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Current Ames CVB Community Grant Recipients

2020 Ames Convention & Visitors Bureau Community Grant Recipients

The Ames Convention & Visitors Bureau awarded over $80,000 in funding on behalf of their Community Grant Program to assist local businesses and organizations in promoting and implementing 29 special events and programs in the Ames area for 2020. Each grant was awarded according to its intent to attract new visitors to the Ames area, enhance visitor experiences and improve the quality of life for area residents. With this latest addition of grant recipients, the Ames CVB’s Community Grant Program has awarded more than $793,500 to help fund more than 300 events and projects throughout the area since its establishment in 2007.

Note: Current Community Grant Awardees are required to complete the Community Grant Final Report form found here.


Ames Main Street Community Events

(Sponsoring Organization: Ames Main Street) Ames Main Street events include: Downtown Dollar Days, Art Walk, Music Walk, Summer Sidewalk Sales, Main Street Rick or Treat, Snow Magic, Small Business Saturday, and Restaurant Week. These events run year-round, with Dollar Days occurring in January and Snow Magic running into December. These events are free to all attendees and are an excellent way for Ames Main Street to bring people Downtown, as well as celebrate Downtown Ames’ unique historical, entertainment, and cultural heritage. Grant funds be used for marketing, as well as permits, vendors, rental fees, and supplies. Specifically, the fund will be used for the three most popular events: Music Walk, Art Walk, and the 4th of July Parade.

Days of Service – Postponed until 2021

(Sponsoring Organization: Volunteer Center of Story County) The Days of Service series involves volunteer opportunities for community members and visitors to engage in throughout the year, around a variety of causes and in a wide manner of ways. This year’s Days of Service are Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Random Acts of Kindness Week, Stash the Trash, Trashion Fashion Trunk Show, Winter Weatherization Blitz, National Family Volunteer Day, and #GivingTuesday. Completed projects benefit the volunteers, the community, and several local organizations who partner with VCSC in these activities. Grant funding will help provide resources for projects and promotion of the various events.

Goldfinch Room Songwriters Showcase

(Sponsoring Organization: Iowa State Center) The Goldfinch Room is a newly created space (January 2019) within Stephen’s Auditorium. This space is home to the Iowa Singers/Songwriters Showcase. As a listening room for performing artists with a reserved seat capacity of 80 people, it offers the artists an opportunity to perform their original works in a more intimate space to an attentive audience. The showcase is looking to expand in 2020 to include singer/songwriters who are residing outside Iowa – either Iowans who now live in other areas of the country or those who are not from Iowa but are a great fit for the event. Grant funds will be used to increase artist feeds to attract Iowans and non-Iowans who have higher artists guarantees than local artists.

The Collective Mending Sessions | A.I.R – January 17-18

(Sponsoring Organization: ISU Design on Main Gallery and the Iowa Arts Council) The Collective Mending Sessions is a community event centered around mending a quilt. this socially engaged project is a series of workshops with cultivate care for cloth and community through teaching basic mending, building relationships and completing a mending quilt together. In addition to the workshop, Kristin Roach will be having a book signing of Mend it Better and will coincide with Catherine Reinhart’s A.I.R exhibition. Grant funds will be used to provide an honorarium to the artist and supporting Kristin Roach to join the workshop event. It will also be used to print a small, professional catalog of works to accompany the A.I.R. exhibition.

Hard Won – Not Done: State of Iowa Kickoff – February 14

(Sponsoring Organization: League of Women Voters of Ames and Story County) Coordinating through the 19th Amendment Centennial Commemoration Project, a number of organizations across the state are planning activities to commemorate the Centennial (100 years) of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution extending the right to vote to women. The theme of the state-wide initiative is “Hard Won-Not Done”, signifying that the 19th Amendment is but a milestone in a much longer journey toward Americans’ full enfranchisement. The Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at ISU, in partnership with the League of Women Votes of Iowa, is hosting the kick-off event for the state at Iowa State University. Events will include a proclamation signing by Gov. Reynolds, IPTV screening of a documentary of Carrie Chapman Catt, lectures, performances of The Yellow Rose of Suffrage, and a keynote address by Elaine Weiss. Funding will be used for supplies, decorations, flowers, and a tent for the kick-off events.

Women Where They Don’t Belong: The Ongoing Struggle for Equality – February 14

(Sponsoring Organization: Ames History Museum) The Ames History Museum is planning an exhibit for the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment in 2020. The exhibit will feature notable women from Ames history, especially women who did groundbreaking things. In conjunction with the exhibit, the Museum will partner with other community organizations to provide related programming – lectures, events, and special projects to be determined. Grant funds will be used for design and installation of the exhibit, expenses related toe vents, and marketing for the events and exhibit.

