So many festivals this weekend. Don't miss out.

It's happening at Thursdays on Main

Join the crowd tonight, July 20, at "Thursdays on Main" in downtown Clear Lake.

It starts at 6 p.m. with classic cars, bounce houses, kids' activities, laser tag, hand-powered kiddie train rids, crafts, vendor market, food trucks and more. Stores are also open late.

There's special entertainment by Turbo Tumbling at 6:30 p.m.. GRIN takes the stage at 7 p.m., playing music until 9.

Thursdays on Main activities end at 9, when the fun moves to City Park for the showing of Civil War - Captain America (PG13).

The Summer Showcase Series continues at the Surf Ballroom, with music from 7 to 9:30 p.m. by the Surf Zombies, playing instrumental surf rock and roll. Abby Smith will open the show. Admission is free; freewill donations are accepted.

Globe Gazette's own Up In Smoke BBQ Bash starts Friday

Head to East Park in Mason City beginning Friday night for the 14th annual North Iowa Up in Smoke BBQ Bash.

More than 45 teams from across the U.S. will compete for more than $10,000 in prize money at the Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned competition, which includes a food festival, live music, and a children’s inflatable playground.

Sponsored by the Globe Gazette, the two-day event is considered one of the top barbecue competitions in the Midwest. Admission is free. Hours are 5-11 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Beer sampling, sponsored by Kabrick Distributing, will feature craft and specialty beers at 6 p.m. Friday. The Mason City Jaycees will host a bag tournament at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Popular Up in Smoke regulars Standing Hampton will headline at 7 p.m. Friday, with Sheltered Reality opening at 5:30. Family-friendly entertainment additions on Saturday include music by The Spacemen at 11 a.m. and magician/comedian Mike Prestby at 1 p.m. Bolder Road returns this year to close out the entertainment beginning at 2.

Tommy Castro and The Painkillers rock the Surf

Catch six-time Blues Music Award winner Tommy Castro and his band The Painkillers on Friday, July 21, at the Surf Ballroom, 460 N. Shore Drive, in Clear Lake.

Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17 in advance and $22 at the door, available at, 641-357-6151.

Tommy Castro & The Painkilllers’ latest album is "Method To My Madness," the critically-acclaimed 15th release of Castro’s four-decade career.

Born in San Jose, California, in 1955, Castro first picked up a guitar at age 10. He fell under the spell of blues rockers Eric Clapton and Elvin Bishop, later discovering the blues guitar work of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Buddy Guy, and the deep-rooted soul voices of singers like Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and James Brown.

In 2009, Castro came to Alligator Records, releasing "Hard Believer" and winning four of his six career Blues Music Awards, including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year Award.

Castro formed The Painkillers with bassist Randy McDonald, keyboardist Michael Emerson and drummer Bowen Brown, in 2012, creating a lean, mean four-piece lineup, and stripping his music down to its raw essence. The band released "The Devil You Know" in 2014, and is working on its next album, set for release in the fall. 

Another Lakefest begins Saturday at Clear Lake's City Park.

The 39th annual Clear Lake Art Sail will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, organized by the Clear Lake Arts Center.

The event will feature more the 75 fine artists and fine crafts people from all over the country, the music of the Emmy Award-winning World Port Band and a book signing with local authors near the pavilion in the center of the park.

Mason City jewelers Tim Fuller and Brenda Nesheim-Fuller are the featured artists this year. Tim is a Certified Master Jeweler with Jewelers of America and Brenda is a Certified Senior Bench jeweler with Jewelers of America.

The Clear Lake Public Library’s 29th annual Iowa Storytelling Festival begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday with Celtic fingerstyle guitarist Jerry Barlow, who is both a virtuoso musician and a world-class storyteller. He brings the songs alive by sharing the history, legend and humor behind the music.

At 1 p.m., watch Sarah Uthoff portray Laura Ingalls Wilder as she packs up to move to Missouri. Uthoff, a national authority on Wilder, is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford Public Library. She is a regular keynote speaker at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Remembered event at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. From 2:30 to 3 p.m., the audience can participate as storytellers.

The festival concludes with the Lakeside DixieFest, recognized as one of the Midwest's premier traditional jazz festivals, celebrates its 25th year July 22-23. Five bands, each with its own distinct sound and style, will perform.

All performances are free. In the event of rain, it will be held in "The Dock" on Main Avenue. The decision to move will be made prior to the start of the first performance.

