North Iowa celebrates architects and family bands, the return of summer festivals and municipal bands to area parks. We'll be singing along, creating art, maybe even eating a little birthday cake. 

Celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright's 150th birthday in Mason City

The public is invited to celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday on Thursday, June 8, at the Robert E. McCoy Architectural Interpretive Center.

Stop in for birthday cake while it lasts, and see the exhibits. The center will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

At 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., enjoy a 30-minute program for kids of all ages about "The Three Little Pigs." The pigs represent three famous American architects who have made their mark on the landscape of modern architecture. Guess whose house foils the big bad wolf? Try your hand at building like Frank Lloyd Wright, Philip Johnson, or Frank Gehry.

Hourly tours of the Frank Lloyd Wright Stockman House start at 10 a.m., with the last tour at 3 p.m. Regular admission will be charged. Stockman House tours are available every day during the summer months. Go to and click on ‘Tour Info’ for more information.

The Robert E. McCoy Architectural Interpretive Center and Gift Shop is open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 1-3 p.m. Sunday; and 10 a.m.-noon Monday and Tuesday.

Thursdays on Main begins in Clear Lake

Sail into the weekend tonight, June 8, with the first "Thursdays on Main" of the summer. The event begins at 6 p.m. on Main Street in Clear Lake, with food, bounce houses, kids' activities, laser tag, hand-powered kiddie train rids, crafts, and food. Stores are also open late.

Turbo Tumbling will provide special entertainment at 6:30 p.m. on the corner of Third and Main. Midwest Rock and Soul Revue will begin playing at 7 p.m.

Thursdays on Main activities end at 9, when the fun moves to City Park for the showing of Moana (PG) at 9.

Municipal Bands bring music to North Iowa

Mason City Municipal Band kicks of a weekend of concerts at 7:30 tonight, June 8, on the North Plaza of Southbridge Mall. Russ Kramer is the conductor, and Bob Fisher, the announcer. The program includes "Ticonderoga" March, "Raymond Overture," "Marche Russe," "Down A Country Lane," "La Fonda," "An Original Suite," and selections from "Chicago."

Saturday's concert, part of the MacNider Arts Festival, begins at 4 p.m., and includes "Jolly Robbers" Overture, "Shenandoah," Hawaii Five-0," "The Padstow Lifeboat," "Hurricane!" "Watermusic Suite," and "South Pacific" Selections.

Clear Lake Municipal Band begins its 87th season with concerts in the Ludwig Wangberg Band Shell in City Park. Brandon Borseth is the director, and Chuck Cooper, the announcer.

The Saturday, June 10, concert is at 7 p.m., and will include “Triumphant Fanfare,” “St. James Infirmary,” “Porgy and Bess Medley,” “Overture for Winds,” “Shaker Gift Song,” "Hosts of Freedom,” and “Latin Reverie.”

The concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 11, will include “Firehouse Rag,” “The Dauntless Battalion” March, “Forrest Gump,” “Just A Closer Walk With Thee,” “The Walking Frog” Two Step, “Swingin’ Shepherd Blues” and “Best Broadway Marches.”

The Hampton Municipal Band, directed by Chris Sauke, continues its 96th season with a concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, in the Band Shell.

“Saxophonia" will feature the saxophone section, and vocalist Andrea Gibson will be featured on “Over the Rainbow” from "Wizard of Oz." Other selections include "Liberty Fleet," "That’s Entertainment," "Seussical the Musical," "Layla," and "The Joker’s Revenge."

Fun Friday at Central Gardens of North Iowa

On June 9, stroll down to Central Gardens of North Iowa in Clear Lake for Fresh on Fridays, offered 8-11 a.m. Fridays through the summer. Purchase a fresh flower bouquet, and enjoy coffee and goodies for a small donation.

From 9:30-10:30 a.m., Central Gardens will offer the first of a four-week educational series for children and their families. Each week, children will learn through hands-on activities and tasting experiences in the garden. This week, children will frost gluten-free banana cake muffins, decorate them with edible flowers, discuss garden safety and the importance of knowing what a plant is before eating it.

The following weeks' programs will be: Go Crazy for Kale, Rainbows, and Garden Pizza Party. The series is free, facilitated by BE WELLness, and will be at the lower level of the Nature Education Pavilion. Registration isn't required, and the workshops will be offered rain or shine.

Also at 9:30 a.m., Todd Von Ehwegen of Lime Creek Nature Center will present a program on Planting for Monarchs and Pollinators in the upper level of the Nature Education Pavilion. Admission is free for the hour-long program.

A special "Milkweed Matters" event, led by staff from the Lime Creek Nature Center, will be offered Friday at the garden, and Saturday at the Clear Lake Farmers Market.

All ages are invited to help roll milkweed seed balls for monarch habitat. As part of the “Milkweed Matters” program, the seed balls will be given to bike riders to toss into ditches when RAGBRAI rolls through North Iowa. Seed ball making will be 8-11 a.m. Friday, June 9, at Central Gardens of North Iowa and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, June 10, at the Clear Lake Farmers Market.

Charles City celebrates with Party in the Park

Friday night, it's all happening at Charles City, with the second Party in the Park of 2017 from 5-9 p.m. in Central Park.

