Travel & Tourism
Colorful Ice Cream Cone Statues Decorate Iowa State Fairgrounds PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Lori Chappell   
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 08:47

DES MOINES, IA (08/07/2012)(readMedia)-- Fifty-seven concrete ice cream cones painted by Iowans pay tribute to the Iowa State Fair's Fairlicious foods. The 3 ½ foot tall statues will be on display throughout the grounds during the 2012 Fair. "Nothing Compares" to the celebration and activities at the Fair, August 9-19.

Individuals, clubs and companies had the opportunity to showcase their creative talents, in professional or novice categories, and decorate a concrete ice cream cone in any way they chose. Entries were judged on the basis of creativity and use of additional materials.

Visit for a printable map with a listing of all the concrete ice cream cone locations.

The first place winners received a $150 cash prize and a Fair admission package valued at $160. Second place winners received a $100 cash prize and a Fair admission package valued at $120. Third place winners received $50 and a Fair admission package valued at $85. Winners will be recognized in an awards presentation Sunday, August 19.

Complete Results Below:


1) Hey Diddle Diddle – Emma Wetzel, Chuck and Rachel Ginder, Altoona

2) Fire and Ice Cream Cone: A Tribute to Benton County Fire Departments – Angie Wittmer, Vinton

3) #1 in Yum – Kathryn Light, Waterloo

Honorable Mention) Kids Cancer Squad Cure Cone – Janie Ostrem, Sweet Treats of Jewell, Jewell

Honorable Mention) Honey Cone – Dave Tull and Tricia Knipper, Donnellson; Tim Knipper, Moline, Ill.; Terri Knipper, Solon

Honorable Mention) Cone on the Cob – Augusta, Brandt, and Clara Scott, Ames

Honorable Mention) Gettin' Piggy Wit It – Agri-Access Team, Johnston

Honorable Mention-Above and Beyond) Kooky the Ice Cream Clown – Sylvia Faine, Lara Newsom, Beatrice Faine, Urbandale


1) Indulge – Kelly Elliott, Nevada

2) Holsteins in the Meadow – Missy Sharer, Messy Missy's; Matt Pisney, Center Street Dairy Queen, Marshalltown

3) Blingalicious – Candi Ladmig and Alexa Groff, The Vinyl Studio, Ankeny

Honorable Mention-Most Unique: Buford Beaver Butter Brickle – Ryan Harder, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

Honorable Mention: Eat Your Veggies – Connie Boesen, Applishus/Salad Bowl, Des Moines

Honorable Mention: Veggie Table: Celebrating Over 30 Years at the Iowa State Fair – Ed Brafford, Ruth McCoy, Veggie-Table, West Des Moines

To be entered in the professional division, 25 percent or more of the entrant's income must come from graphic design or artistry related work.

"Nothing Compares" to the 2012 Iowa State Fair, August 9-19. The Fairgrounds are located at East 30th and East University Avenue, just 10 minutes east of downtown Des Moines, and are open 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. each day of the Fair. Exhibit hours may vary. For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit

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Fall for St. Louis During an Autumn Getaway PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission   
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 08:26

ST. LOUIS -- August 6, 2012 -- Along with crisp autumn air, dozens of festivals, special events and theatrical and family entertainment spectaculars blow into St. Louis during September, October and November. You’re sure to fall in love with the Gateway City during an autumn getaway.

You can view a complete calendar of events and make your St. Louis hotel reservations online by visiting the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission or by dialing 1-800-916-0040.

Labor Day Weekend kicks off St. Louis’ Fall festival season. St. Louis offers so many great events over this long weekend that there’s no work involved to find the fun. From the soulful sounds of the Big Muddy Blues Festival to the colorful display of Asian culture at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Japanese Festival, you’re sure to find a fabulous way to close out the summer.

The Seventeenth Annual Big Muddy Blues Festival rocks the cobblestone streets of the historic Laclede’s Landing entertainment district Saturday and Sunday, September 1 and 2. One of the nation’s best blues music events, Big Muddy showcases more than 30 Blues and Blues-related bands on three outdoor stages from 1 p.m. until 11 p.m. each day. Headliners at this year’s festival include the legendary Dr. John and Joe Louis Walker.

