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2017 IOWA STATE FAIR: OUR TOP 10 FAVORITE THINGS TO DO

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

With the IOWA STATE FAIR getting underway TODAY, we can’t help but to be thinking about all the fun (& food!!) an event of this grandeur has to offer.  And while there just aren’t enough hours in the day to talk about every single event, attraction, contest, food vendor, show, and activity available at the Iowa State Fair, we’d like to share our Top 10 favorite things to do!  So, let’s get started!

10. Take a trip down the Midway.  With attractions and rides galore, the Midway is open 10 a.m. to midnight each day of the fair. Thrill passes are available for purchase.

9. Visit the John Deere Agricultural Building. This building is the home to the butter cow (refer to #6), as well as, the largest fruits and vegetables, exciting floral contest, interesting animal exhibits (bees and ostriches -- woo hoo!), interactive displays for kids, and the Ag/Venture Trail’s 10 stops that highlight Iowa’s agricultural commodities.

 

8. Check out the Livestock Pavillion and everything the barns have to offer. From the biggest and best boars to live baby animal births, there is nothing boring about these barns!

7. Let the little ones experience Little Hands On The Farm.  This free, hands-on attraction is open daily and teaches children the importance of agriculture by letting them become the farmer.

6. No trip to the Fair is complete without a peek at the infamous Butter Cow!  An Iowa State Fair staple since 1911, the butter cow is a life-size replica of a dairy cow sculpted from 600 pounds of butter molded over a wood and metal frame.

5. Eat!  (Something on a stick, to be specific!)  With over 60 (!!) different foods on a stick and 200+ vendors, there is no shortage of options when it comes tasty treats.

4. Be entertained by some of Iowa’s finest at the Bill Riley Talent Search!  This yearly event focuses on showcasing the many talents of young Iowans and is sure to be a good show!

 

3. Take in a concert at the Grandstand.  From Flo Rida and Alabama to Little Big Town and Kid Rock, this year’s lineup doesn’t disappoint!  Checkout the full concert schedule {here}.

2. Relax at the Iowa Craft Beer Tent.  This entire tent is devoted to Iowa based brewed beers.  More specifically, 33 beers, from 13 different breweries, plus 3 additional brews from 3 regional breweries.  And to top it off, there is even a locally brewed root beer available.  Stop by 9 a.m. to midnight daily.

 

1.  Finally, take time to people watch.  This great state is made up of all kinds -- from city-folk to farmers -- the Iowa State Fair attracts us all! And leave it to this awesome event to bring us all together!

Ankeny Summerfest 2017: Part 2

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Welcome back to part II in our series highlighting ANKENY SUMMERFEST and some of our favorite/we-think-you-ought-to-know-about events!  As we mentioned last time, not only do we pride ourselves on being the “Ankeny Specialists” when it comes to real estate, but we’d like to think we know a little something about our community and it’s happenings, too.  So, without further ado, here are just a few of the, what we consider to be, can’t-miss events from SummerFest days 3 and 4 (July 8 and 9).

Read Part I {here}.

Saturday, July 8, is a day jam-packed with fun and activities for all ages and citizens with a wide variety of interests. 

The day begins with a bang as the SummerFest Grand Parade takes to the streets of Ankeny at 9:00 am.  As long-time patrons, we encourage parade-goers to find a spot along the route early, come prepared, and be ready to be entertained!

In its 19th year, the Cardboard Boat Regatta is among the most popular of SummerFest events!  The challenge to, “design and build a person-powered corrugated cardboard boat that is capable of racing, or at least floating, “ is not only exciting for participants, but is also highly entertaining (read: hilarious!) to watch.

Once again, no SummerFest evening is complete without a stop by the Leisure Garden where Toaster and Decoy will be performing on Saturday.

Among much, much more, don’t forget to check out other Saturday events, such as: Kiwanis Pancake Fest; Sand Volleyball, Slowpitch Softball, and Kickball Tournaments.

Even on its final day, SummerFest doesn’t let up on fun!  The events schedule is full, but a few of our Sunday favorites are:

Family Fun Day.

SummerFest 5k/1 mile run.  This is the perfect way to work off some of that fantastic fried food from the midway that you’ve been consuming all weekend!  Even better?  It’s for a great cause!

Fireworks!  The finale!  It’s a spectacular show...especially for those that choose to be up close and personal, viewing the fireworks from the Leisure Garden or Prairie Ridge Sports Complex!  These fireworks are the perfect way to celebrate another successful year of SummerFest!

