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24 Things Happening in Ottumwa This May (Plus: One Bonus!)  
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24 Things Happening in Ottumwa This May (Plus: One Bonus!)  

The weather is beautiful in Ottumwa, and the city is ready for warmer activities! This spring, a lot is happening in the City of Bridges. If you haven’t already, write down these fabulous events on your May calendar.

1. Hometown Rewards Kick-Off Party

Ottumwa is on its way to becoming a green city. They’ve partnered with Alliant Energy for the Hometown Rewards program. This is an entirely FREE community event, including local food, fun games, energy-saving tips, grand prize giveaways, and more, all at no cost to guests. It’s happening at the Bridge View Center May 3 from 4:00-8:00 p.m.

2. Women, Wine, and Whiskey

A panel of local female leaders will share stories of success, mistakes, and lessons learned (including the whiskey that got them through it!). It’s a professional development day meant to inspire organizations and their entire staff.

Unfortunately, there’s no alcohol at this event, but it’s still a fun, informative workshop for professionals in any field. Come out to the Bridge View Center on May 4 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

3. Wynonna and The Big Noise

Wynonna and her band The Big Noise will be performing live on the BVC stage on Thursday, May 17 at 7:00 p.m. It will be a fantastic night from this 5-time Grammy winning star.

Tickets are still available both online and at the Bridge View Center ticket office. Every seat in the intimate Bridge View Center theater is a great seat, so don’t hesitate to purchase your tickets now!

4. Smithsonian Exhibit: Hometown Teams

Ottumwa has an incredibly unique opportunity to host a Smithsonian touring exhibit called Hometown Teams. They’ll be in Ottumwa from May 5 – June 16 at the Wapello County Historical Museum.

This fun exhibit uses photography, the written word, art, and video to show how sports play a quintessential role in American Society. It’s a nostalgic, homey exhibition you won’t want to miss!

5. 2018 Komen Ottumwa Race for the Cure

Did you know that one out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer sometime in their lives? Race for the Cure is meant to raise awareness of the disease and honor those both living and dead who have fought it valiantly.

On May 12, there will be a one-mile fun run/walk followed by a timed 5K and a kids fun run. Early registration for a discounted price is May 5 at Market on Main. All survivors and their families are encouraged to join, and all participants are encouraged to wear pink for the cause!

6. MMA Tru Rev 36

Some of the Midwest’s finest amateur and pro mixed martial artists will face off at the Bridge View Center on May 5 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are still available and more affordable if you purchase them in advance!

7. Indian Hills Spring Pops Choral Concert

Under the direction of Dr. Janene Sheldon, students from Indian Hills Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, Tono Bella, and Men’s and Women’s Choirs will be performing on May 6 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. There will also be soloists and small groups showcasing their talents. Come celebrate with these students as they finish out the term!

8. Barry Manilow Tribute

The Ottumwa Civic Music Association would like to present a striking tribute to Barry Manilow’s greatest hits. Songs will include I Write the Songs, Copacabana, Can’t Smile Without You, and other favorites.

Jim Witter is the tribute artist coming to the Bridge View Center this month. He’ll be here May 6 from 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door with youth and students admitted free of charge.

9. Market on Main Events

As always, Market on Main has quite the lineup of events happening this month, starting with The Stress Vine live at the Market. This husband and wife musical team is based out of Oskaloosa, and their vocal harmonies are powerful. Enjoy their unique style of pop/alternative rock on May 4 at 5:30 p.m.

10. Wine Pairing Dinner

Join the culinary experts at Market on Main for another four-course dinner and wine tasting. You’ll learn about delicious foods and hors-d'oeuvres, including samples. There will be tasting notes, background information, and pairing ideas for each wine presented.

This event is happening May 9 at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person, and reservations are required.

11. Chad Elliot Live at the Market

One of Iowa’s most accomplished and celebrated singer/songwriters, Chad Elliott will be at the Market on May 11 at 5:30 p.m. He has 21 original albums with his latest album set for release on August 18 of this year.

While you listen, try some wood-fired pizza, Filipino cuisine, and a full bar featuring Iowa craft beers.

12. Tom Blew Live at the Market

Everyone loves Tom Blew, a local favorite at Market on Main. He’ll be there again from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on May 18, playing great music. Be sure to check out Burritos Los Ray and Crazy Churros while enjoying the entertainment.

13. World Whiskey Day Class

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to sample whiskeys from all over the world, across the U.S., Canada, Europe, and beyond. You’ll learn about each sample while enjoying hors d’oeuvres to cleanse the palate.

