It goes without saying - this week is all about the Fourth of July celebration in North Iowa. But there's music, and art, and Bill Riley Talent Show competitions. There's no shortage of things to do.

July Fourth festivities begin in earnest today in Clear Lake.

Starting at 5 p.m., you can enjoy the carnival and stroll the arts and craft fair in downtown Clear Lake. Live music begins at 7 p.m. nightly in City Park, with Crossfire Thursday, The Punching Pandas on Friday, popular tribute band Arch Allies on Saturday, StraitRun Band on Sunday, The Hepperly Band on Monday, and the Clear Lake Municipal Band, of course, on Tuesday.

There's also bingo daily beginning Friday, Family Day on Sunday, plus the parade and fireworks on Tuesday, July 4.

Belmond is “Rockin’ the Red, White and Blue”

The four-day Belmond celebration, “Rockin’ the Red, White and Blue,” begins Saturday, with the Firecracker Classic 5K run at 8:30 a.m. Signup begins at 7:30.

Minneapolis photographer Kristine Heykants will lead a workshop from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Jenison-Meacham Art Center, where her photo exhibit opens with a reception at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Sunday activities include an 8 a.m. omelet brunch at the fire station, a 9:30 community church service in City Park. On Monday, July 3, a kiddie tractor pull will begin at 1 p.m. at the Rehabilitation Center of Belmond. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m.

On Monday, the Kiddie Parade begins at 5 p.m. from the United Methodist Church, with a carnival at the Iowa Specialty Hospital parking lot.

The July 4 parade is at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, with a car and tractor show, disc golf and 3 on 3 basketball tournaments, Bingo, inflatables for kids, petting zoo, and food. The football stadium opens at 7 p.m., with music by The Executives from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for those under 18. Kids can sign up in a drawing to light the first firework of the night.

Friday at the Surf: Puddle of Mudd with Saving Abel

Puddle of Mudd, with Saving Abel, will perform Friday, June 30, at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, and $25 at the door.

Puddle of Mudd has achieved success on rock radio. To date the band has sold more than seven million albums, with a string of no. 1 mainstream rock singles in the United States, including “Blurry,” “Psycho” and “She Hates Me.”

Saving Abel was formed in 2004 and features a "Southern Rockin' Tennessippi" sound. The band performs almost 300 dates a year in a variety of locations all over the country, from the Machine Shop to Whiskey A GoGo, and all size venues from intimate acoustic bars to festival arenas. Some of their most popular songs during performances are “Addicted,” “Bringing Down the Giant” and “Miss America.”

More music Sunday at the Surf

On Sunday, July 2, C & C Music Factory with Rob Base will be at the Surf Ballroom.

Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, and $25 at the door.

Billboard magazine ranked C & C as one of the most successful dance artists of all-time. The group is best known for hit singles "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)," "Here We Go," and "Things That Make You Go Hmmmm."

Surf Ballroom box office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Memorial Day through Labor Day, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Tickets may be purchased by calling 641-357-6151 or on-line at

Municipal Bands of North Iowa will celebrate the Fourth in style

Mason City Municipal Band will play its regular Thursday concert at 7:30 p.m. June 29 on the North Plaza of Southbridge Mall. Russ Kramer is the conductor and Bob Fisher, the announcer.

Thursday's program includes "Noble Men" March, "The Secret Marriage Overture," "El Caballero," "Ammerland," Formations, Mvt. 5 – “Slink," "Bye Bye Birdie" and "The Bride-Elect" March.

In case of inclement weather, the concert will be held in center court of Southbridge Mall.

The band’s next concert will be Monday, July 3, at 8:45 p.m. at Mohawk Field on the MCHS Campus as part of the Exchange Club’s annual Independence Day Celebration. 

The program begins with "Hosts of Freedom" March, followed by presentation of the colors. Other selections include "The Star Spangled Banner," "God Bless America," "The Naval Sea Cadet March," "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," "Dixie," Fantasy on “Yankee Doodle," "A Salute to the Armed Services" and "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

The Mason City Municipal Band will perform its final concert of the season at 7:30 p.m. July 6, on the north plaza of Southbridge Mall.

The Hampton Municipal Band, directed by Chris Sauke, will present its annual July 4th concert at 8 p.m. Monday, July 3, in conjunction with the Hampton Fireworks celebration.