Two of St. Louis’ vibrant ethnic cultures will be on display during the Labor Day weekend. The 36th Annual Japanese Festival takes over the grounds of the Missouri Botanical Garden from Saturday, September 1 through Monday, September 3. Visitors can tour the nation’s largest traditional Japanese garden, browse an arts and crafts marketplace, sample exotic foods, see traditional performances and much more. Nearby, in the charming Central West End neighborhood, nothing says Labor Day in St. Louis like authentic Greek food and music at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. The festival opens on Friday evening, August 31 and shouts of “Opa!” ring out through Monday, September 3.

View the labors of talented artists and shop for unique treasures during the annual Art Fair at Queeny Park from Friday, August 31 through Sunday, September 2. The juried exhibit features fine works created by artists from across the nation. The following weekend, September 7 through 9, the elegant streets of Clayton come alive during the 19th Annual Saint Louis Art Fair. Considered among the top fine art festivals in the U.S., the event showcases original works of the highest quality, three stages of entertainment and culinary treats from St. Louis’ finest restaurants.

The Faust Park Fall Folk and Fine Arts Festival features up-to-the-minute works of art while showcasing 19th century traditional arts and crafts in its Historic Village. Take this artsy step back in time on Saturday and Sunday, September 22 and 23.

Art lovers flock to the Shaw Neighborhood on Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7, where you can bounce between two adjacent art-filled events. The 21st Annual Best of Missouri Market brings together more than 120 Missouri food producers and craftsmen offering everything from homegrown produce and flowers to handmade jewelry, baskets and woven goods. The popular event is held at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Simultaneously, just east of the Garden in the parkway along Flora Place, the 20th Annual Historic Shaw Art Fair unfolds multi-media works created by quality, national artists.

Cure the kids’ back-to-school blues with some Disney “magic.” Beloved characters from classic Disney animated films including Snow White, Cinderella, Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle join new favorites like Tangled’s Rapunzel and Flynn, The Little Mermaid’s Ariel and others for Disney on Ice: Treasure Trove. Mickey Mouse and friends bring favorite stories to life…on ice at the Chaifetz Arena, September 20-23.

Amazing animal acts, spectacular circus performers and comical clowns bring thrills and laughter to Scottrade Center when the classic Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performs in St. Louis from October 11 through 14. This “Greatest Show on Earth®” production, titled Dragons, brings together mystic dragon lore with authentic circus feats.

Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs & Ham is brought to life with musical accompaniment of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra at Powell Symphony Hall on Sunday afternoon, October 7.  Sam, I Am would like it.

Things heat up in Forest Park’s Central Field on Friday, September 14 and Saturday, September 15 during the free, Fortieth Great Forest Park Balloon Glow and Balloon Race. On Friday evening, get up close looks at the brilliantly colored, inflated balloons during the walk-around Balloon Glow.  Starting at noon on Balloon Race Saturday, pre-lift off activities include sky diver shows, musical entertainment, a photo competition and kids’ play area. The race begins when the Energizer Bunny “hare” balloon lifts off and then is chased by more than 60 “hound” balloons launched in full pursuit.

St. Louis’ three major league sports teams’ seasons overlap this time of year, making it a perfect time for sports lovers to visit. The World Champion St. Louis Cardinals will be in the hunt for a post-season slot during final regular season play dates at Busch Stadium. The Redbirds take to their home field on September 3-5, 7-9, 18-20, 28-30 and October 1-3. As baseball winds down, St. Louis Rams football heats up at the Edward Jones Dome. The St. Louis NFLers hit home turf on September 16 and 30, October 4 and 21, November 18 and December 2 and 16.  The puck flies when the Gateway City’s “boys-in-blue note” – the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues – take the ice at Scottrade Center. Autumn home ice dates include pre-season matches on September 28 and 29 and October 2 and 6 with regular season games set for October 18, 20, 23, 25 and 30; November 6, 8, 17, 23, 25 and 29 and December 1, 2, 12, 14, 15, 18, 23, 26 and 29.

