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The Week in Social 2/1-2/5

The Week in Social rounds up the best of Iowa’s uplifting stories, exciting initiatives and fun events from all 99 counties discovered through social media. In a time where every bit of good news is cherished, this series is devoted to being a fun, lighthearted way to stay informed about Iowa’s good news. 

It turns out, you don’t have to be big or old to lend a substantial helping hand.

In two months, 5-year-old Dempsey Wagner of Montrose raised more than $7,000 for a new boat for water rescues to help out the Lee County Sheriff’s office, which is currently operating without one. The issue hits close to home for Dempsey, who lost two relatives in a drowning accident in 2017.

Like many great ideas, Dempsey’s came to her while she was asleep. “I was sleeping, and I kept thinking and thinking and thinking and then I hatched an idea,” she said.

If you’re interested in donating to Dempsey’s cause, send donations online through Venmo at Erin-Wagner-49, or mail donations to the Lee County Crime Stoppers at 2530 255th Street, Montrose, Iowa 52639.

The 2021 DSM Book Festival is an event that will feature nationally acclaimed authors, hands-on learning activities, writers’ workshops, children’s activities and more. While this is the third year of the DSM Book Festival, last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic. This year, the event will be a hybrid of in-person events and virtual ones, following all COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

Select programming will be offered every Saturday from March 27–April 17 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. One of the Festival’s main offerings is the Prairie Meadows Author Series, where a headlining author will give a virtual presentation each Saturday at 3 p.m. The scheduled authors include Tayari Jones, Chuck Klosterman, Lara Prescott and Taylor Jenkins Reid.

“We are excited to bring back this event that experienced so much success and buzz in the community in 2019,” said Colleen Murphy, downtown events director at the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “Although this year’s Festival will look different, it will provide opportunities for DSM residents to engage in the community during what continues to be unusual circumstances, and we hope it will inspire people of all ages to read and learn this winter heading into spring.”

Learn more at

Bring Home the Bacon with Waterloo’s Taste of Loo

Calling all bacon lovers, mark your calendars for Waterloo’s Taste of Loo: All Things Bacon! The event has been a mainstay in Waterloo for more than 20 years and brings together a mix of new businesses and long-time staples.

The 12 participating restaurants will feature menu items that use bacon as a significant ingredient. Those interested can dine in or order takeout to support their favorite Waterloo eateries. By downloading the free digital pass, pass holders can find out where to purchase the specialty dishes. Plus, they’ll get a $5 digital raffle ticket for a weekly drawing and chance to win gift cards, t-shirts and more.

“The planning committee put a lot of thought into how to host this event. We wanted to showcase the diverse eateries in Downtown Waterloo while ensuring COVID-19 regulations were followed to keep everyone safe and healthy. We have come up with a new, and creative format for the event that allows more people to participate and supports local business,” said Jessica Rucker, executive director.

As Valentine’s Day rapidly approaches, those scrambling for last-minute dinner reservations or gift ideas can turn their attention to a romantic new offering from the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.

From Feb. 11–Feb. 14, tickets are available to the Garden’s Dome After Dark event, where guests can stroll through the dome lit up by luminaries, lanterns and twinkle lights. Drinks and food will be available for purchase from the Trellis Café. Tickets are $10 and the event is being held from 5–8 p.m.

And if you need a new set of couple’s pics, you can visit on Friday the 12th, to sign up for a photo session for $60, with all proceeds benefitting the Garden.

Published February 08, 2021

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