Mason City's Great River City Festival returns, along with a polka fest in Duncan, and tours of homes, studios, and the cemetery. Mark your calendars.
• The Great River City Festival is Sept. 15-16 in downtown Mason City, beginning with the 14th annual Ethnic Lunch by Central Park from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday. There will be ethnic food vendors, cultural displays and music. That night, Chocolate Crackers will play for Friday Night Live. Set for 6-10 p.m., it will feature food, beverages, inflatables, games, and a craft show.
On Saturday, Sept. 16, the Public Enemies of 1934 will "rob" the First National Bank at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. There will also be performances by Denny's School of Dance, a costume contest and more downtown.
• The 15th annual Duncanfest is set for Sept. 16-17 in the Community Ballroom in Duncan.
Bands include Malek's Fishermen Band, Mark Vyhlidal Orchestra, Adam Sandhurst and the Jolly Jammers, and Brian and the Mississippi Valley Dutchmen. Admission is $15 Saturday, $12 Sunday, $25 for a two-day pass. Youth 18 and under are free with a paid adult. For information, visit www.duncanballroom.com.
• On Sunday, Sept. 24, five Charles City homes will be open for public viewing of their private are collections. The Home Art Tour will be 1-4 p.m. Tour tickets are $10 each, with proceeds going towards downtown beautification efforts.
Tickets are available at the Charles City Community Development Office, 401 N. Main, as well as at each of the Home Art Tour locations the day of the event: Jon and Ann Schneckloth, 3050 227th St.; Donna and Larry Stewart, 1208 Ellis Drive; Norma Breitbach, 1207 Ellis Drive; Art and Susan Strong, 99 Riverside Ave.; Janiece and Bruce Bergland, 2534 155th St.
• The Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery History Walk will be Saturday, Sept. 30. The theme is “Celebrating 150 Years of Service to the Community” and will feature people that guided the cemetery through the first 100 years.
Afternoon portrayals will include: Irving & Jennie Card, Ralph Stanbery, Mary Knapp, Nettie Cadwell, Carl Parker, Monsignor P.S. O’Connor and Guy Zach. The evening stroll will highlight the lives of: Daniel Durkin, Frank Sheffler, Benjamin Randall, and Willie Doolittle.
• The 2017 North Iowa Art Studio Tour is set for Sept. 29 to Oct. 1. Visit 19 artists in 10 locations over the three-day tour in Mason City, Clear Lake and Sheffield.
Admission is free. Hours are 4-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept, 30, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1. The tour is supported by Art on the Plaza in Mason City.
• Fall Fest Junkapalooza is Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at Heritage Park of North Iowa, with vintage finds, antiques and repurposed pieces, swap meet dealers, home-based businesses and other craft vendors. There will also be family activities, kid train and horse rides, and Giant Pumpkin carver demonstrations.
Former Minnesota Vikings football player Ted Brown will sign autographs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1. Admission is $2 per person; kids 12 and under are free.