I actually got this list done on time! And by on time, I mean the first event is TONIGHT. So, here it is Northwest Iowa, your completely incomplete list of the amazing places, spaces, events and activities to enjoy in Emmetsburg Iowa this summer!
As always, I’m sure I missed several things so feel free to add anything you love to do in the comments, and of course like and share this post on Facebook to spread the news on the great things happening in Emmetsburg!
Attend a Municipal Band Concert
The Emmetsburg Municipal Band performs every Thursday evening in June at 7:00pm. Grab your friends, a bottle of wine, some juice boxes and snacks and head to Soper Park to enjoy the sounds of the season! In the case of inclement weather, concerts will be held at the Emmetsburg High School auditorium… so maybe skip the wine and crackers on those nights Check the band out on Facebook here: Emmetsburg Municipal Band.
Take in a Free Movie in the Great Outdoors.
Or the lawn of The Shores Community Center, I guess. Electricity is a bit hard to come by in the great outdoors. FUEL, a division of the Emmetsburg Chamber shows a kid’s movie once a month. The first showing this summer is Friday June 2nd featuring Moana.
Catch a live production of Annie Jr.
Our amazing non profit Main Street Community Theatre opens Friday, June 2nd at 7pm with Annie Jr. featuring kids of all ages. The show runs for two weekends, with Friday showings at 7pm and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Check out all of the details and stay up to date on upcoming shows on their Facebook page here: Mainstreet Community Theatre. Bring your family and enjoy this incredible performance!
Fun on Five
I’m not sure that I have the words to describe this incredible day, but my friend Brook amazing photos to help me out. From kayaking to disc golf, to bounce houses and sand castles with yoga, live music, food, family, friends, fishing, biking, a bags tournament, bike ride and all around fun thrown in for good measure, the second annual Fun on the Five celebration has it all. Events are scattered throughout Emmetsburg’s amazing outdoor parks and recreation areas including Soper Park, Harrison Park, The Shores Community Center and Kearney State Park. Check out the full schedule of events and drink in the amazing photography of Donyelle Brook below and keep up to date on all of the events on Facebook here: Fun on the Five.
Camp and Play at Kearney State Park.
Or just gather friends around for an evening fire. This amazing state park includes a walking bridge to First Island (the first of the famous Five) and some of the most breathtaking views of Five Island Lake. Kearny Park boasts 16 electrical hookups for campers and RV’s, plus 10 tent sites nestled into 100 year old oak trees. The restroom and shower facilities are clean and updated and there are both indoor and outdoor shelters available to gather. Did I mention that Kearney is adjacent to both The Shores Community Center and Five Island Golf Course, and has a boat ramp and dock for swimming or fishing? It’s pretty much got everything and it’s right in the middle of Emmetsburg- how lucky are we?
Kayak or Canoe Five Island Lake
Take your time, enjoy the view, explore everything nature has to offer here. Geese, deer and eagles and serenity abound. Push off from Soper Park beach on the south bay, or just north of the trestle in Sewell Park on the east side of the lake. Don’t have your own gear? Don’t have your own canoe or kayak? Rentals are available at The Shores at Five Island Community Center.
3. Canoe the Des Moines River
Craving wilderness? Hop into the West Fork of the Des Moines River and follow it to Basswood Recreation Area. Picnic on a sandbar, fish or just enjoy the quiet and incredible scenery. This DNR map is loaded with great information on access points.
4. Hike Basswood Recreation Area
Since you’re stopping here anyway, why not take the time to hike the trails? A good friend tells me that early summer and fall are the best times to visit, it’s gets buggy in mid summer. Bonuses include views of the river and the opportunity to bring home a pet snail!
Take in a Free Movie at The Riviera Theater.
Too hot to be outside? Check out what’s showing at The Riviera. Located in the heart of downtown, The Riviera is accessible on foot or by bike from almost anywhere in the city limits. They offer a series of free movies throughout the summer. Best of all, the regular ticket prices are super affordable- just $5 for adults and $3 for children under twelve. The Riviera also offers free movies throughout Christmas break and free kids’ movies on early out school days. The theater can be rented out privately for birthday parties. Or maybe you just want to stop in for a bag of AMAZING popcorn to go. Whatever you’re up for, stop in and enjoy!
Attend the Palo Alto County Fair
I don’t know what exactly it is, but the Palo Alto County Fair is one of my favorite events all year long. I love that it’s free to attend, I love that my kids never tire of running through the animal barns, I love the look of pride on the 4-H kids’s faces as they care for and show their animals and I love stuffing my face with homemade pie. Ok, so maybe I do know what it is. The fair is scheduled for July 20-23rd this summer and you can keep up to date on the schedule of events on their Facebook page here: Palo Alto County Fair.
Jump Off of the T-Dock
Ever wonder why the T-Dock is such a popular swimming spot? Because it’s fun. Plain and simple. It doesn’t matter if you are 7 or 70, jumping off the t-dock is a right of passage for all of those who live or visit Emmetsburg. It was always a favorite spot for my younger cousins when they journeyed across the US each summer to visit and I loved being able to act like a kid again. This summer, I realized that I don’t need an excuse, or to be 12, to take advantage of this simple pleasure. I’ll be jumping off the T-Dock before fall hits and you should too. I double dog dare you.
Enjoy a Drink Lakeside at The Shores
Beer, wine, coffee, soda or water. This is one of my family’s favorites spots. It’s rare we get on the boat without a request to stop here and grab a snack, from chips to mozzerella sticks. The view is spectacular, the service is great and kids are welcome. Get there already!
Dine Al Fresco at Dublin’s.
This has to be one of Emmetsburg’s best kept dining secrets. The back porch at Dublin’s is loaded with rustic charm and offers one of the most peaceful prairie views you will find inside of the city limits. And the food, OMG the food. Hand crafted everything. Serving at Dublin’s was one of my first jobs and I still remember walking in to the smell of pork outside in the smoker, the sight of Joe hand cutting steaks on the butcher block and the sound of homemade ranch dressing being mixed in a stainless steal bowl. There is nothing fast about food this wonderful, and one of my favorite parts of dining at Dublin’s are the moments spent with friends and family in the time it takes for that incredible food to be prepared. So mark a few hours out of your night, stop in, tell Sherri and Nicole hi and enjoy the food, the wine, the craft beer, the view, the atmosphere, and most importantly, each other.
Keep ‘EM Brewing
Try your hand at home brewing… or just take a note from me and enjoy the fruits of the home brewer’s labor. Sponsored by local radio station KEMB, the home brew contest takes place on August 5th. The real fun (for me and other lazy beer drinkers) is the celebration on Saturday August 12th in Soper Park and includes a beer garden, craft beer tasting and the People’s Choice Homebrew winner. Emmetsburg native Dan O’Leary brings his band, TV and the Bellard Yellers back for the second year with their one of a kind blend of rock, bluegrass and country. Beer and live music lakeside? Twist my arm.
I know there are some amazing things missing, so feel free to comment below and leave pictures of your local summer favorites. And a HUGE thank you to everyone who provided input and pictures for this post!!