Christmas Time in #MasonCityIA

The weather is cool, people are jolly and snow is on the ground….yes, it’s that time of year,  it’s Christmas time! Mason City, is full of festive events this time of year, from holiday lights to joyous performance that will be sure to give you that warm, tingly feeling this holiday season!

 ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas’

November 25- December 30, 2016

Music Man Square, 308 S. Pennsylvania Ave.

The longest running Christmas display in ALL OF IOWA, takes place right here in River City! In celebration of the holiday season the Music Man Square in transformed into a winter wonderland. Admire beautiful Christmas décor, trees, and window displays all alone the a 1912 Streetscape, with an ice cream  parlor and gift shop!  Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 1pm-5m & Friday 1pm-8pm. Closed Mondays & Holidays. Admission is $10 adults, $5 students; children 6 & under free.

“Home for the Holiday Lights”

November 26- December 23, 2016

Central Park, Downtown Mason City

Join us for a kickoff to the holidays at the first annual celebration, “Home for the Holiday Lights”! Take a night to admire holiday lights and shop local business in the downtown district of Mason City. The celebration is a multi-week event beginning with the lighting of the Central Park tree at 5:00pm Saturday, November 26. Santa and local dignitaries will be present for the kickoff! Carolers will provide holiday songs for sing-along and refreshments will be available at the event. Throughout the coming weeks people may vote for their favorite business’ Holiday Lights (via Home for the Holiday Lights Facebook Page). Results will be tallied and a trophy awarded to the top vote-getter, on December 23, 2016.

Designs under the Tree Craft Fair 

December 2-3, 2016

Friday: 10am-6pm, Saturday: 10am-4pm

First Covenant Church, 411 S. Ohio Avenue

Shop all your holiday favorites with a portion of the sales being donated to the Humane Society. Seasonal wreaths, silk and fresh evergreen floral, hand-dyed 100% silk scarves, original designed jewelry, cotton and wool quilted designs, tree ornaments, giftware and more!

 Christmas Tea 

December 3, 2016

12:30-2:00pm

The Decker House, 119 2nd St. SE

Enjoy Christmas Tea in a historic building, the Decker House (located next to the Music Man Square). A holiday high tea will be  served featuring 3 settings of scones, savories and desserts. Earl Grey Tea will be served in antique tea cups. Admission $15.00, plus tax. Reserve early for this popular event.

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Joyful Christmas Performances

North Iowa Area Community College Auditorium, 500 College Drive

Broadway performance come to you live in Mason City, Iowa! Get into the Holiday spirit by singing along to festive Christmas performances!

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‘Love for the Holidays’– December 3, 2016 at 7:30pm

Starring Darlene Love , an annual holiday tradition on the David Letterman Show singing her “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” hit song. Hers was the voice that helped launch hundreds of hits including the #1 “He’s a Rebel, (Today I Met) the Boy I’m Gonna Marry”, “A Marshmallow World”, and “He’s Sure the Boy I Love”.

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’– December 6, 2016 at 6:30pm

Rudolph and his friends soar off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. From fleeing the Abominable Snow Monsters to saving Christmas, join Rudolph® and his friends as their adventures teach us that what makes you different can be what makes you special.

Holiday Pops– December 10, 2016 at 2pm & 7pm

From the creator of Candlelight Christmas comes a new locally produced show for the holiday season. Enjoy music from pop to swing with large choral numbers!

Christmas Celebration-  December 20, 2016 at 7:30pm

Four-part harmonies and upbeat songs of The Oak Ridge Boys have spawned dozens of country hits and earned them Grammy®, Dove, CMA, and ACM® awards.

Off the Clock Holiday Edition

December 9, 2016

5:00pm-7:00pm

MacNider Art Museum, 302 2nd St. SE

Mingle with friends  as you explore the beautiful museum filled with a variety of galleries and Bil Baird’s puppets from the ‘ Sound of Music’!  Complimentary wine and appetizers are available throughout the event, in addition to live music by Sam Crosser.  Free admission and open to the public.

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Holiday Open House

December 10, 2016

1:00pm-4:00pm

MacNider Art Museum, 302 2nd St. SE

Family fun free holiday event! Children’s activities available during the event such as meeting Santa Claus, make and take activities and more! Adults, can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the MacNider and view beautiful art and watching their young ones have fun with others!

 

We hope you all have a blessed Holiday Season! For more events and information about Mason City, Iowa >>>  www.visitmasoncityiowa.com

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Cannonball 357 holiday lights are up!

