Almost every weekend of the year there's a festival of some kind happening in Iowa, celebrating everything from food (Adel's Sweet Corn Festival) to heritage (Decorah's Nordic Fest) to native musicians (Davenport's Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Fest). One festival with activities and entertainment for all ages is the Iowa City Jazz Festival, taking place on June 30-July 2 this year in the "Pentacrest" downtown area around the Old Capitol building. Activities begin at 4:00 pm on Friday, June 30 and at 11:30 am on both Saturday and Sunday, and continue until roughly 10:00 pm each night.
Four stages placed throughout the blocked-off streets offer a variety of performers, ranging from local but ultra-talented high school jazz ensembles to internationally known musicians. The main stage is adjacent to the Old Capitol on a large lawn area which allows plenty of room for the audience to spread out in chairs or blankets. People come and go, even during a performance; this informality adds to the outdoors appeal. A Beverage Garden offers seating if you'd rather sit and sip while you listen.
A variety of local area food vendors share street space with artists' booths. You can nibble on traditional festival foods such as kettle corn, cotton candy, or snow cones or try Indian, Caribbean or barbecue specialties. Families will want to head to the Fun Zone for kid-friendly activities including face-painting, arts & crafts, and games. This area has its own Youth Stage. Two other stages offering specialized performances are the College Stage and the Local Stage.
Entry to the festival is free thanks to generous sponsors and the hard work of many volunteers. Parking in one of the four downtown parking garages is easiest (map), and if you forget your lawn chair or blanket, no worries--both are for sale! (visit the Info Booth directly in front of the Main Stage). Oh, and don't forget to stay for the fireworks capping off the weekend!