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Mini-Vacations In Iowa

By Staff | Jun 7, 2016

School is out for the summer and it’s time to take a few mini-vacations around the state. Here are a few ideas from the Iowa Tourism Office:

Bell Tower Festival, Jefferson

June 10-12

Given to the town in accordance with the wills of Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Mahaney, the 168-foot-tall tower was completed in 1966 at the cost of $350,000. The tower’s 14 bells, cast at the world famous Petit & Fritzen Bell Foundry in the Netherlands, chime every 15 minutes. The 50th annual Bell Tower Festival provides a full weekend of family-friendly fun and entertainment.

Ice Cream Days, LeMars

June 15-18

“The Ice Cream Capital of the World’s” flagship event turns 30 this year. Activities include a parade, Grill-n-Chill Rib Rally, Art in the Park, Ice Cream Flavor Creation contest, a kids fishing derby and, of course, lots of ice cream!

Charles City Challenge:

Whitewater Weekend, Charles City

June 17-19

Now in its fifth year, the Charles City Challenge includes competitive on-the-water events, the Crazy Cardboard Boat Race, disc golf tournament, downtown farmers market and more.

Snake Alley Festival of Film, Burlington

June 23-25

Dedicated to showing the best short films from around the world. More than 50 films will be screened at the beautifully restored Capitol Theater in downtown Burlington throughout the festival.

Here is an event that caught my eye — Rodin: Portraits of a Lifetime. Selections from the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Collections,” Cedar Rapids. This exhibit showcases 20 works from Rodin including bas reliefs, portrait busts and full length sculptures. It opens June 4 and runs to September 11 at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

We probably best remember French sculptor Auguste Rodin for “The Thinker.” Many a person has copied that pose when trying to look studious. Another Rodin favorite is a sculpture called The Kiss.

On a trip to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., we were wandering through a sculpture garden and came upon The Burghers of Calais, sculpted by Rodin.

The original bonze sculpture weighs two tons and the figures are 6.6 feet tall. The one we saw was probably as large. The faces of the men were fascinating and you could look right up at them. Information about the sculpture says this was “a study in the varied and complex emotions under which all six men were laboring… The six men portrayed do not display a united, heroic front; rather, each is isolated from his brothers, individually deliberating and struggling with his expected fate.” Of course we learned that after we gazed at this sculpture for some time. It was breathtaking.

The Burghers of Calais is one of Rodin’s best known and most acclaimed works.