Two very different yet lively cultures are highlighted in St. Louis during September. An Hispanic Heritage Celebration, held at the Anheuser-Busch Consumer Hospitality Center on Saturday, September 15, moves to a mariachi beat. The clans gather in Forest Park on Friday and Saturday, September 28 and 29 for the St. Louis Scottish Games and Cultural Festival. Bagpipe bands, Highland dancing, sheepdog herding demonstrations and a “parade of tartans” are festival highlights.

Movie buffs won’t want to miss the 21st Annual Stella Artois St. Louis International Film Festival. The annual event screens feature films, shorts, documentaries and independent movies from around the world ovember 8 – 18.

The amazing world of science is yours to discover at SciFest 2012 at the Saint Louis Science Center. Workshops, hands-on experiments and exhibits, lectures and conversations about all aspects of science are presented during the October 16-21 event. See what’s planned by visiting the Saint Louis Science Center.

he Fall theatre season is in full swing in St. Louis. The Fabulous Fox Theatre presents the 25th anniversary production of Les Miserables from October 16-28. Next, Blue Man Group brings its wordless, techno visual extravaganza to The Fox from November 20 through December 2. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis opens on September 5 with Neil Simon’s sweet and funny Brighton Beach Memoirs. The semi-autobiographical play about growing up in 1930’s New York runs through September 30. The award-winning musical, Daddy Long Legs, dances across The Rep’s stage from October 10 through November 4.   .


45th Annual Tour of Homes showcases historic Galena PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB   
Monday, 06 August 2012 08:58

September 29 & 30 event to feature 19th century architecture

GALENA, Ill. – From cozy miners’ cottages to grand Queen Annes, Galena’s incredible architecture will take center stage during the 45th Annual Tour of Historic Galena Homes.  Autumn is always a popular time to visit scenic Galena, but add the chance to tour inside five private historic buildings and the lure becomes irresistible. Preservation, interior decorating, antiques and history are featured elements of the popular event hosted by the Galena - Jo Daviess County Historical Society. The guided tour runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine, both Saturday and Sunday, September 29 & 30, 2012.

Two heritage hibiscuses, thought to be as old as the home, greet you near at the back entrance of the Friesenecker House at 507 Spring Street. Built in 1891 for Philip and Margaret Friesenecker, the home remained in the family for 114 years. This was the first residence in Galena wired for electricity. A parlor gasolier (half gas, half electric) is original to the home, as is the woodwork, a stained and beveled glass window, pocket doors and hardware. Two staircases, often a sign that a maid or servant lived in the home, provide access to the three bedrooms on the second floor. The current owners purchased the property in 2010. Their large collection of clocks adds an air of whimsy to the gracious and spacious Queen Anne home.

The hilltop property at 304 Elk Street was once owned by C.R. Perkins, a leather merchant who partnered with the Grants in the Grant & Perkins Leather Store (Ulysses was at war during that time). The Perkins home burned in 1880. The lot was sold to William R. Holder, who built this fine Queen Anne home on the site in 1881. Holder was a merchant, operating a grocery store in downtown Galena. Purchased in 1994 by the present owners, the home retains many of its original features. A grand staircase welcomes you in the front hall. Sliding pocket doors separate the spacious double parlors, and a baby grand piano graces the living area. A stacked bay window and two porches provide ample vantage points overlooking historic downtown and the Galena River valley. A recent kitchen remodel provides modern convenience to the stately Holder House. A back staircase leads to second floor bedrooms plus a home office on the third.

