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Ottumwa Stories: Summer in the Park

Published May 2, 2023

As summer approaches, it's time to get your summer plans in order. While school is out, it’s a perfect time to attend these summer events in Ottumwa parks. From live music to balloon races to outdoor movies, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

The Greater Ottumwa Park is an expansive park that stretches over 340 acres. In addition to campsites, fishing ponds, and playgrounds, the park is also home to a variety of events throughout the summer. From balloon races to the rodeo to Midwest Ford Fest, there's something for everyone to enjoy in Greater Ottumwa Park. 

Elks 347 Pro Balloon Races: The balloon races are an annual Ottumwa event that has been going strong for 45 years. This five-day event features a variety of activities for attendees to enjoy, including balloon flights, night glows, live music, a carnival and so much more.

Greater Ottumwa Rodeo: Happening annually during the first weekend in July, the two-day rodeo features fast-paced, exciting rodeo action that is sure to entertain visitors of all ages. 

Midwest Ford Fest: Going into its 37th year, Midwest Ford Fest serves as a showcase of some of the finest classic, custom, and vintage cars in the Midwest. This popular event has expanded to feature more than 200 vehicles from across the country.

Wapello County Farmers Market: In addition to these events, Greater Ottumwa Park is also home to a  weekly farmers market that offers visitors a chance to purchase fresh and locally grown produce, handmade crafts, and other goods. The market happens every Monday & Thursday from June through September.

Nestled between the Ottumwa Public Library and City Hall, Central Park is Ottumwa's "town square" park. It serves as the host for several community events throughout the summer and is also available to rent for private events.

Ottumwa Municipal Band: The municipal band plays a free concert in Central Park every Thursday evening in June and July. 2023 marks the band's 159th season making them one of the oldest municipal bands in the state!

Ottumwa Pride Block Party: Now in its third year, the main focus of the block party is celebrating the LGBTQ+ community in Ottumwa and beyond. This family-friendly event welcomes people of all ages to come out and enjoy an afternoon of entertainment, food, and fun.

Juneteenth Celebration: The Juneteenth Celebration is set for Monday, June 19, from 12-7 p.m. It promises to be a wonderful day of celebration, entertainment, and community building.

Central Park Cinema: Main Street Ottumwa's family movie night will take place on Saturday, July 15 at dusk. The film selected to be shown is Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Live After Five: One of Ottumwa's favorite events, Live After Five offers live music from a local band every Friday night in July. It serves as a great opportunity to support local musicians and businesses in a fun and relaxing atmosphere. 

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