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The Week in Social 6/21 - 6/25

June 29, 2021

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.


According to U.S. News & World Report, Iowa is the land of opportunity. The state was recently ranked as the No. 1 state in the country for opportunity and KPMG ranked Iowa as the No. 1 most resilient state in the nation. The state’s core industry sector — manufacturing — never shut down during the pandemic and showed prosperous growth with a $139 million infrastructure investment at the navigation systems facility in Cedar Rapids. In addition, the growing sectors of bioscience, ed-tech and information technology continue to feed an expanding economy and welcome new businesses.

“If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen. But regardless of the circumstances, Iowa has shown that it can perform very, very well” shared Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority.


If you live in Kansas City, Des Moines is only a tank of gas away. Kansas City NBC affiliate, 41 Action News’ Daisha Jones recently made the short trip and experienced some of the best that Iowa’s capital city has to offer. The first stop was the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park which is home to 31 sculptures by some of the world’s most celebrated artists. This 4.4-acre park offers guided and audio tours plus additional activities through the Sculpture Park Exploration Guide.

After getting a taste of some great art, Jones fed her appetite with a local favorite, Fong’s Pizza, where pizza meets Chinese food. Originating in downtown Des Moines, the unique Chinese pizzeria opened inside the same building that housed one of the oldest Chinese restaurants in the country. The owners kept the historic decorations and decided to launch a menu with items such as ramen noodle pizza, crab Rangoon pizza and orange chicken pizza.

The last stop in Des Moines was the Lauridsen Skatepark, the largest open skate park in the nation. The park opened in May 2021 and hosted the 2021 Dew Tour which brought the top skaters from across the globe. This Olympic caliber park is free and available to anyone ready to roll before heading back from a fun-filled day in Des Moines, IA.


It’s never too early to start planning your visit to the internationally acclaimed Iowa State Fair, one of the oldest and largest agricultural expositions in the country. With nearly 200 food stands, dozens of free entertainment shows and thrilling rides, there is something for everyone at the Iowa State Fair.

This year, the fair will welcome some new and exciting attractions and events. The Elwell Family Park will premiere new events including truck and tractor pulls, monster trucks and a demolition derby. Barnyard Yoga will become even more adorable by including bunnies and llamas in addition to goats. Iowa will welcome special Grandstand guests including Blake Shelton, Sam Hunt, Boyz II Men and Dan + Shay. You can purchase concert tickets to these popular events at https://www.iowastatefair.org/visit/buy-tickets.


While many people who have retired dream of purchasing a dream car, Jasper County resident, Vern Hartgers, uses his time to make little toy cars to spread joy to family, friends and missionaries in Africa. Hartgers has more than a compassionate heart, he has ambitious goals. He recently surpassed his goal of handcrafting 10,000 toy cars by building and distributing 15,000. Working with his 13-year-old neighbor, Hartger said that he will continue to spread joy to others with his toy cars for as long as he can until he passes on his tools to his young apprentice.


Expand your view of the universe with the largest and most advanced planetarium in the state. Included in the Science Center of Iowa, guests will see galaxies brought to life under a 50-foot, 360-degree domed screen creating a majestic night sky. The Star Theater Planetarium offers educational programs that cater to a variety of age groups focusing on different topics such as black holes, stars, the moon and the great space race. Younger ages will love “Storytime Under the Stars,” where a staff member reads a book under the starry skies.

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