Highlights of 2016

The New Year is almost here, and as many of you are contemplating on your newest resolutions,  we thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and revisit the ‘highlights of 2016’ in Mason City, Iowa.

River City Sculptures on Parade Arrived

The 2016 outdoor exhibit of Sculptures on Parade made their way Downtown in May of ’16. This exciting exhibit is the work of artists from all over the country and is displayed year-round.


The Great Race

The Great Race, hosted by VMC was  held Saturday, June 25, in conjunction with Cannonball Days. Hundreds of spectators made their way to East Park to see vintage/antique vehicles from the Great Race. The race began on June 18 in San Rafael, CA and finished in Moline, IL on June 26. As the drivers parked their vehicles, spectators had the chance to talk to the crew, take pictures and able to get autographs from the drivers! Staff and volunteers of Visit Mason City served  guests lunch before their departure. There were many compliments of lunch served, Mason City’s hospitality and BEAUTIFUL East Park. Guests and many Mason City residents enjoyed this event as well as volunteers and staff.


Willow Creek Waterfall Featured on the Ultimate Iowa Waterfall Road Trip

The Willow Creek Waterfall in Mason City was ranked #5 on the Ultimate Iowa Waterfall Road Trip. Travelers completing the waterfall road trip frequently stopped in at the Mason City Visitor Information Center  for directions to the waterfall. The waterfall road trip blog post created social media buzz all over the Midwest. The waterfall is located in the Rock Crest- Rock Glen Historic District and can be seen from the State Street Bridge.

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The Iowa Downtown Conference

The Iowa Downtown Conference took place in Mason City the first week of August. The conference brought in Main Street & downtown community members from all over  the state. During the conference there were seminars and workshops held in various venues throughout the Downtown District and focuses on downtown development. Mason City businesses benefited from tourism dollars as visitors were shopping and dining.

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River City Sculptures on Parade Announced 2017 People’s Choice Award

The votes were tallied up and the winner was announced -“Ralph Moose”, was named the 2017 People’s Choice. “Ralph Moose”, a sculpture of a shy moose will be added to the community’s permanent collection. The Moose  is now on permanent display in front of Moorman Clothiers.


Piano on the Plaza

Mason City natives, Tara Fitzpatrick and Joshua Brueggeman repurposed and created a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired piano.  The piano was donated by the Clarion Inn of Mason City and is located in the Downtown District out, on the Plaza.

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  Mason City Municipal Airport & Air choice One Offers Flights To Minneapolis

Air Choice One, a family owned and operated company  recently announced why will offer flights form Mason City to Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport. The new service will help grow tourism in Mason City, and offers residents of  Mason City and North Iowa Area accessible and affordable airfares to 3 major airports; Minneapolis-St.Paul, St. Louis-Lambert International and Chicago O’ Hare International.

The Historic Park Inn Celebrates 5 Year Anniversary

The Historic Park Inn celebrated their 5 year anniversary of the re-opening of the Frank Lloyd Wright Hotel in the world. Wright on the Park along with other organizations in the community such as Visit Mason City raised funds and received grants to make this multi-million dollar project happen. The hotel now provides  a 27-room boutique lodging, & HPI 1910 restaurant & lounge, ballroom and meeting space. Wright on the Park celebrated with many activities during the week including a murder mystery, speakeasy, glow run and more!  It was a fun week for residents in the community as well as out of town guests.

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The Historic Park Inn Named Outstanding Lodging Property

Congratulations were in order as the Historic Park Inn Hotel was named Outstanding Lodging Property at the 2016 Iowa Tourism Awards. The award ceremony took place on October 20th, 2016.

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Mason City Community Threatre Mural Completed

The Downtown District was brightened up  with a POP of color as the mural at the Mason City Community Theatre was completed.  A big thanks went out to Keely Hertzel and her amazing work!

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FAM Tour Iowa Group Travel Association

The IGTA FAM tour made it’s way to Mason City on the evening of October 31. Unfortunately the FAM group didn’t have time to spend a day in our community, but they enjoyed a full evening in Mason City. The group of 30 tour operators enjoyed a fantastic meal by the 1910 Grill as they dined in the ballroom of the Historic Park Inn. Visit Mason City, the host of this event,  presented 2 “River City Mystery” on the completion of their meal. The guests were to stop at attraction booths from Mason City & Clear Lake to receive clues after listening to information about each attraction. As the evening came to an end, the  guests stayed the night at the Holiday Inn Express. Visit Mason City’s main mission was to make their stay ‘memorable’ and we think we did just that!

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Iowa Journeys Filmed TV Episode of Mason City

Visit Mason City, brought on Iowa Journeys to film a TV episode of Mason City – showcasing attractions, quality of life and local  businesses.  Visit Mason City staff had fun showing the cast around town and filming the TV episode. The episode will be aired in the first quarter of 2017 (January – March).

