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Catch the local municipal bands before their seasons end. See some top-notch bicycle racing while enjoying barbecue, blues and craft beer. Learn a bit about local architecture. And take a trip north across the border to watch your talented neighbors in the musical "Mary Poppins."

Thursdays on Main returns

After a hiatus for the July 4th festivities, "Thursdays on Main" resumes tonight, July 6, in downtown Clear Lake.

The fun begins at 6 p.m. with bounce houses, kids' activities, laser tag, hand-powered kiddie train rids, crafts, vendor market and food. Stores are also open late.

The Barnacle Bill Band 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 Alice Through the Looking Glass (PG) at 9.

For more musical entertainment, head to the Surf Ballroom for the Thursday Summer Showcase Series from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Strait Run will be playing, with Joseph Nino opening.

Municipal Bands - don't miss them

Mason City Municipal Band will play its final concert of the season at 7:30 tonight, July 6, on the North Plaza of Southbridge Mall. Russ Kramer is the conductor, and Bob Fisher, the announcer. The program includes "Beau Ideal" March, "Cosi Fan Tutti Overture," "Brighton Beach," "Sleepers, Awake!" "Days of Wine and Roses" "Lerner and Loewe in Concert" and "The High Private" March.

Clear Lake Municipal Band will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 9, in the Ludwig Wangberg Band Shell in City Park. There will not be a concert on Saturday. Brandon Borseth is the director, and Chuck Cooper, the announcer.

Susan Carrot, vocal soloist, will be featured on “Blue Moon.” Carrott received an elementary education and music education degree from Morningside College, where she met her husband, Brian Carrott from Clear Lake. They moved to Mason City in 2001, and Clear Lake in 2015. She has taught in the Central Springs school district for 15 years.

The program includes “Washington Post,” “Norwegian Folk Rhapsody,” “The Crosley March,” “Walt Disney Overture,” “Leroy Anderson Portrait,” and “The Big Cage.”

The Hampton Municipal Band offers its seventh and final concert of the season at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 11, in the Band Shell. The band is directed by Chris Sauke. The concert will feature Leon Kuehner as soloist performing “Trumpeter’s Lullaby.”

The program also includes "Sparks," "Superman Returns," "River of Life," "March of the Belgian Paratroopers," "The Best of Journey," "Salvation is Created" and "The National Fencibles."

Bicycle, Blues & BBQ Festival 

Bicycle, Blues & BBQ Festival will be July 7-9 in Clear Lake. The party starts at 5 p.m. Friday in City Park, with barbecue and music by Brian Naughton Band, Rachelle Coba, and Joe Moss, who is being inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Saturday’s activities begin at 7:30 a.m. with time trial races. Barbecue begins at 11 a.m., with blues by The Cash Box Kings beginning at 8:30 p.m. The criterium runs from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The second annual Brews on the Beach is 1-4 p.m., with 25 Iowa craft breweries. VIP ticket holders gain access at noon. Admission is $30; $45 for VIP.

Rounding out the weekend is Sunday’s road race, beginning at 10 a.m. at Tourist Park, ending with awards around 3 p.m. For information, visit

John Waters to speak at the MacNider Art Museum on July 8

Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin: Designing Community from Iowa to Australia” will be presented by John Waters at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 8, in the Salsbury Room at the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum, 303 Second St. S.E.

This is in conjunction with the "In Her Own Right: Marion Mahony Griffin" exhibition on display in the Kinney Lindstrom Gallery to Aug. 16. Seating is first come, first served, and is free and open to the public.

With their 1911 first prize-winning entry in the competition for the new federal capital of Australia at Canberra, the Griffins implemented concepts they had developed in previous American projects. Their design for Rock Crest/Rock Glen in Mason City, built from 1912 on, became their finest planning work in America and the most complete example of Prairie School planning in the country. Ideas learned in Mason City would be further developed in the Griffins’ later work in Australia.

This talk will focus on Griffins’ design ideas that weave their way from Midwestern America to Australia, displaying a consistent emphasis on the connection between community and its natural setting.

Waters, a registered architect based in Chicago, is the Preservation Programs Manager at the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and co-director of the Victorian Society in America’s Chicago Summer School. His independent projects have included writing the National Register of Historic Places nominations for the Griffins’ Rock Crest/Rock Glen development in Mason City and for Walter Burley Griffin’s Sloane House in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Other activities on July 8 include the Architectural Walking Tour ($5) at 9 a.m. and Historical Rock Crest/Rock Glen Home Tours ($25) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Register for the Architectural Walking Tour by calling 641-421-3666. Tickets for the home tours, which include the Melson House, Tom MacNider House, Blythe House, and the Page House, can be purchased at the museum.

Cool down with homemade ice cream

Homemade Ice Cream Day will be observed at Kinney Pioneer Museum in Mason City on Sunday, July 9. From 1 to 4 p.m., enjoy homemade ice cream and cake, tour the museum, check out the demonstrations, including broom making, weaving, the radio station, and more. Try your hand at cranking the old-fashion ice cream freezer.

Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for children under 12. Cost for ice cream, cake, cookies and drink, is $2. The museum, located at the entrance to the Mason City Municipal Airport, is open until 5.

It's an old-fashioned sing-along in Hampton

Join song leader Dawn Groszkruger for an hour of community singing during the monthly Old Fashioned Sing-Along on Sunday, July 9, at Hampton's historic Windsor Theatre.

Diane Wills of Hampton will accompany the singers on a variety of patriotic songs, including some camp and summer songs. Listeners are always welcome.

Doors open at 3:30 p.m. for socializing and free popcorn. Music 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, 641-425-8716.

"Fly-In" breakfast, rides offered Sunday in Charles City

Everyone is welcome to the Charles City Lions Club All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast during the NE Iowa Regional Airport Fly-In on Sunday, July 9.

Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Cost is $6 for adults, $4 for kids 12 and under. Children 4 and under eat for free.

While there, you can take a plane ride for $20 per person, or a helicopter ride for $30 p per person. Check out the cool aircraft and have breakfast in the most unusual "restaurant" you'll ever see.

The airport is located on Highway 18 east of Charles City.

Visit Dick Leet at Art on the Plaza

Dick Leet, well-known watercolor artist and former director of MacNider Art Museum, will be the featured artist of the month from 3 to 6 p.m. July 13 at "Art on the Plaza," 11 S. Federal Ave., in Mason City. The public is invited to meet the artist and enjoy light refreshments.

The event is every second Thursday of the month featuring a new artist. Find Art on the Plaza on its Facebook page, Art on the Plaza Gallery Owned.

North Iowans play Mary Poppins, Bert and others in Albert Lea musical

“Mary Poppins” opens July 13 at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center in downtown Albert Lea. There will be nine performances of the musical, through July 22, by the Albert Lea Community Theatre.

The production includes several North Iowans: Mary Poppins, Rebecca Griffin (Clear Lake); Bert, Luke Zacharias (Forest City); Jane, Claire Levine (Lake Mills); Robertson Ay, Braden Deal (Manly); and Mrs. Corry, Connie Dianda (Mason City).

Young Jane and Michael Banks have sent many a nanny packing before Mary Poppins arrives on their doorstep. Using a combination of magic and common sense, she must teach the Banks family how to value each other again. Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s “Mary Poppins” is an enchanting mixture of irresistible story, breathtaking dance numbers and unforgettable songs, such as “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Jolly Holiday” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

Performamces are July 13-16 and 19-22. Shows start at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, July 16, and Saturday, July 22.

Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for students, available by calling 1-877-730-3144 (toll-free), online at or at the box office, which is open Monday-Thursday at 8:30 a.m.


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