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Newton fairing well in tourism so far this year

Newton has had a busy start to the year and has hosted plenty of activities and events in 2013 with more to come. Newton Visitors and Convention Bureau Executive Director Linda Bacon expands on how tourism is going in Newton so far.

“Tourism in Newton is alive and well, despite the economy,” Bacon said. “The NCVB is hoping the ‘Staycation’ information we put out is helpful to vacationers, as our belts have to tighten for rising gas prices. There are a lot great events and attractions in Newton. The NCVB already hosts motor coach groups that are given tours at many of our attractions that include the Newton Arboretum, Maytag Dairy Farms, Iowa Speedway and the Jasper County Courthouse, just to name a few.”

One event that has taken place in Newton and that has attracted visitors has been the three Thunder Nites in Newton events on the square. Bacon estimated that the May gathering made a local impact of $85,000. Figures for the July event are currently unavailable at press time, but the event had an even bigger turnout than the May gathering.

Iowa Speedway has also done it’s part to attract visitors. The “Where the Rubber Meet’s the Road” 8K race held there in April, had an economic impact of $74,000 and attracted 300 visitors, Bacon said. The speedway also held its second annual Iowa Grand Rally Motorcycle Rally in May, which attracted bikers and vendors from around the county.

In addition, the speedway already has hosted two separate NASCAR series races and an IndyCar race. Local vendor John Brandhof directly credited the speedway with brining more customers to his corn stall off of First Avenue East. The final two races for the season take place in early-August and September.

“Events in Newton draw visitors locally, regionally, statewide and in some cases nationally,” Bacon said. “These events have a great economic impact on the community felt both directly and indirectly. For instance, the Iowa Sculpture Festival drew approximately 974 people this year. The economic impact from that event alone is about $169,000 by averaging out local attendees and out-of-town/state attendees that may be staying in the hotels.”

Bacon credited other events that have either been held or will be held besides Thunder Nites and race weekends for attracting visitors to Newton as well.

“Some of the great events held so far in Newton have been the Newton Bridal Fair, all of the Jasper County Conservation Department events, the Newton Community Theatre performances, the Fourth of July parade and festivities and fireworks, and the Newton Home Show,” Bacon said.

Although the year is more than half finished, there are a slew of activities still to come.

• The Jasper County Fair starts Friday and lasts until next Thursday at the county fairgrounds in Colfax.

• Sunsets at Sugar Grove concerts this Saturday, July 27, Aug. 24 and Sept. 14 and 21.

• July 27 will feature “Cool Cars Around the Courthouse” and the Izzy Dunfore “Ugly” album release party at the Maytag Bowl.

• The “Bowlful of’ Blues” concert on Aug. 31 at the Maytag Bowl

• The Miss Iowa USA/Miss Iowa Teen USA pageant in Oct.

This a small sampling of the things that are taking place this year in Newton and the surrounding areas. Bacon suggests vising the NCVB website at for more information or to submit your event to their calendar. You can also like the NCVB on Facebook for instant updates and promotions.

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at

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