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

November 18 kicked off the premier of ‘It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas’ at the Music Man Square. Friends and family shared the holiday spirit as they enjoyed the sights and sounds of the holiday season strolling down the 1912 streetscape, experiencing nostalgia and warm memories of Christmases past.

Did you know, this Christmas display right here in Mason City, Iowa is the longest running Christmas Tradition in all of Iowa?! Starting with the Friday after Thanksgiving and running all the way until the last weekend of December.

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‘Home For The Holiday Lights’

The first annual ‘Home For The Holiday Lights’ took place on November 26 – December 23, 2016. The celebration’s kick-off included lighting of the Central Park Tree, carolers singing and refreshments. Throughout the following weeks downtown business lights were display and voted on.

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The 31st Annual Tuba Christmas performed favorite Christmas carols with over 100 tubas, baritone, saxophone and euphonious musicians form across the state.  The performance took place at the Southbridge Mall on December 10, 2016.

We here at Visit Mason City, can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for #MasonCityIA

Have a safe and wonderful new year!



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 gives yourself appreciation of giving back. 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!


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


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 it’s  affordable and close to home! Performances take place at the North Iowa Auditorium located at NIACC. Take a look at the catalog and purchase tickets to a few shows you want to see, but be quick, shows sell out fast! – BE THANKFUL – you can see award-winning Broadway shows right here at home!


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 eat entirely TOO MUCH FOOD, from all of us at Visit Mason City! 

Exhibit featuring Frank Lloyd Wright’s Samara highlights Mason City’s Fall Art Scene

Mason City is a feast for the senses this fall. Cultural arts are thriving with festivals, exhibits and events that highlight music, masterpieces and food. You won’t want to miss experiencing the many enthralling events (and beautiful weather) that will be in abundance this season.


The Charles H. MacNider Art Museum is among North Iowa’s many cultural treasures.

One of Mason City’s most anticipated exhibits Frank Lloyd Wright’s Samara: A Mid-Century Dream Home is now open at the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum. The exhibition explores the creation of a Wright house through the eyes of a client who spent more than fifty years fulfilling the renowned architect’s Usonian vision. An impressive compilation of original furniture, architectural fragments, rare archival materials, historic photographs, and video are all on view in this immersive exhibition, on display through October 31st.

Visitors to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Samara have the unique opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the values of a young Indiana couple worked in tandem with Wright’s vision to create one family’s definition of an American dream home.


‘Spirit of Mercury’ designed by Richard Bock at the request of Frank Lloyd Wright for use in light fixtures in the City National Bank.

In conjunction with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Samara: A Mid-Century Dream Home the Museum is also hosting the Richard Bock: Master of the Human Form exhibition. This exhibit brings treasures from the Richard Bock Museum in Greenville, Illinois to the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum and tells the story of a professional artist and his devotion to the perfect human form.

Bock’s work eventually led him to connect with the famous Frank Lloyd Wright on a number of projects. Including the now famous “Mercury” statues that once adorned Mason City’s City National Bank. Richard Bock: Master of the Human Form will be on display through November 14.

On Saturday, November 7th at 2 p.m. Dr. Sharron Grimes will present Richard W. Bock, an American Sculptor at the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum.  This event is free and open to the public.


“Sonrise” is one of 36 sculptures that visitors will see along the sculpture walk throughout downtown Mason City.

Fall is also a great time to admire the season’s kaleidoscope of color while breathing in the cool, crisp air. Ahhhhh… Whether you’re exploring the historic Rock Glen-Rock Crest district on the Architectural Walking Tour or enjoying the River City Sculptures on Parade, nature’s beauty is all around.

But wait, there’s more…

If festive family fun is what you desire, Mason City has just what you’re looking for. Enjoy the flavors of the season at the Kinney-Pioneer Museum’s  annual Cider & Donut Day on Sunday, September 27th, beginning at 1 p.m. Fresh-pressed apple cider, warm and sugary homemade donuts, apple bobbing, bake sale and so much more.


Bavarian dancers take to the streetscape of 1912 River City during the Music Man Square’s annual Germanfest event.

Munich’s annual Octoberfest celebration may be drawing to a close, but don’t pack away the Lederhosen and Dirndl just yet. The Music Man Square’s annual Germanfest is a great opportunity for you to nod your head and tap your feet to the festive sounds of Polka and twirl along in a Bavarian dance. Pretzels, root beer floats, ice cream and great family fun all in the old-timely atmosphere of Music Man Square on Sunday, October 4th. Festivities begin at Noon.

Many other great fall events are taking place in Mason City this season. Start planning your getaway at VisitMasonCityIowa.com today.