Season Announce Reception – Postponed due to COVID-19

(Sponsoring Organization: ACTORS) ACTORS will be hosting their fourth annual season announce party. The event has included hos d’oeuvres, beverages, door prizes, and the season announcement. The announcement is followed with the opportunity to buy season tickets and BRAVO memberships. Between building improvements and an impressive upcoming season, ACTORS is excited to demonstrate what they can do. Previously, as many as one fourth of all season tickets have been sold at this event. Grant funds will be used on brochures, marketing materials, and advertising.

AIOFA Festival – Postponed due to COVID-19

(Sponsoring Organization: Iowa State Center) The Ames International Orchestra Festival Association (AIOFA) will present a three-day music festival featuring the Russian String Orchestra. The RSO will perform concerts on April 28 and 20 in Stephens Auditorium. The concerts continue AIOFA’s tradition of bringing world-class orchestras to Ames that add to its culturally enriching quality of life. The festival will include a Music Leadership Intensive for Iowa high school string students and teachers. The Festival offers distinctive experiences for Ames residents and visitors to Ames that are educationally stimulating and culturally inspiring. Grant funding will be used to promote the Festival beyond central Iowa as a cultural and educational activity.

ICA Sports Day – Cancelled

(Sponsoring Organization: India Cultural Association of Central Iowa) India Cultural Association of Central Iowa (ICA) is hosting a Sports Day event in the summer of 2020. The event will feature several games targeted at different age groups. Some of the games will be ones played as children in India. The idea behind ICA Sports Day is for people to be able to get together, play sports in a recreational manner, meet and greet, have good food, and ultimately to build community. Grant funds will allow the entry fees to remain low and to market the event both inside and outside Ames.

Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market

(Sponsoring Organization: Ames Chamber of Commerce) The Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market showcases local farmers, producers, bakers, and artists. The Market works to create a vibrant atmosphere with activities such as live music, cooking contests, free children’s activities, and a variety of goods. Their goal is to help make Ames a destination place on Saturday mornings to bring a wide variety of people – families, students, young professionals, retirees – from Ames and surrounding communities together in the heart of our downtown. Grant funds will be used to help keep reaching out to new and potentials visitors and vendors through marketing and advertising efforts, and to replace tents and other equipment as the Market celebrates its 10th anniversary.

M.A.Y. We Talk? (Movie, Art, & You) – Postponed due to COVID-19

(Sponsoring Organization: NAMI Central Iowa) Every May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this May, NAMI will host M.A.Y. (Movies, Art, & You) we Talk over 3 days. This event will include the movie, “Suicide: The Ripple Effect”, an art display of the local artists with mental illness artwork, speakers, tattoo artists providing semi-colon tattoos, live music, food, and vendor booths. The movie will be shown four times over the three-day period. Grant funds will be used primarily to purchase the licensing for the film. The rest of the funding will be used to secure venues, art supplies, food, and for marketing.

Dancenter Dancer Showcase -Postponed till 2021 due to COVID-19

(Sponsoring Organization: Dancenter Dancer company Foundations) This annual dance performance is targeted to all members of the Ames community and surrounding area and it is a free event. It features dancers performing dance genres such as ballet, tap, contemporary, and jazz. The performance is approximately 3 hours long and includes 49 performers, ages 5 to 19 years old, in the Ames community. The funds will be used to cover the cost of renting the high school auditorium.

Summerfest in Campustown – Postponed till 2021 due to COVID-19

(Sponsoring Organization: Campustown Action Association) Summerfest in Campustown is a festival-style event held in the heart of the Campustown District. Businesses and organizations who are members of the Campustown Action Association provide family-friendly activities. There are also featured events made possible through sponsorships and CAA funding. Activities include face fainting, balloons, temporary tattoos, inflatables, and a root beer garden for kids, plus a beer garden with live music and food trucks for adults. Grant funds will be used to set up a separate stage for the cutest dog contest, as well as help market the event and supply giveaways for Summerfest’s 10th birthday.

Spring Musical – Disney’s Frozen, Jr. – Postponed till Spring 2021 due to COVID-19

(Sponsoring Organization: Story Theater Company) Story Theater Company (STC) is thrilled to present the musical “Disney’s Frozen Jr.” as part of its 2020-2021 season opener. This beloved musical will receive seven performances at the Ames City Auditorium. The cast will consist of 35-40 children, ages 9-18, led by a full artistic team: a director, musical director, choreographer, stage manager, set designer, wardrobe designer, and props designer. An additional 8-12 youth, ages 12-18, will be members of the backstage crew. Grant funds will allow STC to more fully bring the “Frozen” story to life through costumes. STC anticipates creating their own costumes, and funding will be used to buy fabric and patterns that match the magic of the show.