The band will perform by the school house in Pleasant Hill at the fairgrounds. The concert will feature popular and patriotic selections, including a salute to each branch of the military.

The program includes "Strike Up the Band," "Torch of Liberty," "Americans We," "Fantasy on an Early American Marching Song," "You’re A Grand Ole Flag," "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," and "God Bless the USA."

Clear Lake Municipal Band, directed by Brandon Borseth, will play at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 4, at the Ludwig Wangberg Band Shell in City Park. The announcer is Chuck Cooper.

The concert program includes “Buglers' Holiday” by Leroy Anderson, featuring trumpeters Bruce Jolivette, Chris Bell and Jim Reynolds. Other selections include “Yankee Fanfare,” “Americans We,” “Duty, Honor, Country,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Armed Forces Salute,” “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” as arranged by Lud Wangberg.

Carnival and Fireworks Day in Meservey

The Meservey Library will host its first-ever carnival as part of Meservey's annual "Fireworks Day."

The carnival will take place in Schoolhouse Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 1. There will be inflatables, a petting zoo from Enchanted Acres, carnival games, face painting, hot dogs, sno-cones, popcorn, and lots of prizes.

Admission is free. There will be a bucket for freewill donations to help fund next year's carnival.

Bill Riley Talent Search opportunities abound in North Iowa

The Bill Riley Talent Search competition has become a Charles City Fourth of July Celebration tradition. This year's show is 1 p.m. Sunday, July 2, at the Charles Theatre. 

“We have some unbelievably talented youth in this region," said Charles City Community Development Director and local show co-organizer Mark Wicks. “And thanks to our local sponsors, we once again are offering one of the largest prize pots of any of the Bill Riley qualifying contests across Iowa.”

The first place winner in the Senior Division (ages 13-21) will take home $100 and the first place winner in the Sprout Division (ages 2-12) will win $50. Second place Senior and Sprout winners will receive $50 and $25, respectively, while third place finishers will receive $25 (Senior) and $10 (Sprout).

The contest is open to the public and admission is free. Application forms are available at the Community Development Office, 401 N. Main St., 641-228-4234, or by e-mailing

Belmond will hold a Bill Riley Talent Search at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 2, at Luick Memorial Auditorium. There will be cash prizes for the top three acts in each category. For information, call Linda at 641-512-5083.

Bill Riley Talent Search will also be in Forest City as part of the Puckerbrush Days Celebration. The show is at 2 p.m. July 15 and is open to the public. Register to compete in the Sprout and Senior Divisions by contacting show coordinator Kevin Mason at 641-585-8321.

A Bill Riley Talent Search will be at 2 p.m. July 23 at the North Iowa Events Center, Mason City, as part of the North Iowa Fair. The show is open to the public. Register to compete in the Sprout and Senior Divisions by contacting show coordinator Debbie Foster (641-423-3811, or Lori Arends (641-583-1444,

The winning act from each division at each competition will qualify to compete at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Aug. 10-20, with prize money at the Iowa State Fair championship totaling more than $17,000.00. For more information about all of the local shows and contestant rules, visit

Kids & Canvas at the Clear Lake Arts Center

If you're looking for something fun and creative to do with the grandkids while they are visiting over the holiday, check out the Clear Lake Arts Center. On Wednesday, July 5, an adult and child class, "Kids & Canvas," will be offered at 1:30 p.m. at the arts center. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Cristina Newton will teach participants the step-by-step process of painting slices of juicy, vibrant “Fresh Watermelon.” All materials are provided, right down to the paint smocks. The cost of $40 per couple (adult and child) includes light snacks and beverages. To register, contact the arts center at 641-357-1998 or

Wrestling in Clarion

Heartland Museum will host Clarion: Wrestling Powerhouse from 1 to 3 p.m. on July 1. The event is free to the public.

Special guest is Dan McCool, who has been around wrestling his entire life. Growing up in Clarion, McCool has covered wrestling for more than 30 years, including for the Des Moines Register.

In 2009, McCool began a new career as an author. He published the first edition of “Reach For The Stars: The Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament” in 2011. He also published several editions of “Wrestlers, Clear The Mats…,” a compilation of what is believed to be everyone who has participated in the Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament since 1921.

The Heartland Museum is located at 119 Ninth St. S.W., Clarion. For more information, call 515-602-6000.


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