Small Market Meetings

JUN 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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Page 29 of 43

F r e e - T i m e P u r s u i t s Destination Showcase 30 Locals fill the streets of downtown Des Moines for a farmers market. Free-Time Pursuits Free time is precious, so delegates should make the most of it when they are visiting Des Moines for meetings. There is a popular and impressive public art display in the city. The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is located downtown on a four-and-a-half-acre plot. It features artwork by more than two dozen of the world's most celebrat- ed artists. The intricate landscaping and the caliber of the art make the park a pleasant surprise for a midsize city. The Pappajohns' contribu- tion of personal works for the park is the largest gift of artwork ever made to the Des Moines Art Center. "There are 28 different sculptures worth to the tune of $45 million," said Edwards. "Many of our downtown areas have painted murals on the sides of buildings. So we are a very arts-central city." You may not think that a visit to a state capitol would be all that interesting, but Iowa's capitol is magnificent, with ornate decorations and spectacular murals. And while visitors are at it, stops at the Des Moines Art Center, the State Historical Museum, the Wells Fargo History Museum, the historic Salisbury House and the Science Center of Iowa are more good options to consider. The performing arts also have many fans in Des Moines. A center called Des Moines Performing Arts stages Broadway-style shows. In the summer of 2018, it will host the tour of "Hamilton," one of the hot- test shows in Broadway history. The Wells Fargo Arena is a busy place. In addition to serving as a meeting venue, the arena is home to an indoor football team called the Iowa Barnstormers. The Iowa Energy is the NBA Development League team in the city and is affiliated with the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves. Some college and high school championship sports are played in the arena. Music is a big draw. Paul McCartney is returning to Des Moines for a concert this summer. Downtown Des Moines has undergone a significant renaissance in the past 10 years. Many younger people live downtown, since there are many more new housing choices for them. Many new retail stores have arrived downtown as well. From about May 1 to November 1, one of the largest and most highly rated farmers markets in the nation is staged on Saturday mornings in downtown Des Moines. As many as 15,000 people attend the gathering, which encompasses nine city blocks. Farm-fresh pro- duce, seasonal flowers, cheese, meats, wines and much more are made available by nearly 300 farmers from 50 Iowa counties, a statewide representation. Also available are tasty meals from vendors that oper- ate food trucks or booths on-site. There are local artists and musicians on hand to add a creative feel to the scene. For outdoor enthusiasts of all ages, Greater Des Moines has hundreds of miles of trails to explore, and many of them converge in the down- town area. Where the two rivers meet downtown, there is the beautiful Principal River Walk, a gift to the city that was completed in 2013. The walk features some of the Pappajohn art, fabulous landscaping and unusual pedestrian bridges. "There are a lot of neat things to do for folks attending meetings and conventions here," said Edwards, "or for their spouses or family mem- bers, if attendees choose to bring them along."

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