Iowa communities reap millions of dollars every fall as people take long weekend drives to gape at the changing colors of the leaves. This weekend, an entire county in southeast Iowa is catering to autumn leaf-watchers. Stacy Reese, executive director of the Villages of Van Buren County, says a host of events is planned.
Reese says the county’s 11 villages are taking part in the weekend’s Scenic Drive Festival, with each community offering a selection of family-oriented activities. There are rides in horse-drawn wagons, tours of historic buildings, apple cider samples, arts and crafts shows, bake sales, a city-wide garage sale, and more.
She says the Thunderbirds Pow Wow is underway at Indian Lake Park in Farmington with Native American dancing and storytelling, in addition to Iowa’s largest totem pole. Reese says the county is like few others, in having maintained its rural roots. There are no stoplights, no fast food restaurants and no big retail chain stores anywhere in the county.
"We’ve done a great job of preserving and restoring all of our historic buildings, a lot of them dating back to the early 1800s," Reese says. "They have restaurants in them and antique shops and fudge shops and all kinds of things along the Des Moines River."
Other events include: a street fair, open air market and "medicine man show" in Bonaparte; wine-tasting, tours of the historic depot and a flea market in Milton; cow chip bingo in Cantril; and a quilt show and a scarecrow contest in Stockport. For a full list of events, call 800-868-7822 or vist the Villages of Van Buren website .