And there you have it!  Our complete list of must-see/must-do 2016 SummerFest activities!  For the full schedule of events, details, and other general information, visit www.ankenysummerfest.org.

Now, we want to know, are YOU planning a trip to SummerFest this year?  If so, what’s on your list of can’t-miss events?

Ankeny Summerfest 2017: Part 1

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

At Ankeny Real Estate Service, we like to refer to ourselves as the Ankeny Specialists when it comes to Ankeny homes.  BUT, that doesn’t mean that our expertise ends with the real estate market. Nope! We are proud to be a long-time, Ankeny-based business, which means our community ties are strong and we are well-versed on all things Ankeny...including local events. 

This year’s ANKENY SUMMERFEST is right around the corner and we think you need to know about it!  However, this 4 day event (July 6 - 9) is just too BIG for us to cram into just one blog, which is why we’ve decided to make this a 2-post series.  Today we’re excited to share with you some of our favorite Summerfest activities, beginning with the events of the first 2 days (July 6 & 7), then finishing up with the final 2 days (July 8 & 90) in our blog post next week.  So, hang onto your hats -- this is going to be fun!

Summerfest 2017 begins with a Thursday evening chock-full of fun!  Here’s the rundown on what Day One has to offer:

● Summerfest on-site carnival and vendors

● Leisure Garden will be playing host to the band, Nice Bangs

● 3-On-3 Youth Basketball Tournament

The Summerfest fun continues on into Friday with a full day of activities offered.  Some of our favorites include:

● 14th Annual Golf Tournament at Otter Creek Golf Coursehere

● Kiddie Parade


● Leisure Garden

And there you have it -- just a FEW of our Summerfest favorites from Days 1 & 2.  To view a complete schedule of events and to learn more about all that Summerfest has to offer, visit their website at www.ankenysummerfest.org.  Plus, don’t forget to stay tuned next week, when we highlight more of event favorites from Saturday and Sunday in our blog: Summerfest, Part II.

Ankeny Area Summer Bucket List 2017

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Ankeny parents everywhere, you may all breathe a collective sigh of relief right now, as we present you with the key to summer with kids!  We’ve done the work for you and created a list of fun, FAMILY FRIENDLY ANKENY AREA ACTIVITIES to keep the kids busy and your adventures exciting!


 

1. Fun in the Sun at Prairie Ridge Aquatic Center and Splash Park.

 

2. Testing the waters (including the Flowrider Surf Machine!) at Cascade Falls.

 

3. See a show by taking advantage of the reduced price movies at local theaters. 

 

4. Spend time with the family and see the sites at Ledges State Park.

 

5. The perfect spot to picnic AND enjoy art -- PapaJohn Sculpture Garden.

 

6.  Kirkendall Public Library summer reading program and frequent special events.

 

7.  Play while getting a spray at the American Legion Garden park.

 

8.  Another way to stay cool while burning some energy -- Dean Park in Prairie Trail.

 

9. Tackle Big Creek State Park’s ENORMOUS wooden playground!

 

10. Feed the ducks at Hawkeye Park.

 

11.  Take in all the fun activities of SummerFest, an Ankeny tradition.

 

12.  Catch a free flick on a warm summer night at Movie Under The Stars.

 

13. Ride the rides and see the sights at Adventureland Park.

 

14.  Have fun in, on, and around Gray’s Lake.

 

15. Get our play on with friends and neighbors at Ankeny’s All City Play Day.

Ankeny's Movies Under the Stars 2017

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

If you haven’t noticed yet, we’re huge fans of all the free fun that Ankeny has to offer.  And now that our sunshine-y summer weather has finally arrived, the fun is in full force! Topping the list of our favorite free family events in town are the Movies Under The Stars presented by Veridian Credit Union.


A free event open to the public, Movies Under The Stars, gives our community a place to come together on Friday nights, take in a show, and relax under the warm summer sky.  Movie-goers are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, bug spray, snacks, and lots of excitement for, what is sure to be, an enjoyable evening. Movies Under The Stars takes place at Wagner Park Bandshell, is free to attend (have we mentioned that?!?), and beings at dusk.

So, what fabulous flicks can you expect to see?  Here’s the line-up for the rest of this season.