It will feature inflatable fun with the EuroBungy and the Homerun Derby, along with carnival games, pedal car races, mini golf, face painting, caricature drawings and more.

Enjoy the sounds of a five-piece 1980s rock band, Redline, from the Waverly/Cedar Falls /Dysart are.

Admission is free. Food and beverages are available for purchase with “Chuck Chip” currency. The lime green chips may be obtained from the “Chuck Chip Table” near the center of the park or from volunteers in red Chuck aprons. Chuck Chips are also available at the Community Development Office, 401 N. Main Street, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Future Party in the Park events will be June 23, July 14, and Aug. 4. For more information, call 641-228-2335 or visit

Watch out for pirates at MacNider's festival in Mason City

The always popular MacNider Arts Festival and Outdoor Art Market is Saturday, June 10, with a pirate theme - “AHOY Art.”

Children's art activities, an Art Market of talented artists, musical entertainment, outdoor food, and long-time festival traditions will be part of the fun, all on the lawns of the Charles H. MacNider Museum and the adjacent Mason City Public Library. Free and open to the public.

The day begins with the mayor and city council’s free pancake breakfast from 9-10 a.m. (or until gone). Starting at 11 a.m., the museum will have food for sale, with proceeds benefiting the festival and museum programming.

Children’s activities will be offered for free or a small fee from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kids can create cork ships, telescopes, treasure chests, and more.

Music throughout the day will feature Central Standard Time, Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, Malek's Fishermen Band, and the Mason City Municipal Band.

The Art Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participating artists include Richard Leet (painting/drawing), Bill Mateer (pottery), Amy Palmer (mosaic), and Chris White-Rozendaal (glass).

For information, visit and the museum's Facebook site.

Sing Along with Dawn in Hampton

Sing-alongs don't stop just because it's summertime. 

Join song leader Dawn Groszkruger for an hour of community singing during the monthly Old Fashioned Sing-Along on Sunday, June 11, at Hampton's historic Windsor Theatre.

Leon Kuehner on keyboard and Brian Stevens on tuba will accompany attendees on a variety of songs, including some tunes to celebrate the upcoming Father's Day.

Doors open at 3:30 p.m. for socializing and free popcorn. Singing begins at 4.

This is a free event, but a basket will be available for donations to the theater. If you have questions, call Groszkruger at 641-425-8716.

Malek's Band is going strong in Duncan

Malek’s Band will be celebrating 85 years of Malek Music, and 50 Years of Bob Malek’s Fishermen on Sunday, June 11, at the Community Ballroom in Duncan. This free dance, from 1-6 p.m., will feature the Malek Fishermen Band. The band's latest CD, its 11th, will be for sale, food will be available for purchase and a cash bar will be open.

When the work was done, the instruments came out. That’s the way it was in the 1930s for brothers Syl and Ed Malek. The Czech village of Duncan was full of music, and small bands were just a part of everyday life.

In 1932, Malek Bros. Accordion Band was born. Syl and Ed played a few gigs by themselves, adding musicians when they played barn dances. In the 1960s, Syl took a break; Ed and trumpet player Marv Lackore, along with their kids, began L&M Family Affair, which continued into the 1980s.

In 1967, Syl’s son Bob, started “The Fishermen” band, officially becoming Malek’s Fishermen Band in the mid-1970s, and Syl returned to the bandstand. In the early 1990s, Bob’s son Eric joined the band, and the third generation of Malek’s began.

Syl died in 1994, but the band kept going, with Bob’s daughter Crystal on sax and vocals; trumpet duo Bob and Eric; cousin Bill Malek on concertina, aunt Elsie Vavrik on keyboard, Earl Erdmann on drums, and “Tuba Don” VanDiepen on bass horn. The current band also includes Bob’s cousin, Ron Hrubes, and Eric’s wife, Kimberly (Sandhurst) Malek.

For more information, visit

Rockabilly returns to Surf Ballroom with Brian Setzer

Iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy Award-winner Brian Setzer will bring his “Rockabilly Riot!” Tour to the Surf Ballroom on Wednesday, June 14. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Armed with Stray Cats gems like “Rock This Town,’” and “Stray Cat Strut,” he'll also have songs like “Let’s Shake” from his latest solo studio album, "Rockabilly Riot!: All Original."

His band members are Noah Levy on drums, Kevin McKendree on piano/guitar and Mark Winchester on bass.

“(Winchester) grew up slapping the bass and is in a class of his own," Setzer said in a news release. "The slap bass is a rhythmic sounding instrument, so the drummer has to be very in time with him in order not to sound sloppy. Noah Levy is a very on-the-beat solid drummer... I push everything while they hold it all in place. And when you’re talking about the great rockabilly piano players, it’s a very short list, and Kevin McKendree is on it. We all just complement each other.”

Setzer is widely credited for taking two forgotten genres, rockabilly and swing, and adding his own style - reinventing and resurrecting them in the process. Consistently cited as one of the world’s greatest living guitarists, he has scored chart-topping hits, sold 13 million records and received the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award throughout his career as founder/leader of the Stray Cats, his 19-piece Brian Setzer Orchestra, and as a solo artist.

Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door, available at 641-357-6151 or Box office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday (year-round); 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday (Memorial Day through Labor Day).  


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