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The Week in Social 12/06 - 12/10

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.

Best Holiday Events in the Cedar Rapids Area

It’s easy to feel merry and bright while attending one of the many holiday traditions in Cedar Rapids. To see the magic of a Christmas more than a century ago, visit the Holiday Mansion Tour at Brucemore which houses 13 trees, countless strands of garland and decorations on every floor. The tour is self-guided and provides interpretive materials and family-friendly interactive activities. After touring the inside, you can stroll the formal garden, orchard and grounds outside.

To see more lights, you can visit the Community Tree Festival or use the Holiday Light Finder to enjoy residential lights throughout the area. If you are ready for a day of shopping, Cedar Rapids is also home to some great shopping districts. Visit the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District to shop dozens of local retailers offering unique and personal gifts for your loved ones. Uptown Marion also offers a variety of locally owned businesses offering everything from home décor to sweet treats. If you are looking to shop at some familiar favorites, you can also visit the Lindale Mall and the Westdale area to shop at a variety of stores and restaurants.

Visit Des Moines Art Center's Free Little Art Gallery

If you’re a lover of “little free libraries,” miniature stands where you can take or leave a book, you’ll likely enjoy the latest offering from the Des Moines Art Center. The Art Center recently introduced a mini art gallery alongside the pathway toward the Rose Garden. The exhibit features art created by teens in the center’s clay program, but anyone can leave their own mini masterpiece. All submissions are accepted, as long as they’re under five inches tall.

Nahant Marsh Receives State Grant

The Nahant Marsh is a 305-acre preserve located near the junction of Iowa 22 and Interstate 280. The area that was once used for a skeet and trap shooting site now holds great potential for ecosystem preservation and education. The Iowa Economic Development Authority awarded the marsh $400,000 to assist in preserving the site and adding educational and recreational value. The preservation group seeks to acquire additional land to piece back together the original marsh. This will help restore environmental benefits such as storing and filtering pollutants from the Mississippi River, providing a home for plants and animals, and planting trees that remove carbon from the atmosphere.

The funding will also be used to build a two-story operations building containing a classroom, equipment and lab spaces for research and education. Additionally, the money will help fund field trips or in-school environmental programs. Lastly, visitors of all kinds will be able to enjoy the addition of new trails and experience the over 1,000 different species present at the marsh.

Cedar Falls Ranked Best Place to Live and Retire

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) recently ranked Cedar Falls as one of the best places to live and retire. The city was noted for its ability to maintain a small-town nice charm while still blossoming within the high-tech industry. The downtown area is bike-friendly and walkable, with festivals, farmers markets and activities throughout the year. In addition to an active downtown scene, Cedar Falls also provides more than 100 miles of paved, multi-use trails that are groomed for cross-country skiing or fat-tire biking in winter.

Support Local & Find the Perfect Gift

If are you wondering how to support local businesses while still maintaining the ease of online shopping, check out Shop Iowa. Powered by the State of Iowa and fueled by hundreds of small businesses, Shop Iowa has the largest collection of locally made Iowa products. Whether the perfect gift feels like local sweets, drinks, clothing or decorations, you can easily browse hundreds of products and buy online. Easily check off your holiday shopping by choosing in-store pick up or have it shipped directly to your door.

Published December 14, 2021

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