June 9: Moana (PG)

June 16: Secret Life of Pets (PG)

June 23: Sing (PG)

June 30: The Jungle Book - 2016 (PG)

July 14: Finding Dory (PG)

July 21: Zootopia (PG)

July 28: Little Mermaid (G)

From the Uptown Farmer’s Market and Ankeny Unplugged, to Movies Under The Stars, this city offers fantastic options for free family fun.  Check out Ankeny’s website for more ideas and information on all the fun to be had!  http://www.ankenyiowa.gov/

 

Ankeny Farmers' Market 2017

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

If you’re like us, then there’s a good chance that you’ve been not-so-patiently waiting for opening day of the ANKENY FARMERS’ MARKET.  Well, good news -- it is FINALLY here!  The Uptown Ankeny Farmers’ Market kicks off this Saturday, May 20 and, rumor has it, this year will be even better than the last!

The Uptown Ankeny Farmer's Market features homemade, homegrown, hand-crafted products and in-season produce. Not only is this open-air market known for the freshest locally grown produce, but each week boasts a variety of offerings. On any given Saturday, you can find meats, baked goods, cut flowers, starter veggie plants, and hanging baskets, along with prepared food vendors, local artists, and entertainers.  When it comes to vendors, no two weeks are the same -- which seems like the perfect excuse to never miss one!

So, what makes the Uptown Ankeny Farmers’ Market unique?  Well, according to regular attendee, Kelly Munter (Ankeny), the small-town feel just can’t be beat!  “We love stocking up on our fruits, veggies, and bread for the week without fighting large crowds.  Not to mention, supporting local farmers, the Ankeny community, and our economy is of the utmost importance to us!” 

Well, when you put it like that, the Uptown Ankeny Farmers’ Market sure sounds like a place we would all want to be! 

Where:

 

Ankeny Market & Pavilion Park

715 W 1st Street

When:

(May-September)

Saturdays May 20 thru Sept. 30, Closed July 8 for Summerfest

8:00 am to 12:00 pm

For more information visit www.uptownankeny.org

Downtown Farmers' Market 2017

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

This Saturday’s forecast looks to be perfect for opening day of the DES MOINES FARMERS’ MARKET! Most locals know exactly how exciting and important this event is to Central Iowans.  But just in case you’re new to town (or completely out-of-touch!), we figured that a quick briefing on the Des Moines Farmers’ Market was in order! Now before you new-to-towners start to scoff and shake with skepticism based on your previous experiences at farmers’ markets, you should know that Des Moines’ Farmers’ Market is unlike any other you’ve ever been to.

Launched in 1976 and with only 15 vendors, this produce pushing market has since expanded and now proudly boasts nearly 300 vendors from all over Iowa and weekly attendance averaging over 18,00 visitors.  That’s big time!  What’s more?  The open-air market spans the entire Court Avenue District, is in season from May through October, and offers much, much more than just the freshest locally grown produce. (As if that isn’t enough?!?) On any given Saturday, you will find meats, baked goods, cut flowers, starter veggie plants, and hanging baskets.

Still not sold that the Des Moines Farmers’ Market is the place to be on Saturday mornings?  Well, let us entice you with lots of prepared food vendors (mmmm, papusas), local artist galore, and fun entertainers to keep you…well…entertained! So, whether you’re shopping, people watching, needing a good breakfast, or looking for something fun to do, the Des Moines Farmers’ Market offers something for everyone and is the place for you.


Find out more at www.desmoinesfarmersmarket.com

Spring Cleaning: Tips for Decluttering Your Home

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Whether you’re in the spring cleaning mood or readying your home for sale, DECLUTTERING your space can be difficult and downright overwhelming.  That is why we’ve put together a list of 6 easy steps to help ease the stress of cleaning out your stuff!  Well, what are you waiting for?  Clear that clutter!


1.  Make A Plan, Man! Whether it be a weekend’s worth of work, or many months, start with a written out strategy.  Begin with a list of areas of the home that need decluttered, then set dates to tackle those spaces, and stick with it! Oh, and one other must-do to boost morale and increase motivation?  Tackle your most dreaded/cluttered areas first.  See the payoff from those cleaned out spaces will be enough to keep you going!  And don’t forget to the enlist the help of your family/housemates.  

This is just one example of how your declutter calendar/plan could look:

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Or try this method: 

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Find what works for you!

 

2.  Ready yourself...both mentally and physically.  Once you have your decluttering added to the calendar, you’ll be more likely to actually do it AND be prepared for it!  Give yourself no excuses to skip the stress by having the necessary supplies, such as trash bags, laundry baskets (keep reading), boxes, music, food, and a clear mind. 

 

3.  Give yourself a set amount of time.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed and give up on clearing things out midway through, so we suggest working in blocks of time.  Whether it is 15 minutes, twice a day, or 3 hours on the weekend, set yourself up to succeed! And remember, slow and steady sometimes wins the race.  Commit to one room, drawer, closet, or area per day and see a BIG impact in no time at all! 

