The villages of Van Buren County in southeast Iowa are hosting their biggest tourist event of the year this weekend. The Scenic Drive Festival is expected to draw up to 20,000 visitors to the historic region on Saturday and Sunday, according to Stacey Reese, executive director of the Villages of Van Buren.
“This year, all of our villages are going to be doing special activities throughout the weekend,” Reese says. “If you like arts and crafts and antiques and food vendors, we’ve got it covered.” Other events include: flea markets, car shows, tractor shows, parades, tours of historic sites, fun runs and more.
Part of the area’s appeal is that the many villages of Van Buren County have maintained a certain lifestyle that has kept out large retail chain stores and fast food restaurants. There aren’t even any stop lights. Reese says it’s the ideal setting for taking a leisurely drive to see the brilliant yellows, reds and oranges of the fall season.
“The leaves are going to be very colorful,” Reese says. “They’re just starting to turn and it’s supposed to be chilly this week so we’re hoping those cold temperatures will bring out the color for the weekend.” One new event this year is the “Dancing Hooves Drill Team” which will do a choreographed performance to music on horseback in Farmington on Saturday.
Members of the Buckskinners Rendezvous are setting up their encampment at Lacey Keosauqua State Park. “They’re like the pioneer mountain men,” Reese says. “They do the black powder shoots and the tomahawk throws. They have traders set up as well as campers and they have the white teepee tents.” Each of the villages in the county will host events in communities including: Bentonsport, Birmingham, Bonaparte, Cantril, Douds, Farmington, Keosauqua, Lebanon, Milton, Mt. Sterling and Stockport.
For more information on the region, visit the website, www.villagesofvanburen.com or call 800-Tour VBC.