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An Art Festival 46 Years in the Making!
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An Art Festival 46 Years in the Making!

In 1970 the Beatles broke up, the computer floppy disk was introduced, Richard Nixon was president, and the Octagon Art Festival was held for the first time in Bandshell Park (when it was known as Art in the Park).  After 46 years, you know it has to be a great event!  That’s why you will want to mark your calendar to be in downtown Ames, on September 25, 10 a.m. – 5p.m. 

Approximately 100 juried artists from 12 states, some from as far away as Florida, Arizona, and West Virginia, will line the streets in the Ames Main Street Cultural District.  You will also find a variety of free entertainment, including live bands and performing arts throughout the day.

“The Octagon Art Festival is the perfect place to get an early start on shopping for holiday gifts,” said Heather Johnson, Executive Director of the Octagon Center for the Arts. “You will find a wide variety of functional, wearable and decorative artwork available to fit any budget.”

 Food vendors will also be on-hand offering a wide selection of cuisine to cater anyone’s appetite and children’s art activities will be available in front of the Octagon Center for the Arts along the 400 block of Douglas.   The best part is: this event is FREE and open to the public.

 “This is not only a wonderful, family-friendly, and free event,” said Cindy Hicks, Executive Director of the Main Street Cultural District. “It is an event that showcases our beautiful downtown.  Ames is very lucky to have the Octagon Center for the Arts and this great festival they put on every year.”

Chalk artist Tyler Roos from Tipton, Iowa will be working on a chalk mural during the festival. Festival attendees are welcome to participate in the chalk drawing. Tyler received 1st Place Award at the Chalk the Walk Festival in Mount Vernon in 2016.

The Octagon Art Festival is organized by the Octagon Center the Arts, a non-profit community art organization located in downtown Ames Main Street Cultural District. The Octagon has been a cornerstone of the cultural scene in Ames since 1966. The Octagon serves more than 30,000 people annually through education classes and outreach programs, rotating exhibits, retail gallery shop, and special events such as the annual Octagon Art Festival. Come experience the arts at the Octagon located at 427 Douglas Avenue in downtown Ames.

List of Free Entertainment 

Cynthia Duff Parkway Stage (Intersection of Douglas Ave and Main St.)

10 am – 1 pm             World Port (world beat)

2 pm – 5 pm                Jen McClung (folk)


Tom Evans Park Stage (Intersection of Burnett Ave and Main St.)

10 am              Orchesis I (ISU Dance Company)

11 am              The Roomies (Indie)

12 pm             Fred Love (folk, blues)

1 pm                Adam Bruce (prairie soul)

2:30 pm           The Crossroads (bluegrass)

4 pm               Britches and Hose (ukulele band)

For more information regarding the Octagon Art Festival including a festival map and list of participating artists, visit  

Special thanks to the festival sponsors and community supporters who make this event possible: 3M, Ames Commission on the Arts; Ames Tribune; Cross Wealth Management; First National Bank; Haila Architecture, Structure and Planning; Iowa Arts Council; Iowa Public Radio; Main Street Cultural District, Mediacom, Premier Credit Union, Wilson Toyota Scion, and Octagon Center for the Arts.


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