May 21, 2024

Newton Fest: A tradition in the making

A group of ambitious local residents decided to do something exciting for the community — Newton Fest — and I hope you make it a point to attend this weekend.

Organizers arranged various activities that celebrate the arts, food, history, music and community for people of all ages. Many thanks to this year’s hosts for creating a large-scale festival: Jessica Lowe, Nathan Unsworth, Natalie Umsted, Amanda Price, Bob O’Brien, Andrew Bassman, Sveta Miller, Linda Klepinger, Teri Ayers, KayLea Zumbach, Mark Hallam, Lisa McKinney, Diane Dafflito, Ange Mowbray, Abigail Pelzer, Jeff Holschuh, Jessica Petersen, Graham Sullivan, Meghan Davis and Scott Garvis.

Businesses and organizations have also given to Newton Fest activities. Trinity Structural Towers is the title sponsor, with other major sponsorship from City of Newton, First Newton National Bank and Hometown Rewards. Thanks to all sponsors for your generosity.

Tradition and pride have been integral to the culture of Newton. Let’s help make Newton Fest a successful tradition and something to take pride in.

Here are some of the fun, free events happening this weekend:

Newton Main Street's Backyard BBQ Competition, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, parking lot next to Walker, Billingsley and Bair Law Office — Chicken Wings and ribs will be turned in for judging around 3 p.m. with public tasting to follow. ​

Fitness In The Park, 9 and 10 a.m., Saturday, Sunset Park — Skiff Medical Center is hosting an outdoor yoga and Pilates class in the cool sunny morning.

​Newton Junk Fest, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Corner of North Fourth Avenue West and West Third Street North — Antiques, repurposed crafts and vintage items will be featured vendors for the new event.

Classic Cars Around The Courthouse, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Downtown — Cars and trucks will be on display as owners compete in a variety of categories for trophies, prizes and bragging rights.

Food Vendors, 11 a.m., Saturday, Downtown — Brats, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, kettle corn, funnel cakes, ice cream and lemonade will be available for all day eating.

Iowa Speedway Tours, 11 a.m., 11:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Iowa Speedway — The Iowa Speedway is a hosting a behind the scenes look at its facility and operations. To reserve a spot, email​

Family Art and Artist Demonstration, 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Newton Public Library lawn — Iowa Sculpture Fest Committee will host art stations and artists working on clay and stone.

Historic Church Walk, 2 p.m., Saturday, Newton Public Library start — Larry Hurto will host a walking tour of eight historic downtown churches including my favorite, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.

Chalk The Walk, 4 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Downtown — Creativity will be on display as individuals, businesses and organizations compete for Best Theme, Most Creative and Best in Show awards.

Awesome 80s Dance Party, 8 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, Downtown — Headline band and Minnesota-based Ladies of the 80s will pay tribute to the biggest names in '80s music. A beer garden hosted by the American Legion Post 111 will open at 5 p.m.

Community Church Service, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Sunday, Maytag Bowl —Newton Ministerial Association will host a unique non-denominational service. Those attending may bring blankets and lawn chairs for seating.

For a complete lineup of events, visit

Contact Kate Malott at