Located in East Park, Mason City Iowa

If you’re from Mason City, IA – You should be Thankful for…

The Holidays are such a special time of the year – from the food, music, full hearts and seeing those relatives you only get to see once a year! But, this year be Thankful for just a few more things, like the great community you live in –  Mason City….

Volunteers in the Community 

Have you ever noticed how clean and kept-up our parks and public areas of the community are? If you haven’t, you definitely should, and you may have more of an appreciation for all the volunteer hours that go into this community. Picking up trash, donations, charity events and walking animals at the Humane Society are all part of giving back. Here at the Visit Mason City Center we’ve been blessed with 1288.50 volunteer hours in just the past year and we are so appreciative of those who volunteer at our office. Volunteering not only helps out the community but it gives you a warm tingly feeling of giving back and even makes you feel better about yourself! If you’re interested in volunteering in Mason City >> Mason City Volunteer Opportunities 

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Volunteers from Mason City Volunteer Center Photo Credit: Mason City Volunteer Center 

Mason City Attractions

Mason City is booming with a variety of great attractions! As a Mason City resident,  have you visited all of the attractions in your community? If not, it’s definitely time!

If you didn’t already know,  Mason City is home to Meredith Wilson, who is the composer of the “Music Man”! The Music Man Square attracts in visitors from all over who are huge fans of Willson’s many works! Have you taken your family there yet? This is such a great day activity to break up the monotony of a Saturday afternoon!

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Mason City is a ‘hot bed’   for world-class architecture. Did you know that we have the largest Prairie-style architecture in the world? In fact, the only remaining Frank Lloyd Wright designed hotel – This Historic Park Inn is located right in the heart of our downtown.  Again, visitors from all over the world travel to Mason City to tour an stay in this one-of-a-kind historic architecture treasure! If you’re looking for a weekend stay, call up a sitter and enjoy weekend in this hotel.  Learn more about Mason City architectural significance

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In addition to musical heritage and remarkable architecture, Mason City offers many other great attractions including Cannonball 457,  Lime Creek Nature Center, and MacNider Art Museum. Click here to learn More! 

The Performing Arts

The North Iowa Performing Arts Series is not only fantastic, but its  affordable and close by! Performances take place at the North Iowa Auditorium located at NIACC. Take a look at the catalog and get tickets to a few shows you want to see, but be quick, tickets sell out fast! Be Thankful that you can see award-winning Broadway shows right here at home!

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Community Events 

Community events are a HUGE part of living in a great community.  From family fun, workshops and fundraisers, events bring everyone together and create fun and a strong community.  Below are a few favorite community events that are held annually in Mason City.

North Iowa Band Festival is what Mason City is ALL ABOUT – this event celebrates our community’s musical heritage!  This annual music festival,  held over Memorial Day Weekend, features free music, entertainment and various types of events for young and the young at heart.  Festivals includes a carnival, craft market, car show and plenty of food for the whole family! The parade is held Saturday with the route starting at North Pennsylvania Avenue, along East State Street to South Illinois.

North Iowa Annual Band Festival

North Iowa Annual Band Festival

Cannonball Day is held in East Park (East State Street), ttraditionally the fourth Saturday of June.  Lots of fun activities during this annual celebration of the Cannonball457: Kid’s Fun Run, Pedal Tractor Pull, Bill Riley  Talent Search, inflatables, Smoky the train rides and evening entertainment. The Lions Club chicken BBQ is held all day from 9:30am-9:30pm – YUM!

Cannonball 457

Cannonball 457

The Great River City Festival is a great kick-off to the Fall season. The festival, hosted by Main Street Mason City, is held at Central Park in Downtown Mason City. The festival is typically held the third weekend of September. Friday enjoy an  Ethnic Lunch during the day and a pub crawl, live music and street vendors in the evening. Saturday, a re-enactment of the Dillinger Bank Robbery is performed at three different times, along with kids games, and the Craft Beer Shindig & Street Food Fair hosted by Mason City Brewing! This is a fun event for families and young adults to engage with their community and have fun with friends!


 It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas is a must-see during the Holiday Season! Held at The Music Man Square, (308 S. Pennsylvania Ave), starting the Friday after Thanksgiving to the last day of December. A lively, animated holiday display features music by composer, and Mason City native, Meredith Wilson, including his holiday classic “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.”

To view all event happenings in #MasonCityIA >> Mason City’s  Calendar of Events 

Remember, to be Thankful this Holiday Season –  We hope you enjoy Thanksgiving with friends and family  and promise us that you’ll eat entirely TOO MUCH FOOD, from all of us at Visit Mason City! 