14. Comedy Night with Josh Alton

An Iowa native, Josh Alton is a hilarious performer who has performed in many Chicago-comedy venues including 2nd City Theater, Riddles Comedy Club, The Improv, and Laugh Factory. Des MoinesTommy Morgan Jr. will be the opening act.

15. Pages for Pennies

The annual Pages for Pennies book sale will be at the Bridge View Center May 18-20. This is one of Ottumwa’s finest annual events, with thousands of donated books, CDs, DVDs, LPs, board games, puzzles, and sheet music. Everything is $1-$2 with room for negotiation if you take a large set!

Donations are accepted through May 11, so start cleaning out your closets and drop off any extras at the Bridge View Center. Then come out for the sale the following weekend, and load up on gently used goods!

16. Painted Succulent Workshop

This is the perfect family activity on Thursday, May 10 at 5:30 p.m. The ISU Extension and Outreach presents a fun family craft night in which you’ll paint your own rock succulent planters. Kids of all ages love this activity, and at just $10, it’s a great after-school treat!

17. Wine and Canvas

The Hotel Ottumwa will be hosting a Wine and Canvas Des Moines event on Friday May 11 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Along with painting a delightful canvas of flower vases, you can purchase delicious food at the Second Street Café and enjoy specialty drinks at the bar.

18. Ottumwa Community Players Present: My Three Angels

Ottumwa Community Players (OCP) will be performing the comedy play My Three Angels on May 11 – 13 at the Bridge View Center auditorium. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. You’ll laugh and enjoy the acting dexterity of OCP’s finest.

19. Indian Hills Jazz Band: Ballroom Swing Dance

Not only will you get to listen to classic ballroom and swing tunes performed by the Indian Hills Jazz Band under the direction of David Sharp, but you’ll also participate in a dance workshop. You’ll learn classic ballroom and swing moves that will last you a lifetime.

20. Quincy Place Mall Vendor and Craft Show

Ottumwa’s favorite stores and craft vendors will be in one place on May 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Browse through rustic home décor, handmade jewelry, local store sales, food, and more.

21. Hotel Ottumwa: Mother’s Day Brunch

Treat your mom to a Mother’s Day Brunch in the historic ballroom of Hotel Ottumwa. You’ll enjoy hand-carved prime rib, pit ham, iced shrimp, egg strata, house-made sides, salad bar, bread station, waffle bar, decadent desserts, mimosas, strawberry champagne, wine menu, and other beverages available for purchase. Nothing is better for mother’s day than this incredible buffet-style meal on May 13!

22. Bridge View Center: Mother’s Day Brunch

If made-to-order omelets and smoked salmon and shrimp are more your thing, head to the Bridge View Center for your Mother’s Day Brunch on May 13. Sample the culinary delights of Chef Bob Newell, C.E.C. between 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

23. Leadercast Live

An exclusive rebroadcast of Leadercast Live takes place on May 18 at the Bridge View Center. You’ll hear from world-renowned experts and global leaders who will teach by example and lecture on how you can be an excellent leader in any capacity.

24. First Presbyterian Church Movie Night

First Presbyterian Church in Ottumwa will have a free movie night showing Miracles From Heaven, a film starring Jennifer Garner about a ten-year-old girl who miraculously recovers from a rare disease.

Bonus: First Annual World Championship Canteen Eating Contest

Major League Eating and The Canteen are partnering up to present the first annual world championship Canteen Eating Contest. The eating contest will take place June 2 at 1:00 p.m. in Central Park, but it’s a weekend-long event starting Friday, June 1, including a ribbon cutting for the newly renovated Canteen alley, musical entertainment, kids activities, shopping discounts in downtown, food vendors, an opportunity to eat your own Canteen sandwich, prizes, and more.

There will also be a skateboard demonstration by the legendary Adam Miller, along with a BMX show downtown. There will be food trucks and vendors for your enjoyment as well.

The event will be nationally televised, so it’s a big deal for Ottumwa. Come out and show your support and invite your friends from out of town for a fun weekend you’ll always remember!

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to visit Ottumwa this month! For more information about events and things to do in the Greater Ottumwa area, contact the Greater Ottumwa Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at (641) 684-4303 or via email.

You can also subscribe to the events newsletter and like us on Facebook so you never miss out on what’s happening in the great town of Ottumwa!

Photo Credit: Greater Ottumwa Convention and Visitor's Bureau 


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