies is considerably greater then any other city in the state of Iowa. Does this make Des Moines the best? In my opinion, yes the population of a city definitely impacts the city in general.

In Des Moines you can find numerous events to attend and activities to participate in. Some examples are the Wells Fargo Arena, Iowa Events Center, Iowa State Capitol Building, Living History Farms, Art Center, Botanical Garden, Drake Stadium, Blank Park Zoo, State Historical Center, Science Center of Iowa, and many more. All of these sites bring many tourists to the city. Also, a lot of these places make up for some fun field trips while in school. When I was in 5th grade my class got to visit the Capitol Building and Living History Farms all in one day. Both were pretty neat to see but the Capitol Building was by far my favorite. The Capitol Building had great architecture and we got to view several rooms where all the decisions take place.

Another great part about Des Monies that attracts my attention is the mall and all the surrounding stores. Des Moines includes Jordan Creek, a decent size mall with department stores and chain stores on the outskirts of it. Every time I drive down to Des Moines I always make at least one trip to Jordan Creek. Jordan Creek is 10 times better then the mall we have here in Cedar Rapids and it even trumps the mall that is a half hour away in Iowa City, Coralridge. Jordan Creek even includes a Cheesecake Factory, my absolute favorite restaurant ever.

Lastly, Des Moines is where the state activities for almost every sport is held. In my situation, state dance takes place in the Wells Fargo Arena. For the past three years I have went to Des Moines on the first weekend in December to compete at the state dance competition with the Kennedy Dance Team. We stay downtown in a hotel close to the venue and get to enjoy the downtown area. This state competition consists of over 200 teams and without the Wells Fargo Arena, I have no clue who would host it in Iowa.

Des Moines really does have some great values to it and represents our state capitol well. I recommend if you ever come to Iowa, visit Des Moines. Spend a couple days there as you will not run out of things to do.

Minneapolis, MN

For the past three years I have been a part of dance team at Kennedy High School. Being a part of the team includes competing at four competitions. These competitions are Iowa, Stack the Stands, State, and Regionals. The Regional competition is our furthest travel from home. We drive from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Minneapolis, Minnesota. I would have to say the Regional dance competition is my favorite.

At regionals we get to drive up a day before competing and go shopping at the Mall of America. Shopping is my hobby, I could shop in any city or town I visit. The only catch to this competition is that it lands right after Christmas. Basically, you receive all your Christmas gifts and then you get a bunch more gifts the week after. Funny how it works out this way.

First off when shopping at the Mall of America, you have to plan out your time because there is 4 levels to the mall. There is no way you could possibly make it through every store in six or less hours. The stores I visit are Aerie, BCBG, Buckle, DSW, Free People, Francesca’s, H&M, Lucky Brand, Lululemon,  Nike, Nordstrom, PacSun, The Body Shop, Tilly’s, Urban Outfitters, and Victoria Secret. All these stores really interest me because most of them are stores Cedar Rapids doesn’t have. Shopping at stores out of state is always nice due to not everyone having the chance of having the same outfit as you.

After the long day of shopping our team always stops to eat around 6:30 at the Rainforest Café. Here we all get to enjoy a nice meal before going back to the hotel to get a good nights rest. Then before you know it, competition day has arrived. Our team wakes up early to get ready for the long day. Usually, we compete our jazz routine in the early afternoon and then our pom routine will be performed later that night. In between routines we get some time to finish up our last minute shopping we didn’t’ get to the day before.

The trip is planned out pretty swiftly and consists of a lot of exercise so you have to be in the mood. Your feet will hurt and your body will get hungry but you have to keep going. Shopping is the best part of the trip other then the two other performances. Next time you’re visiting Minnesota take a trip to the biggest mall in America.

Atlanta, GA

Surprises are always arising. My brother was on the competitive lego league team in fourth grade. He went to a couple competitions, racing lego robots. My brother, Quinn and the rest of his team had to compute the robots to go through certain obstacles in a certain time limit and give a presentation. As Quinn’s robotic team entered various competitions they would do decent considering they weren’t very experienced. Then it came  down to the teams last competition in Ames. The team was competing for a chance to go to Atlanta, Georgia and “perform” at the lego league nationals.

As the crowd was cheering, shouting, and being great fans the robot ended with a good time and outstanding performance. Before we knew it, the judges tallied up the scores for the day and the robotics team from Viola Gibson Elementary School-where Quinn attended-won. Our fans were overly excited we would be taking a trip to Georgia for nationals.

Now, with my family we can barely take a vacation without touching the white sandy beach. My parents quickly searched for the nearest beach to Atlanta and we found Panama City to be our best bet. We booked our flights and our 5 day stay at the beach before the big national competition.

My family flew into the Atlanta airport and from there we rented a van and drove to Panama City, Florida. It wasn’t quite the best arrangement to drive all that way but we made it work. When we got to Panama City we walked into our condo where we stayed, opened the screen door and instantly could listen to the most relaxing music of all time, the ocean. My favorite memory is how the trip was very laid back by waking up everyday, eating waffles and then laying out on the beach for 6 hours.

The days went fast and our five days had been up. It was competition time. We drove back to Atlanta, met up with the lego team and enjoyed some Georgian cooked meals. The competition was a couple days and as they competed they didn’t place very high but the most important part of all was how close our teammates got with the Brazilian team who had came. Brazil had there lego team stationed next to ours and it was a good experience meeting new people.

The whole Atlanta, Georgia experience was very memorable and I would love to go back to Panama City someday. Atlanta was more of a one time, city thing. I suggest Panama City to all who want to relax on a Northern Florida beach.