Fortress of Light – Postponed 

(Sponsoring Organization: Reliable Street Revival) Fortress of Light will be a free, family-friendly, multi-arts live, original, musical theatre event that will take place in, on, and around the historic 128-foot Doboy feed tower located at Reliable Street in Ames. Live music, dance, vocals, video components, and projection mapping will bring the tower to life in an engaging journey to the top. Prior to the performance, Fortress of Light audiences will enjoy an afternoon/early evening of street performers, food, and community in the grounds and streets surrounding the tower. Grant funds will be used for general clean-up and restoration of the area, as well as site-improvements for crowds and marketing opportunities.

Ames Fireworks – cancelled

(Sponsoring Organization: Ames Convention & Visitors Bureau) The Ames Fireworks display is an annual event sponsored by the Ames Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Community Grant Program. It is supported by FUEL of Story County, the City of Ames, and Iowa State University. The 2020 fireworks will take place on July 3 in the Iowa State University parking lots G6-G8. Spectators may view the display from the parking lots surrounding Jack Trice Stadium and the Iowa State Center. The funding received will be used to secure the services of J&M displays to provide an outstanding firework display for Ames residents and visitors. It is a safe, free, family-friendly event that offers exceptional entertainment to celebrate the Independence Day holiday!

Friendship Ark 5k on the 4th – Virtual

(Sponsoring Organization: Friendship Ark, Inc.) Friendship Ark Home and Community Services holds a 5k race at Ada Hayden on July 4th each year. Approximately 150 runners and walkers participate, and this event is looked upon as the way to start the 4th of July Holiday off right. This event is an opportunity for Friendship Ark to share with and educate the community on the services Friendship Ark provides while offering a fun event for everyone. As a not-for-profit, this grant assists in covering the costs associated with putting on a well-run race, which includes professional timing and the cost of t-shirts.

4th of July Dog Dock Jumping Competition cancelled

(Sponsoring Organization: Model Farm) DockDogs is a series of competitive dog jumping events held across the nation each year. The competition has been held in Ames for the past three years and has provided 4th of July entertainment for both human and canine. The Ames competition is unique because it is held downtown rather than outside of town or on a soccer field. This attracts more visitors from neighboring states due to the different atmosphere and excitement of the event. They even had to add a third day because there were so many participants! Spectators are invited to enjoy the jumping, food vendors, and Ames atmosphere. Community grant funds will be used to cover the cost of the contracted expenses and to also improve the overall spectator experience through better bleachers, tents and portable toilets.

Iowa Games Athlete Jamboree cancelled

(Sponsoring Organization: Iowa Sports Foundation) The Athlete Jamboree and Opening Ceremony kick-off the Summer Iowa Games on the Friday of the main weekend. The Athlete Jamboree is a family-oriented event meant to bring together athletes, their families, coaches, fans, volunteers, officials and community members. The Athlete Jamboree is free for everyone and open to the public. Everyone from the community is encouraged to attend! Funds for the Athlete Jamboree will assist in providing a more fun and memorable experience by enhancing the entertainment and activities – specifically national, regional and local talent. The funds will also allow expansion of the interactive games and inflatables offered.

Fly Iowa (August) – Postponed till 2021 due to COVID-19

(Sponsoring Organization: Central Iowa Air Service and Iowa Aviation Promotional Group) Fly Iowa is a n annual airshow that is sponsored by the Iowa Aviation Promotional Group and held at a different local airport each year. This year, Ames has been selected as the location – this is the first time this event will be held in Ames! This is a free airshow, so there will be no charge for attendees to park or attend. Grant funding will help provide shuttles to the airport from remote parking locations, portable restrooms, crowd line controls, AV equipment, and much more.

26th Annual Senior Variety Show – cancelled due to COVID-19

(Sponsoring Organization: Senior Variety Show Organization) The Senior Variety Show is a creative, community tradition with many purposeful outcomes. Along with encouraging senior talents in the performing arts, it inspires the community with the joy of aging and an uplifting and enjoyable afternoon/evening of entertainment. The show also serves as a successful fundraiser for senior projects in the community. Funding for this event will be used to create an archival booklet about the past 25 years of this event, and other marketing tools. It will also be used to provide transportation to elderly audience members from both in and out of town from the parking lots to the auditorium. Additional funds would go toward using the orchestra pit at the Ames City Auditorium, since the event has gotten so big.