 

4.  Make 3 Piles: Keep, Donate, Trash.  This is an easy system for your big stuff sort and, likely, everything you come across can be categorized in one of these 3 areas.  We recommend using large laundry baskets that can easily be moved from room to room or space to space.  Label your baskets, and don’t second guess your initial reaction!  

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Questions to ask yourself when deciding how to sort objects:

● Do I use this?

● Do I need this?

● Will I even know it is gone?


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5. Get creative with storage and use what you have!  Storage ottomans, cubes, boxes and baskets all make for useful clutter keepers. Think outside the box and, if necessary, invest in storage solutions -- but NOT before assessing your need! 

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6. Designate a spot for everything AND a system for paper clutter.  This is the key to keeping clutter at bay.  Taking the time to organize after you’ve sorted all the stuff, will pay off HUGE when the doesn’t come back!  Check out our previous post on Home Organization for easy, applicable ideas! 

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Bottom line when it comes to streamlining your stuff? Decluttering can be done effectively and with minimal stress if you have a plan and stick with it!  

2017 Easter Events Around Ankeny

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

By now you know that at Ankeny Real Estate Service, we are passionate about supporting our community and its amazing, family-focused events! With Easter just days away, we wanted to give you a heads-up about two BIG events happening in or near the Uptown Ankeny area.

First off, you won’t want to miss out on the annual “Hop Into Uptown” event held TODAY, Thursday, April 13, from 5-6:30 p.m. in Uptown Ankeny (of course!). Visit the Easter Bunny at the Holiday House, located on Southwest Third and Maple streets. Get your magic number (while supplies last!) and then find your egg at participating businesses.

The other HUGE event happening on Saturday, April 15 at 10:30 a.m. is the Ankeny First United Methodist Church Easter Egg Hunt. You can find this huge Easter Egg Hunt at the Prairie Ridge Aquatic Center at 1220 N.W. Prairie Ridge Drive in Ankeny. The Easter Egg Hunt is free (no cost) to children ages 2 through fourth grade, who are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Children are asked to bring their own Easter baskets. Over 8,000 candy filled eggs are scattered over two and a half acres of land adjacent to the Prairie Ridge Aquatic Center. The Easter Bunny will be on hand and parents are encouraged to bring their cameras.

This Easter Egg Hunt is a 20 year old tradition that began in the church’s courtyard, with only about 50 families attending. That attendance has steadily increased over the years and the event was eventually so large that is was moved to Prairie Ridge Aquatic Center.

Spring Ready: Tornado Preparedness

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Weather in Iowa can only be described as predictably unpredictable.  Last month, for example, we had it all -- sunshine and temps in the 70s, to wind, rain, frigid temps and even a few flakes of snow.  But we’re not complaining!  Nope.  Us Iowans, we’re conditioned to roll with the punches when it comes to climate.  And if there is one thing we’ve learned with regards to the weather after living in Iowa for all these years, it is to always.be.prepared.  (Those good ol’ Boy Scouts sure know what they’re talking about!)

This preparation piece is especially crucial during the spring season, also known as, tornado season.  You see?  The problem with tornados, like many natural disasters, is that you never know exactly when or where they will strike or how severe they might be.  Therefore, your best bet is to be prepared with a plan of action.  Here are five simple steps you can take to ensure that you, your loved ones, and your home are as safe as possible should a twister touch down.

● Identify the safest place for shelter.  In your home, this is likely the basement or storm cellar.  If underground safety is unavailable, head to the centermost part of your home, like a small interior room or hallway, on the lowest level.  Your safe place should be away from windows, doors, and exterior walls. The more walls between you and the outside, the better!

● Become familiar with your community’s weather alert system and make sure all adult and teenagers in your home is aware of what to do when a tornado watch or warning is issued. (Interested in the difference between a watch and a warning?  Click here to learn more.)

● Develop a family plan.  Identify escape routes out of your home and neighborhood, on the off chance they are necessary, then assign an emergency meeting point. 

● Buy or put together an emergency survival kit that consists of: several days’ worth of drinking water and preservable foods, first-aid supplies, a flashlight, basic tools, a portable weather radio, batteries, clothing, blankets, cash and credit cards, necessary medications, work gloves, and important documents (including insurance policies). 

● Finally, conduct periodic tornado drills so all family members are aware of what to do in the event of a twister.

Again, the only predictable thing about tornadoes is that they are, for the most part, unpredictable.  So, taking the time to prepare yourself, your family, and your home can prove highly worthwhile when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and twisters touch down.  

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 175