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 see and do. 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! 

 

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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

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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..

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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.

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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/

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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

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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

Piano on Federal Plaza

Piano on Federal Plaza 

Two local Mason City artist repurposed a piano that was donated from the Clarion Inn of Mason City. Local artist Tara Fitzpatrick and Joshua Brueggeman created a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired paintings on the piano. The piano will be located in Downtown Mason City, Iowa on the Plaza.

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http://globegazette.com/news/local/piano-on-federal-plaza-is-colorful-new-addition/article_0752d862-69a1-5dfe-81e9-1d876d993316.html

 

9 FREE Activities in Mason City, IA

9 FREE Activities to Take Advantage of when Traveling to

 Mason City, Iowa

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Whether you’re here visiting some of Mason City’s fantastic attractions or just visiting family and friends – Here are 9 inside secrets to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Visit Mason City Information Center 

Located at 2021 4th St. SW  – This is one stop you don’t want to miss when starting your trip. At the Visitor Center, you will find an array of brochures and free information about local attractions, entertainment and local community events. A friendly staff member will greet you at the door and point out all of the must-sees, lodging, dining /shopping information, driving directions and so much more! Grab a FREE Mason City Travel Guide and look for a FREE souvenir coupon- (HINT, HINT). The Visitor Center is staffed: M-F 8-4:30am. 24-hour access to maps, brochures and information is available.

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Prairie Playground East Park

Prairie Playground, located at East Park, (East State St.) is the largest outdoor play area in Mason City. The wooden maze will be sure to burn off energy, and the shelter houses make a perfect place to eat a snack, lunch or have a picnic.

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Cannonball 457

After burning off some energy and with a full tummy, walk over to the Cannonball 457, east side of Prairie Playground (East Park, East State St), before exiting the park. The Cannonball 457 was built in 1912 and is the last remaining Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway steam locomotive. The “Cannonball” has been restored to reflect its appearance in the late 1920’s. The Cannonball 457 is a fun stop for any age – take pictures and admire this historical site!  Mason City is also home to Iowa Traction Railroad, the only remaining organization that still uses electric locomotives to haul freight in regular service in the United States. Visitors can see an electric freight-hauling locomotive in operation on almost any day while traveling on 19th St. SW / County Rd B 35.

Cannonball 2016 from Friends 457

Music Man Footbridge/ Meredith Wilson

The Music Man Footbridge is named in honor of Mason City native Meredith Wilson, an internationally renowned composer.  The Footbridge is located on 2nd St. SE in Mason City over Willow Creek – connecting River Heights Drive and South Connecticut Ave.

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Charles H. MacNider Art Museum

The Charles H. MacNider Art Museum (303 2nd St. SE) houses a permanent collection of American art, the famous Bil Baird Puppets and an impressive range of ceramics. Admission is FREE  for a self-guided tour. The museum offers changing exhibits, films, studio classes, special events, Imagination Playground and a gift museum shop.

Prairie School Architectural Tour

Enjoy a leisurely walk while taking in the largest group of Prairie School designed homes on an unified site. The self-guided tour is FREE, walking tour books are available for $5 at the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum, The Music Man Square, Mason City Visitor Information Center and Frank Lloyd Wright Stockman House.  The tour encompasses 14 blocks and the Historical Tour is an additional 13 blocks beginning at 303 2nd St. SE. Explore and be amazed when walking in the Rock Crest-Rock Glen Historical District.  Architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Burley Griffin, William Drummond, Francis Barry Byrne and more.

Mason City Veterans Monument in Central Park

Located in Central Park (West State St.) is the Mason City Veterans Monument. The monument honors over 3,300 veterans with Mason City connections. Standing 8 feet high and weighing 4,000 pounds it features 12 Black India Granite stones!

Mason City Vetrans Monument

River City Sculpture on the Parade

River City Sculptures on  Parade are located in various parts of Downtown Mason City. The outdoor exhibit is on display year-round. The self guided tour starts Downtown and loops through the Cultural Crescent which includes historic architecture, art museum, public library and the Music Man Square. Tour map is available at the Visit Mason City Center.

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Lime Creek Nature Center

Nestled atop the limestone bluffs of the Winnebago River is the Lime Creek Nature Center; (located at 3501 Lime Creek RD; HWY. 65 N). The Nature Center features a variety of educational exhibits on wildlife and natural resources in Northern Iowa.  An outdoor amphitheater, hands-on nature displays and over nine miles of trails through prairie, forest and wetland habitat provide fun experiences for everyone. FREE Admission

After your day or days visiting Mason City we hope you found this helpful, as there are many other attractions to see and do. But, sometimes it’s nice to have a couple FREE activities in the itinerary. For more information on what all Mason City has to offer and lodging information please visit: http://www.visitmasoncityiowa.com

We hope you enjoy your visit to Mason City!

Great Race visits Mason City, Iowa

The Great Race visited Mason City, Iowa on June 25, 2016.

On June 25 hundreds of spectators made their way to East Park in Mason City, Iowa to see vintage/antique vehicles from the Great Race. The Great Race began on June 18 starting in San Rafael, CA and  finishing  in Molina, IL on June 26.  The arrival time began around 1pm as the National Anthem was sung and the Color Guard was presented.

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Motor Mouth, spokesman of the Great Race crew kept the crowd entertained as he announced the vintage/antique vehicles as they made their way though the opening ceremony.

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Photo Credit Due to Mason City Ford 

As drivers parked their vehicles, spectators had the chance to talk to the crew, take pictures and children were even able to get autographs from the drivers!

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Photo Credit Due to Mason City Ford 

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Photo Credit Due to Mason City Ford 

Drivers and navigators came from all over the world – some even had their vehicles shipped to the United States…CRAZY!  As the teams signed the Visit Mason City guest book it was noted that we had visitors in Mason City, Iowa from Japan, Finland, Canada and from both sides of the coast in the United States.

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Photo Credit Due to Mason City Ford 

As Visit Mason City staff greeted the Great Race participants with a warm welcome, they were then escorted to their lunch in shelter house 2 in East Park.  Staff and volunteers of Visit Mason City served  guests lunch with loose meat sandwiches, sweet corn on the cob, chips, water and ice cream!

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Photo Credit Due to Mason City Ford 

The last Great Race vehicle departed from Mason City around 4pm – as they were headed to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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Photo Credit Due to Mason City Ford 

There were many compliments on the lunch served, Mason City’s hospitality and the BEAUTIFUL park. Guests and many Mason City natives enjoyed this event as well as the volunteers and staff!

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Photo Credit Due to Mason City Ford 

A BIG thank you to all of our volunteers – River City Street Rods, Visit Mason City Volunteers, and friends/family of Staff.

Great Race Sponsored by:

     Mason City Ford          

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      Visit Mason City

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