The Fat Babies Jazz Band, "house band" at the Green Mill Night Club in Chicago, first performed here in 2014. This group of young professionals brings new energy to music that dates back nearly 100 years.

The New Red Onion Jazz Babies, based in Kansas City, will be making their sixth appearance, most recently in 2011. This band is known for its outstanding musicianship and pure traditional Dixieland renditions.

Les Fields & The Turkey River All-Stars from Rochester were part of the first Lakeside DixieFest in 1993, and have been a part of eight previous festivals. Two members of the '93 band will return: trumpeter/leader Les Fields and banjoist Debbie Schreyer.

The Foxtrot Hot Shots, a Des Moines area group, will make their first appearance here. Led by John Benoit, early jazz historian and professor of music at Simpson College, this quintet recreates the popular music and pure jazz sounds of the 1920s.

The Raiders of the Lost Art, a popular local band, has served as the host of the event since its beginning. It is made up primarily of former music educators, and four of the original members are still with the band.

More art at the Clear Lake Arts Center

Central Gardens of North Iowa, in cooperation with the Clear Lake Arts Center, present Bloomin’ Art, an exhibition of fresh floral creations inspired by works of art July 21-23.

The exhibit will be on display noon–5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday in the Hanson Gallery at the arts center, 17 S. Fourth St. A Meet the Designer Reception will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.

The Iowa Watercolor Society’s Traveling Show is on display at the Clear Lake Arts Center through July 23. The 30 paintings exhibited represent the work of 24 Iowa artists. Internationally-known artist Sterling Edwards juried and judged this year’s competition.

Civil War Quilts explored in Kensett

Marian Lenz and Barb Snitzer of Forest City will give a Civil War Quilt program at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 23, at the Kensett Museum. The pair, who have quilted together for 15 years, will present a journey through the Civil War with the aid of reproduction quilts made with fabrics and colors that would have been popular before and during the Civil War. Refreshments will be served. The museum is air-conditioned, and the log cabin will be open.

Picnics and Performances returns to Central Gardens

Beginning July 23, and continuing from 5 to 6 p.m. every Sunday through Sept. 10, North Iowans will be able to enjoy regional, family-friendly entertainment at the Naturalist Terrace in Central Gardens of North Iowa, Clear Lake.

Dubbed “Picnics and Performances,” guests are invited to bring picnics, beverages and lawn chairs, and relax while being entertained by musicians, jugglers and other artists. Admission is free.

Dean Franzen of Cedar Falls returns as the Dean of Juggling at 5 p.m. Sunday. Franzen learned to juggle during the 1980s in San Francisco. Since then, he has performed at schools, libraries and town festivals around the Midwest. He performs with traditional props such as balls, clubs and rings, and with more unusual ones like devil sticks, diabolos, cigar boxes and unicycles.

This event is sponsored by Donna Dull and Avangrid Renewables.

There'll be more music in Clear Lake on Tuesday

Clear Lake has a full day of music planned when RAGBRAI stops there Tuesday, with music beginning at 11 a.m. from three stages.

Headliners The Wailers, Cowboy Mouth and Irie Sol will perform on the Bandshell's main stage from 6:45 to 11 p.m.

The Wailers Band perform reggae from their native Jamaica, Cowboy Mouth will dish up rock 'n roll gumbo, with rock, punk, blues and the attitude of their native New Orleans, and Irie Sol fuses genres from his native Jamaica with traditional American music forms.

Joining the “Main Stage” artists are Stan The Pan Man, The Jumbies, The Surf Zombies, The Flaming Camaros and Hitchville through 6 p.m. on the Beach Stage near City Beach.

A late night show featuring The Brazilian 2wins is set to closed out the Hanson Foundation Main Stage entertainment.

A third intimate Main Avenue Stage will feature acoustic artists Pan Dimensions and Ruthless Ruth.

For information and updates about volunteering, housing, entertainment and more, visit the event website at or email

Lunch ‘n’ Learn explores the parade of sculptures

The next session of Lunch ‘n’ Learn, offered by Charles H. MacNider Art Museum, will be Tuesday, July 25.

It will feature a discussion of “River City Sculptures on Parade” with Museum Director Edith Blanchard. It will take place outside, weather permitting, visiting as many sculptures as possible in the vicinity of the museum. People should come ready to walk. An inside program will be offered if it is raining.

This program, open to the public, and takes place from noon to 1 p.m. the last Tuesday of the month. Participants are invited to bring their lunches.