10 Big Eastern Iowa Events to Look Forward to in 2023
Need a cure for the Midwest winter blues? Here are ten big events to look forward to this year in Eastern Iowa:
Held annually in Downtown Waterloo, Iowa Irish Fest is filled with food, drinks, vendors, games, classes, and lots and LOTS of live entertainment. "Iowa's Biggest Irish Celebration" will take place August 4th through 6th of 2023.
There are quite a few different Oktoberfest celebrations here in Iowa, but the oldest is Amana Oktoberfest. This year's event is scheduled for September 29th through October 1st and will feature German food, live entertainment, games, contests, a parade, and, of course, beer. The whole village gets in on the action!
On Saturday mornings during the summer months, Downtown Cedar Rapids is the place to be! The Downtown Farmers Markets are incredibly popular because of the large variety of vendors and food. The 2023 schedule for the market has yet to be announced, but it typically kicks off at the end of May and runs twice a month through August. There's also the Market After Dark to look forward to in August!
Known as "The 5 Best Days of Summer," the Great Jones County Fair in Monticello is one of Eastern Iowa's biggest parties! In addition to carnival rides, fair food, a huge beer tent, children's activities, and competitions, the fair is also known for its impressive live entertainment lineup. This year's Grandstand headliners include Pitbull, Jon Pardi, and We the Kingdom, with one more concert yet to be announced! The 2023 Great Jones County Fair is set for July 19th through 23rd.
On one Saturday every summer, the Ped Mall in Downtown Iowa City is taken over for a HUGE block party. There's sand volleyball, a drag show, live music and entertainment, food, vendors, and a whole lot more. Plus, attendees ages 21 and up are permitted to drink in the streets will the purchase of a special event cup. The date for the 2023 Downtown Block Party hasn't been announced yet, but we are already looking forward to it!
Three times a year, the Keokuk County Fairgrounds in What Cheer are transformed into a massive flea market. The What Cheer Flea Market is one of the biggest in the Midwest, with around 400 vendors across 20 acres. 30,000 people typically attend each year! The dates for the 2023 What Cheer Flea Markets are:
- May 5th through 7th
- August 4th through 6th
- October 6th through 8th
If you like great BBQ and great music, North Liberty Blues & BBQ is the perfect event for you! Spend your day eating and drinking your way through Centennial Park while listening to a lineup of amazing of blues artists from across the country. The free event will take place Saturday, July 8th, 2023.
When it comes to fireworks displays, one of the biggest and best in Eastern Iowa is Boomtown. Held annually at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Vinton, the event promises an "earth-shaking pyrotechnic experience you will not soon forget." In addition to fireworks, food, a beer tent, and live music, you can visit Downtown Vinton beforehand for Boom-Fest! The date for Boomfest 2023 has yet to be announced, but the event is typically held on a Saturday in August.
From June 14th through July 4th, 2023, a series of fun summer events will take place in the Cedar Rapids area as part of the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival. Some of the biggest events each year include Balloon Glow, Dock Dogs, the Freedom Festival Parade, Imagination! Square, the Pancake Breakfast, and the Celebration of Freedom Fireworks Display. This year will mark the 40th year for the Freedom Festival!
One of the more unique festivals here in Iowa is TrekFest, which celebrates all things Star Trek. Held in Riverside, the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk, the annual event features live music, a parade, a flea market, food, drinks, and more! The 2023 festival is set for June 22nd through 24th.
What events are you looking forward to most this year? Let us know in the comments!
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