The third weekend in June shall be lit. Legit. And I cannot contain my excitement. Let me break it down for yousall:
I just got my individually-numbered, limited edition ticket to Junetopia…
… which, as you can see, I photographed while enjoying some freshly harvested strawberries with yogurt + granola.
I already wrote about Junetopia for Travel Iowa, and I’ll have to devote another post to the gospel of homegrown strawberries, but THERE’S. STILL. MORE.
Bicycles are magical contraptions. They’re travel machines that exercise the body and facilitate contact with nature. I haven’t had one since I left Iowa City eight-or-so years ago, but I may have to borrow a friend’s for the aforementioned very special weekend, when Ride the River, an annual family bike-riding event sponsored by RiverAction, coincides with Junetopia on Sunday, June 18. Both are group-friendly social events designed to exercise body, mind, and spirit while strengthening community ties.
The bike ride, which I used to complete with my father (it being a Fathers’ Day activity, and all), begins by the Quad City Times offices in Davenport and crosses over into Moline from Bettendorf on the Celebration Belle. The build-your-own route, which includes 60 miles’ worth of loops to choose from, goes through nine area communities.
The official event runs from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., but it’s so chill, you can come and go as you please. You can park near Rozz-Tox, which is the site of Junetopia’s final day, and bike across the Arsenal bridge to the Times offices for the start of the route. Take the loop up to cross into Moline, then head back to the fest for hours and hours of live, local music and artwork. After all that hard work, you’ll probably be ready to inhale a Ben Bowl or, for serious nosh, head next door to Rooster’s Sports Bar and Grill for the meatiest meat-filled meatstuffs and hand-cut fries.
BEST OF ALL: all of this is happening at the beginning of Museum Week! Do you know how many museums are in the QC Area? I’m not talking just about the Putnam and the Figge, which, while great, are just the best-known institutions. There’s the Colonel Davenport House (one of my personal favorites), the Karpeles Manuscript Museum (which holds the world’s largest private collection of original manuscripts and documents), the Rock Island Arsenal and its museum, the German-American Heritage Museum, the Hauberg Indian Museum (another childhood favorite), the Fryxell Geology Museum, the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Walnut Grove Pioneer Village, the Butterworth Center and Deere-Wiman House, etc., etc. AND every single one of them has its own organizational archive staffed by a staunchly devoted record keepers, historians, and storytellers.
Get in on the magic while you can. Register for Ride the River for $20 per adult (I’m not sure if the kids’ prices are still $5) and get your Junetopia tix online – only $25 for a 3-day pass! No registration is required for museum week; expect an entry fee for most (all?) of the museums to enjoy special presentations, exhibits, and projects as well as regular museum contents.
I am ready for June. So, so ready.