Halloween Fun In and Nearby Mason City, Iowa

Halloween Fun In and Nearby Mason City, Iowa

I don’t know about you, but Halloween is one of my favorites! From movies such as “Hocus Pocus” to haunted houses and…. the fact that it’s  socially acceptable to dress and be whomever you want on this one day of the year! – I LOVE it all!

If you’re a Halloween Guru like myself,  check out these Halloween favorites in and nearby Mason City Iowa. 

Lime Creek’s Halloween Hike

Lime Creek Nature Center,  3501 Lime Creek Road, Mason City, IA 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016; 6:30pm-8:30pm

Admission: $3/Person 

 

Photo Credit: Lime Creek Nature Center  

Looking for an educational-friendly Halloween event for the whole family to enjoy? Lime Creek Nature Center will host their Halloween Hike on Wednesday, October 26 from 6:30pm-8:30pm. The woods at Lime Creek come alive with all kinds of interesting creatures with  environmental messages to tell. Groups will be led by a trail guide, and refreshments will follow the hike. Youngsters ages 10 and under are invited to participate in a costume contest. Reservations are required, call 641-423-5309 to reserve your spot.  http://bit.ly/2dmwBAu

D&D Ranch Haunted Hike & Zombie Paintball

2532 S. Shore Dr. Clear Lake, IA

Friday/Saturday’s in October – Starting October 7 & 8, 2016; 7pm

Admission: $10/Person -Hike $15 /Person-Paintball


Photo Credit: D&D Haunted Hike 

Haunted Hike 

D & D Ranch is located outside Clear Lake on the homeowners ranch. The Ranch offers a haunted house that is quite amazing! It may be a little frighting for youngsters but recommended for teens and up. Groups start out watching a scary movie while waiting their turn to go into the Haunted Hike. Once called upon groups will be led through the haunted hike by holding onto a rope, then at the end you must complete a haunted maze to get out! Haunted Hike begins at 7pm and ends at 11pm.

Zombie Paintball

Zombies have officially overtaken the Haunted Hike – build your team, board the zombie assault vehicle and eliminate as many zombies as possible! Starting at 7pm you can reserve your group’s spot to partake in Zombie Paintball! Reservations are required (641-357-1695)  www.thedanddranch.com

Rudd’s Haunted House

501 Floyd Street Rudd, IA – Rudd’s Community Center 

Admission: $6/Person – House of Horrors

Children Under the age of 10 – Should be accompanied by an Adult 

Dates: October 21 & 22/ 28 & 29

Time: 6:30pm-10:30pm

 Children Activities: Mini Haunted House: $1/ Game room: .25 cents/ticket

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The Rudd House of Horrors is my ultimate favorite haunted house! I’ve been going to this haunted house annually since the age of 10.  At this haunted house you will definitely get your money’s worth! Filled with terror, fun and chainsaws! After being led by a rope though the maze, enjoy a a bowl of soup, a sandwich, and pop in the kitchen. Also, if you have littles with you, there is a kid’s maze and games in a few of the center’s rooms. This is a great event for youngsters or a night out with your friends!

Boogie & the YoYoz at the Historic Surf Ballroom

Surf Ballroom, 460 N. Shore Dr. Clear Lake, IA

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Admission: $15 advanced/ $20 door (Must be 21)

Looking to get into costume, have some drinks, and listen to live music with friends this Halloween? This may be the perfect fit for you! First of all, soak in the iconic Surf Ballroom the final concert site of Buddy Holly, and one of the last remaining ballrooms in the Midwest. The Ballroom will be dressed up for the occasion, with decorations, drinks and  a costume contest – all while, Boogie & the YoYoz  are performing! Boogie & the YoYoz, is a good time, playing all of your favorite music from all genres. Later in the evening 10-15 people (or costume groups) will be invited up on stage, while the audience cheers for the best costume! Concert goers must be 21 or older. http://www.surfballroom.com

Planning to partake in any of these fun events this Halloween? Be sure to be safe if drinking – Call a cab & book a hotel room for the night! Mason City, IA is centrally located to all of these fun Halloween events. For Mason City lodging accommodations >>>  http://bit.ly/2ddP0Ky

The First Day of Autumn is Here!

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Today is the first day of autumn. I personally love this time of year,  the leaves are changing color, the fresh air is cool against your face, and football games are played on both Saturday & Sunday !