The enchanting Coates Cottage at 512 Dewey Avenue is a miner’s cottage built of stone in the 1830s. It consisted of just one room (now the kitchen) with a bedroom on the second floor. The living and dining rooms, enclosed porch, and galley bathroom upstairs were added later. Two generations of the Coates family lived here including Ralph “Dude” Coates, who worked for the Uehren & Furlong Furniture and Undertaking business, and his daughter Helen (Mrs. Jerry Bingham). Three French doors bring light and nature into the cozy space from a side terrace. Wide pine floorings are the perfect backdrop for the owner’s collection of Craftsman furnishings. The cottage was purchased by the current owner in 1996. An architect by trade, his original photography graces the walls, along with several 1830s maps of America which include a prominent Galena, already being recognized as a national center of trade and commerce.

Thick native limestone walls of the original 1830s miner’s cottage were preserved to form the kitchen of the charming House of Seven Gables at 732 Dewey Avenue. Two major additions were constructed, including a late 1890s wood-frame addition with an odd bay that brought the number of interwoven gables to seven. Legend and a stone ledge hint it may have been a stagecoach stop. The home changed hands many times in the 19th and 20th centuries; the current owners purchased the home in 1997. They have done a great deal of structural maintenance, from roof to sagging stone walls. This year the first floor room, which retains its original wainscoting, got a new ceiling and was transformed into a stagecoach and western memorabilia sanctuary. A kitchen wall has acquired a large bas-relief ceramic mural of three generations of Native American women, sculpted by one of the owners. The house is full of family heirlooms, antiques and primitives, plus art work from the owners’ Mineral Point gallery. Lovely terraced gardens create a natural oasis which surrounds the home.

Steamboat captain David Bates built a 13-room Federal mansion at 1203 Third Street in 1830. Just behind the main home is an 1835 Greek Revival-style brick cottage which was likely built as an in-law home as it has 10.5-foot ceilings, a feature that would have not be found in servant’s quarters. However, it is known that Bates held slaves. Unlike Missouri, Illinois was a free state but Black Laws allowed for slaves under the term of an indentured servant. Bates brought a keel boat from St. Louis to Galena in 1819. He later ran steamboats between St. Louis, Galena, and St. Paul. In 1829 Bates built The Galena steamboat in Cincinnati, OH; it burned and sank in the Galena River in 1837.  Bates sold his property to John P. DeZoya and left town. The site became a bed and breakfast in the 1990s. The owners chose to name the lodging after DeZoya, not Bates. The current owners purchased the property in 2009 and did extensive renovations on the cottage. Antiques fill the charming and functional space, making it a welcoming and favorite spot for guests.

A free shuttle service will operate between all tour homes and ticket locations on Saturday; attendees will need to provide their own transportation on Sunday. Tour guides, many in period attire, will provide historic narrative at each home. Free admission to the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum is included with the home tour ticket and will include the new Ghosts of the Grants hologram presentation. During the home tour, the museum will be featuring a new temporary exhibit entitled “Ulysses S. Grant: Friends, Family & Foes,” showcasing personal relationships of Galena’s favorite son.

New in 2012 will be a Cocktail Reception at the grand Captain David G. Bates home at 1203 Third Street. On Saturday evening, September 29, from 5 to 8 pm, hosts Phil Eichler and Tim Newman will serve cocktails & hors d’oeuvres. The exclusive, limited ticket will cost $50 and includes the reception, plus one Home Tour ticket.

The 45th Annual Tour of Historic Galena Homes is sponsored by the Galena - Jo Daviess County Historical Society. Tickets are $17, $16 in advance (before September 15); children under 10 are free with an adult. Tickets and maps are available during the tour weekend at the Old Train Depot Visitor Information Center at 101 Bouthillier St., the DeSoto House Hotel at 230 S. Main St., the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum at 211 S. Bench St., the Gateway to History at 403 S. Main St., and at any home on the tour. Advance tickets (non-refundable) are available at the Museum, or phone 815.777.9129 to purchase by credit card.


For further event information, contact the Historical Society at 815.777.9129 or visit Additional area offerings and visitor information may be found at the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau at or by calling 877.464.2536. While in town, visit the CVB’s Old Train Depot Visitor Information Center at 101 Bouthillier St. (corner of Park Avenue) for on-site assistance and countywide information.


