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What's Happening

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Near-home Labor Day adventures

No matter the month or season, Iowans are curious travelers who widely traverse their home state in search of warm memories and much-deserved relaxation. The upcoming three-day Labor Day weekend presents a tempting opportunity for singles, couples and families of all sizes to head out and explore Iowa. Through the long weekend, communities around Iowa welcome visitors to join in an array of activities and events.

* Beginning August 30, visitors to the Iowa Renaissance Festival in the Amana Colonies will have the chance to observe time-honored skills and try their hands at activities that are otherwise unheard of. Games of skill highlighted at this 12th annual event include archery and ax tossing. Travelers with more cautious interests can check out rope making, bee keeping, and glass blowing demonstrations, among many others. Held in Middle Amana, nearly 70 artisans and an expanded food court will tempt the stomachs and wallets of young and old alike. As an added treat, minstrels will amble throughout the crowds to ensure an enjoyable holiday.

* In the northwest Iowa community of Sheldon, Labor Day Weekend marks a prime opportunity to celebrate "good times and good people." Set for August 29 through September 1, Sheldon Celebration Days will delight the whole family. A parade, classic car show and cruise, fly-in pancake breakfast and mini-tractor pull make-up the four-day schedule. Travelers with an affinity for the off beat can participate in a game of cow patty bingo. The winner will walk away with $2,500. That's no bull.

* An event of similar proportions comes to Ames from August 29 through 31. Marking its second year, the All-American Weekend features three days of American-style fun. An event that begins with an after-work "Happy Hour" concludes with the presentation of "Searching for Shakespeare" in Bandshell Park. Packed in between are a variety of events including a street dance, shop hop for quilts, Iowa State University football game, and an evening 5K race and walk. Guests can participate in any or all of this around town celebration.

* Iowans who are unsure of where to spend the holiday should head for one of the state's many corn mazes. After all, at these, you'll have no idea where you are. The Ant Hill Corn Maze in Wayland welcomes guests through September 30 and challenges visitors on nine acres of twists and turns with two miles of trails. The Dan-D Farms Corn Maze is located just off highway 30 and Interstate 35 in Ames. Here, Iowans on both sides of the fence can tackle one maze carved in honor of Iowa State University and one representing the University of Iowa. Another corn maze, located five miles south of Knoxville, features the intricacies of Iowa's state flag. Other mazes around the state can be found in Dyersville and Fort Madison.