Along with the the beautiful scenery North Iowa has during this season there are many fun activities to do in #MasonCityIA. A personal favorite of mine is exploring the great outdoors.  From Sculptures on  Parade to Lime Creek Nature Center, there are many things to do and see. Below are my top 4 favorite things to do in #MasonCityIA during the Autumn season. 

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River City Sculptures on Parade

The River City Sculptures on Parade are located in various locations in downtown Mason City .Click here to download the River City Sculpture Map 

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The River City Sculptures on  Parade is an exciting exhibit of outdoor sculptures displayed year-round. Delight in the sights and sounds of downtown Mason City while experiencing the unique sculpture works of artists from all over the country. The self guided tour starts in the downtown district and loops through the cultural crescent which includes historical architecture, art museum, public library, and The Music Man Square.

Lime Creek Nature Center 

A public conservation facility nestled atop the limestone bluffs of the Winnebago River. The center features a variety of displays about the wildlife and natural resources of North Iowa. An outdoor amphitheater, hands-on nature displays and over nine miles of trails through prairie, forest and wetland habitat provide remarkable experiences.

East Park

East Park is a beautiful area that offers several children’s playgrounds, shelter houses, a gazebo, and the largest wooden maze in Mason City. Enjoy a scenic walk around the park or have a picnic outing in one of their many shelter houses. 

 

Music Man Footbridge

The bridge is named in honor of Meredith Willson, Mason City native and internationally renowned composer. This bridge spans across Willow Creek and is featured on the Prairie School Architectural Tour/ Historical Walking Tour. 

 The music man footbridge connects 2nd St. SE in Mason City over Willow Creek connecting River Heights Drive and South Connecticut Ave.  

Happy Exploring! 

Friday Night Live, The Great River City Festival, Beer Shindig and More!

If you weren’t in Mason City, Iowa this past weekend you really missed out! From Friday Night Live to the Iowa Independent Film Festival, there was a was a lot of GREAT fun packed into the weekend…! 

Starting with the Ethnic Lunch from 11am to  1pm with lots of vendors in Central Park. Followed by Friday Night Live from 6pm-10pm, beer and food for sale, inflatables for children and a live band – The Chocolate Crackers, And Man, they rocked! Below is a picture of the main vocalist – who stopped by the Visit Mason City selfie station before taking the stage! 

 

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Lead Vocalist (The Chocolate Crackers) stops and take a selfie at the Visit Mason City’s Selfie Station before his performance at Friday Night Live

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Visit Mason City’s booth at Friday Night Live

While the town was celebrating the Great River City Festival, the Iowa Independent Film Festival was being held just next door at the Historic Park Inn on Friday, September 16 – Sunday, September 18.   Public screenings of 30 new feature-length, documentary, short art films, and student productions were shown. Tanna Frederick was present with  her cutting edge virtual reality film which earlier this year was screened at the Sundance festival in Switzerland.

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Saturday was filled with fun –  family activities from 10am-4pm with live music all day, a craft show, photo-booth, root-beer floats, prizes and more!

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The Dillinger bank robbery was reenacted three times on Saturday at 10am, 1pm and 3pm at National City Bank in downtown Mason City. Photo credit of Main Street Mason  City

The annual Craft Beer Shindig and Street Food Fair made for an enjoyable afternoon for manyLots of craft beer, ciders and fried food for all!

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Downtown Mason City – Mason City Brewery Shindig and Street Food Festival

For someone who is not a HUGE fan of craft beer, I enjoyed the event- as there were many ciders that I liked! My favorites were ‘The Grand Mimoso’ and the ‘Pineapple Hulu’ – YUMM!

Downtown was thriving Saturday Night and the street was packed with people! The Quarry and Lorados also had a great turnout out on the Plaza!

If you missed this weekend for whatever reason, be sure to put it on your calendar for next year! Typically, this event is held the third weekend of September. 

Rancho Deluxe – The Original Bicycle Garden

Rancho Deluxe – The Original Bicycle Garden 

500 2ND St. NE 

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I remember this unique and memorable place from a number of years ago, I believe when I  was still a high school student.  My friend told me about this garden in Mason City that was strangely unique with lots of recycled art. She, too was very interested and talented in the field of art – so this garden was of much interest to her. 

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Now, as I head back to  Rancho Deluxe – The Original Bicycle Garden the first thing I notice is how much the garden has grown. Lots of fun art and Mason City history has been incorporated into the garden. 