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6th annual Galena Oktoberfest to be held September 22nd PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Galena/Jo Daviess County CVB   
Monday, 06 August 2012 08:06

Family fun, polka music, wiener dog racing, and German-style food headline this event

GALENA, Ill. – September 22, 2012 is the start of Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, but it’s also a day of similar celebration in Galena, Ill. The 6th annual Galena Oktoberfest will entertain and delight your entire family and is a whole lot easier on the budget than a flight to Munich. The event takes place at Depot Park, 99 Bouthillier St., just east of the Galena River near the intersection of U.S. Highway 20 and Park Avenue; from noon to 10 p.m. Galena Oktoberfest is hosted by the Galena Lions Club and all of the proceeds help individuals with sight and sound needs, as well as supporting community projects.

People of all ages enjoy Galena Oktoberfest, as it features non-stop live music by three bands, polka dancing and lessons, wiener dog races and parade, a beer stein endurance contest, a bean bag tournament, bounce houses and games for the kids, and of course plenty of German-style food, soda and beer The day begins at noon with a cannon blast and the ceremonial tapping of the keg, followed by the ever-famous wiener dog races. Online pre-registration is encouraged for both the wiener dog races and the bean bag tournament.

Take a spin on the dance floor and Jennifer Mulcahey, of Ballroom by Jennifer, will teach you how to polka. Back-to-back bands include two polka bands, the Jim Busta Band from Spring Grove, Minn. and The Goodtime Dutchmen from Kewaskum, Wisc., as well as local rock favorite Mighty Short Bus from Madison, Wisc.

Gate tickets to Galena Oktoberfest are $5 for adults and teens, children 12 and under are admitted free. Parking is free near the festival site. Festival goers can also take a ride on the free trolley that will be shuttling visitors from the Galena’s historic Main Street to the festival.

For more information about Galena Oktoberfest and the Galena Lions Club, go to or call 815.331.0180. Visit Galena Oktoberfest on Facebook for updates and to find out ‘Where in the World is Otto?’ Additional area offerings and visitor information may be found at the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau at or by calling 877.464.2536. While in town, visit the CVB’s Old Train Depot Visitor Information Center at 101 Bouthillier St. for on-site assistance and countywide information.

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News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Glenn Kass   
Monday, 06 August 2012 08:02

Davenport hotel 1 of 3 in Iowa to hold esteemed national designation

Davenport, IA – Hotel Blackhawk has received the esteemed AAA Four Diamond Award ® lodging award for 2012. The historic property is one of only three in Iowa to hold the designation.

The hotel is part of a select group within North America. In 2012, just 1,491 lodgings received the AAA Four Diamond Rating out of 59,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated lodgings across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Lodgings at this level are refined and stylish, featuring upscale physical attributes, according to AAA. The designees typically offer an extensive array of amenities combined with a high degree of hospitality, personal attention and guest services. The program has been in existence for 75 years.

“Four Diamond establishments consistently deliver attentive service and memorable travel experiences in comfortable, high-quality surroundings,” said Michael Petrone, director of AAA Tourism Information Development. “To achieve and maintain these exceptional standards on a daily basis is a commendable achievement.”

“This AAA Four Diamond Award is a seminal moment in the re-emergence of the Hotel Blackhawk,” said General Manager Tim Heim. “To have the hip and historic experience we strive to deliver for our guests every day recognized nationally is an awesome privilege. We are proud to receive this prestigious designation.”

Hotel Blackhawk re-opened December 15th, 2010. The hotel retains its 96-year-old historic character while featuring modern conveniences throughout the 130 guestrooms and extended-stay suites, six meeting rooms and up to 300-person banquet capacity in the signature Gold Room.

Other features include wireless internet, a fitness center, business center, swimming pool, hot tub, Spa Luce (lu-CHAY), Milan Flower Shop, the Bix Bistro restaurant, the Beignet (been-YAY) Done That coffee shop and Blackhawk Bowl & Martini Lounge. The hotel is part of the Summit Hotels & Resorts group ( and the Historic Hotels of America network (

For more, visit or find us on (Search: Hotel Blackhawk).



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