2020 Lincoln Highway Days – cancelled due to COVID-19

(Sponsoring Organization: Main Street Nevada) Lincoln Highway Days in Nevada is the only known celebration of the Lincoln Highway. It started in 1983 and has been an annual event every year. There are lots of activities for all ages: there is a 5k run, a parade, entertainment, food and craft vendors, a rodeo, a beer garden with a band, and lots of rides for kids to enjoy. Funding from this grant will be used to add to the mechanical rides so that families can have an even better experience at Lincoln Highway Days.

Friday Around Campustown (FAC) – Postponed till 2021

(Sponsoring Organization: Campustown Action Association) Friday Around Campustown (FAC) is designed to introduce those who might be unfamiliar with Campustown to the many businesses located within the district. Utilizing a mobile app, participants are encouraged to join our hunt. They are then notified of special deals and discounts being offered by local shops and restaurants each week. Participants earn points by visiting the businesses and competing photo or trivia challenges, which makes them eligible to earn prize packages both weekly and at the end of the month.  Grant funding will be used to advertise the event and pay for the mobile app used for the hunt.

Dress Up Like a Gnome World Record Attempt – Postponed till 2021 due to COVID-19

(Sponsoring Organization: Reiman Gardens) In 2020, Reiman Gardens will celebrate their 25th Anniversary and mark ten years since Elwood, the world’s largest concrete gnome, joined the Gardens. To celebrate this momentous occasion, the Gardens will attempt to break the current world record of number of people gathered in one place dressed as garden gnomes. The current record is 478, and the Gardens will attempt to gather at least 1,000 people dressed up for this event. The event will be free and open to all, and there will be stations available all day where attendees are able to create different parts of their costumes. Grant funds will be used to increase marketing for the event in an effort to draw in as many people as possible.

Ames Pridefest 2020 – Cancelled due to COVID-19

(Sponsoring Organization: Ames Pride) Ames Pridefest is a family-friendly event that celebrates the lives and contributions of LGBTQIA+ people and culture in the City of Ames. The event has previously featured local and regional stage entertainment, community vendors, and educational sessions inside the Ames Public Library. Last year, this event drew 1700-2000 people to Main Street. Grant funding will be used to assist in the event’s outdoor entertainment capacities, allowing other funds to go toward higher quality entertainment and big-name speakers.

Octagon Art Festival – Postponed till September 2021 

(Sponsoring Organization: Octagon Center for the Arts) The Octagon will celebrate its 50th annual Octagon Art Festival on September 27, 2020. The Art festival is one of Iowa’s longest running annual festivals that celebrates a wide variety of arts. This festival also promotes the cultural and artistic diversity thriving in the Ames area. This one-day event brings around 14,000 people to Main Street and is the largest event held in downtown Ames. This event is free for the public to attend and includes many activities for the family to enjoy together. As a non-profit community art center, the grant funds will be directed towards increasing the coverage of marketing and promoting the event throughout Iowa.

Spirits in the Gardens 2020

(Sponsoring Organization: Reiman Gardens) Spirits in the Gardens takes place one weekend, Saturday and Sunday, on a non-home game weekend. Trick-or-treating is available from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with additional entertainment each night that varies but may include a live magician, princesses or superheroes to take photos with, or dancing to Thriller on the East Lawn. At 8 p.m., the Jack O’Lantern walk begins when over 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins will be lit and on display. The event ends at 10 p.m. on Saturday and 9 p.m. on Sunday.  As Reiman Gardens expands into the Sycamore Falls garden space, additional treat stations will be added with grant funds. Funding will also be used to secure entertainment and promote the event.

Run for the Roses – Virtual 

(Sponsoring Organization: Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority and Ames Area Running Club) Run for the Roses is a 5K, 10K and kids race held at the Ames Middle School, followed by a complimentary omelet breakfast. The race experience is intensified by many unique activities; the singing of the National Anthem, a silent auction and an opportunity to win one of the many door prizes. This event is open to all ages and is a fall tradition for many of its participants. The award ceremony includes ages that go up to 90 years old. all participants receive a long-sleeved shirt and a complimentary red rose after they finish the race. These grant funds will be used to rent Ames Middle School, allowing more money raised to be donated to The Arthritis Foundation.


(Sponsoring Organization: WinterFest) WinterFest at Iowa State University is an annual weekend celebration of the winter season! This mostly free event hosts dozens of activities in partnership with a variety of Iowa State University student clubs and organizations. WinterFest provides a unique combination of winter themed games, activities, and traditions to help students relieve stress before finals. It also provides a great opportunity for the students to connect with the Ames community. This event spans across the Memorial Union and includes activities like campus tours, free ice skating, carriage rides, crafts, and so much more. Community grant funds go toward maintaining WinterFest traditions such as free food and cocoa, cookie decorating, and keepsake snow globes.