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Max, the owner and artist  has many visions for the garden, thus, making it a “Hot Spot” for visitors to the community. Some of his future plans consist of making the garden a place for  bicyclists, as there is talk about a bike path extending  behind the garden-on the northeast side of town. The dream is to make this a camping and resting stop for those traveling on two wheels-with live local music played on the stage, brats & beer for sale and much more!

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While talking to Max, he shared that he has many visitors each and every day – lots of motor coach tours making  a point to stop and check it out. On weekends it’s not uncommon  for senior pictures to be taken, family get togethers to happen and on a GREAT day there may be a wedding or two!  – Crazy!

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In 2014 RAGBRAI made an overnight stop in Mason City, IA.  Rancho Deluxe Garden served a camping site for many of the RAGBRAI rides and added a unique twist to their stay in Mason City, IA.  

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The Garden is home to many pieces of Mason City. Such as  bicycle racks from former schools, old school gates and many signs.

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I have to say my favorite part about the Garden is the cement blocks that have been turned into real works of art by both locals and tourists. The cement blocks serve as a blank canvas for many artists. When visitors are at the Garden they can create whatever their imagination has in store for them… they are able to leave just a little bit of their artistic ability for all to see.  The cement blocks are a way for people to release energy into something positive – and they turn out to be amazing works of art. Anyone is free to bring paint and claim a block to create their own masterpiece…in fact, it’s encouraged! 

 

022Created by local artist Mark Whitten

Rancho Deluxe is a must-see when you’re visiting Mason City, Iowa.

Perfect Weekend Getaway – Frank Lloyd Wright Historic Park Inn..

Historic Park Inn Hotel

300 Historic Park Inn exterior 02 by VMC staff PS

Whether you’re a Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiast or a tourist longing for a historical getaway adventure…The Historic Park Inn may be exactly what you are looking for in a weekend getaway.

Located n the heart of downtown Mason City, across from Central Park, sits the only remaining Frank Lloyd Wright Hotel in the world. Reopened in 2011, featuring original art glass as well as restoration of texture walls, flooring and woodwork, is the Historic Park Inn. Guests will experience what the hotel, bank and law office were like at the time it was originally built – it’s definitely a must see!

To point out a few details of the buildings, look at the photo below. Looking left to right is the bank (City National Bank), in the middle- Law Offices and on the right is the Hotel..

72 Historic Park Inn OCT2012 owned by VMC (17)

Historic Park Inn 

Something to note about Wright is that everything he constructed had a purpose, rhyme or reason to it. The bank indicates a ‘safe place’, that is why the walls are tall, the windows sit high and is incredibly solid. The two tall structures on either side of the hotel are to indicate “arms” reaching out, to pull you into the building.

As you walk into the hotel you will notice that it is very open and comfortable,  as you move closer to the check-in area – the ceiling becomes low and you may start to feel a bit claustrophobic. You may wonder why it was built this way… well, it was fully intentional. Wright  wanted people to engage in conversation and socialize with others in the lobby area. The check-in area was designed to make guests feel secure, yet a bit uncomfortable, so they would not linger and immediately move back into the lobby or forward into the Great Room after checking in.

Lobby

Today, the Historic Park Inn features a ballroom (formerly the space occupies by City National Bank), as well as meeting space, a business center for guests  (former Law Offices), and hotel & restaurant (original hotel). The Historic Park Inn is definitely a destination when traveling to Mason City and North Iowa.

Ballroom (City National Bank) 

Meeting & Office Space (Law Offices) 

Law Library 

For more secrets and stories about the Historic Park Inn & Frank Lloyd Wright  – we encourage you to take a guided tour! >> http://wrightonthepark.org/

72 Historic Park Inn OCT2012 owned by VMC (16)

Every year the Historic Park Inn attracts guests from all 50 states and every country in the World

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The Historic Park Inn sits directly south of Central Park & Veterans Moment in downtown Mason City, IA 

The Historic Park Inn offers 27 beautiful guest rooms of which no two are alike  

The Ladies Parlor

Skylight

Wine Room 

Enjoy billiards and a drink at the 1910 Lounge

  A favorite in Mason City, Iowa – 1910 Grill located in the hotel on the west side

The Historic Park Inn is a must-see site in Mason City, Iowa. Please share your experience and photos with us – @VisitMasonCity  &  @Wrightonthepark

For more information on the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic Park Inn >> http://wrightonthepark.org/

For all other must-see attractions in Mason City, Iowa >> http://www.visitmasoncityiowa.com/things-to-do