BAXTER – Looking for something fun to do this summer? Baxter has you covered.
The town is gearing up for its annual community-wide celebration, Baxter Fun Days. With festivities set to begin July 13, organizers said Jasper County better be ready for three days full of memories, community bonding and good times.
According to Fun Days volunteer Janell Travis, this year’s town gathering has made a few adjustments and additions to help keep the excitement from last year’s celebration rolling.
“We are trying to keep things nonstop. Usually, there are some breaks in the day where there is nothing going on,” Travis said. “This year, we tried to fill in the gaps.”
To help build up some much-needed energy for evening street dance, the Baxter Athletic Boosters will host a dinner at Station Street from 5 to 7 p.m. Travis said, the dinner, which is a new addition to the celebration, will be the perfect opportunity for residents to enjoy some good food and get to know their neighbors while supporting their local athletic teams.
“It is a full meal,” Travis said. “Usually, we rarely have anything to eat, like there are no food stands, after 3 p.m. That always goes to a good cause when we go to the Boosters Club.”
Immediately after the supper, prepare for a night of revelry when the Des Moines-based, pop band, “Pie in the Sky” hits the stage at 8 p.m. Despite the committee deciding to skip out on the fireworks display this year, Travis said the annual street dance will be one for the ages.
“We have an awesome band this year. I am super excited. We splurged a little on them,” Travis said. “I usually see them in Des Moines. They are so good. They play a little bit of everything. They put on a good show, too ... anything from Led Zepplin to Eminem. They put on the entertainment.”
The entry fee to the show is $5 and a BOGO drink happy hour will be offered from 5 to 8 p.m.
Prior to the show, the local residents will warm up the entertainment at Geise Park by either lip-syncing to their favorite song or showing off their unique talents.
After about a decade of being left out of the Fun Days itinerary, the Baxter’s Got Talent Lip Sync and Talent Show is making a return to the annual celebration’s Saturday activity lineup.
With the completion separated into four age categories, everyone from kids to grandparents will have a chance to show off their talent on stage for a chance to walk away with a first-place prize and a nice stack of cash. The event will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. July 14 at Geise Park and admission is free.
“People are getting pretty pumped about that. We used to have that years ago when I was a kid forever and ever. Hopefully, we will have a good turnout for that,” Travis said.
People who wish to participate in the talent show can sign up at baxterfundays.com. For more information, call 515-210-0390.
In anticipation of warmer, summer weather, the Baxter Fun Days committee decided to move the Saturday family-friendly activities and games to the park south of Baxter Community School.
With much of the activities beginning after the ever-popular Baxter Fun Days parade, which begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Sports Complex, Travis said kids of all ages are sure to have a fun time at the lot south of the school.
The Saturday activities include carnival games brought on by the BCSD Music Boosters, the speech team’s ice cream bars, laser tag, Gotcha Games inflatables and rides, a rock wall sponsored by the National Guard and a vendor show.
“It will be more shaded. It is centrally located so people can get all over time. It will be really nice,” Travis said. “We want it to be fun for all ages.”
In typical fashion, the ever-popular Truck/Tractor Pull will tow itself back into the celebration activity lineup to kick off the three-day celebration July 13 at 6 p.m. With admission at $10, Travis said the annual event is sure to draw hundreds into town.
“We usually go through 500 wristbands. That is always a big hit. People love it and it is for the whole family,” Travis said. “I don’t know what it is about small towns and stuff like that, but people just love it.”
With challenges like the Punt, Pass, Kick Challenge, the Deadlift Challenge, the Red, White and Blue 5K, Sand Volleyball and the co-ed softball tournament making a return to the annual event, attendees will also have plenty of opportunities to show off their skills.
The celebration will also feature a tractor show at the FFA parking lot and a Car Rally on State Street from 12 to 3 p.m. on Saturday. At 10:15 a.m. at the Baxter Family Market, the Kids Parade will also make its return.
No matter what activities you participate in, Travis said attendees will definitely have a fun time in small-town Baxter.
“We don’t do it for ourselves because it is a lot of work. It is all-year planning,” Travis said. “We do it for our community.”
The committee has released the celebration’s complete schedule. To view it, check out the Baxter Fun Days’ Facebook page.
Contact Anthony Victor Reyes at email@example.com