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    Travel Waterloo Blog

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Dig Deeper in Waterloo

Explore our vibrant downtown district featuring award-winning museums, locally-owned restaurants, and an impressive riverside amphitheatre. Tour the new John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum, visit the Isle Casino, and enjoy the Cedar Valley Trails via bicycle or kayak. Catch exciting sports teams and immerse yourself in arts and culture. And did we mention we're home to Lost Island Water Park? It's Iowa's largest! Plus, dig a little deeper and check out our family-friendly festivals and events.

Watch episodes below from our travel series - "Travel Waterloo".
Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.

Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau Blog

This episode was a bit different than other episodes. While we typically focus on a place or event, we felt it was important to recognize our veterans and the strong connection Waterloo has with the military. As we approach Memorial Day, here are a few things to consider or add to your calendar.

1. Military Heroes. While Waterloo is known worldwide because of the Five Sullivan Brothers, there are hundreds of individuals who have proudly served our country. Living military legends like David Greene who fought on Iwo Jima and Major General Evan “Curly” Hultman both live in Waterloo and are still active in sharing their stories. The Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum recognizes thousands of Iowans whose stories are incredibly powerful.

Five Sullivan Brothers

2. Inspiring Stories. One of those stories featured in a video interview at the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum is an Iowa World War II veteran sharing how he watched the Japanese sink the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor. That is one of the most powerful and captivating stories you will find anywhere.

3. Memorial Day Picnic. On Memorial Day, from 11am-3pm, the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum will offer FREE admission to all veterans and active duty military personnel. In addition, the first 100 visitors will receive a FREE picnic-style lunch.


4. Memorial Day Parade. The parade occurs on Monday as well and begins at 10am at the corner of Commercial & 5th Streets. The program begins at 11am in Veterans Memorial Hall, located between 4th and 5th Streets.

Vets Memorial Hall

5. "Sullivan". The episode featured an interview with Jimmy Newquist of Caroline’s Spine, the band's song "Sullivan", and a few clips of a special concert he gave at the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum. A DVD of the full concert performance and the interviews will be available this summer.

Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.

- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau
Photo Credit: Grout Museum District.

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1. Local Music. Every band that performs throughout the season is live and local. You’re going to hear a variety of bands from the area. Some may be familiar to you, while others are new to the scene. Screaming Eagle American Bar & Grill has done an awesome job programming the season with bands you should look forward to seeing.

Bike Night Band

2. Great Food. Not only can you order off of Screaming Eagle’s delicious menu, Grill Master Spivey is on site with great BBQ. There's also food and drink specials each Thursday, so come hungry. I’d recommend any of the burgers!

Bike Night Bike

3. Awesome Atmosphere. Owner Ivan Wieland told us that it's a street party that's almost more of a reunion. Everyone is happy to be there and the regulars are happy to welcome new attendees. It is a social event each week, attended by your doctor, dentist or neighbor, that has a unique and friendly vibe.

Bike Night Flag

4. Plus Prizes. Attend each week and register to win a 50” TV. The more you attend, the more opportunities you have to enter to win!

Bike Night has become a Thursday night tradition in downtown Waterloo. Each week, Bike Night starts at 6pm. Music begins at 7pm, and the party continues until 10pm. Whether you’re a motorcycle rider/owner or not, Bike Night is a really fun event to attend.

Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.

- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau
Photo Credit: Screaming Eagle American Bar & Grill.

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1. The Oven. It's one of the most unique you’ll find. It was built in Naples, Italy, and cooks pizzas in the Neapolitan style. The oven uses only wood for heat, and reaches 900+ degrees. It is a beautifully-tiled oven, and cooks amazing pizzas in just 90 seconds.

Basal Pizza Oven

2. The Crust. As you hear in the episode, the pizza is much less about the toppings and more about the crust. Owner Tony Eischeid and Chef Matt Hoecker have created a dough that uses a sourdough culture and has amazing flavor all on its own. They’ll also be using it for some amazing sandwiches.

Basal Pizza

3. The Other Ingredients. They're hand-selected and absolutely the best of the best. The pizza “sauce” is made simply of organic, crushed plum tomatoes. The mozzarella is fresh, creamy and authentic to the Italian experience. You can taste each and every flavor.

4. The Menu. It's small on purpose. The starters, salads, sandwiches, and pizzas have all been practiced and perfected and Tony and Matt want to offer great options to their guests.

Basal Pizza Table

5. The Ambience. It's very much a nod to the pizzeria’s European roots. The large communal table brings people together and creates a social experience. That table and the countertops in the kitchen were all hand-made by Waterloo resident Tony Stammler. The wood came from pine trees in South Dakota and he crafted some beautiful and functional art. The outdoor dining area is similar to what you’d see on the streets of Italy. 

The one tip I’d offer you is this: Bring a date, a friend, a co-worker. Order something different and share. Each pizza serves one, but sharing is certainly an option and is encouraged at Basal Pizza. Enjoy! We know you will.

**Basal Pizza officially opens Tuesday, May 17**
Address: 225 W 4th St, Waterloo
Hours: Tue-Thurs 11am-3pm & 5-9pm; Fri & Sat 11am-3pm & 5-11pm; Closed Sun & Mon

Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.

- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau

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Spring is here and so are the Farmers Markets! The markets are open for the season beginning Saturday, May 7.

Farmers Market1

Waterloo's downtown Farmers Market, the RiverLoop Farmers Market, is located at the RiverLoop Expo Grounds, 460 Jefferson St. It will be open every Saturday from May 7-October 29 from 8am-Noon. And, they have added some new features to this year's market. Not only will you be able to purchase a wide variety of fresh produce and unique local gifts, but you'll also have the opportunity to enjoy live music, complimentary fresh hot coffee, and free games and craft activities for kids. You can also have a snack or lunch at the market with food and beverages available for purchase.

Farmers Market2

Two more Waterloo Farmers Markets are held every week in the Kimball Ridge area.

Kimball Ridge Farmers Market
May 3-October 25, 3:30-6pm
Kimball & Ridgeway Ave, Waterloo (behind Cancer Treatment Center and KFC)

Kimball Ridge Family Market
May 7-October 29 from 8am-Noon
NE corner of Kimball & Ridgeway Ave, Waterloo

Farmers Market3

Listed below are several other markets held throughout the Cedar Valley. 

Evansdale Farmers Market
May-Oct, 2:30-5:30pm
3524 Lafayette St, Evansdale

College Hill Farmers Market
June-Oct, 4-6pm
2205 College St, Cedar Falls

Cedar Falls Farmers Market
May 7-October 29, 8:30am-Noon
Overman Park, 300 Clay St, Cedar Falls

You'll find plenty of fresh, local produce and crafts no matter which market you choose. Happy Spring everyone!

- Annette Freeseman, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau

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1. New Spectator Sport. The Cedar Valley Court Kings, a new minor league basketball team, will add yet another spectator sport to our community. Basketball is a great addition to what we already have with the Bucks and Black Hawks, and the atmosphere will be very similar.

CourtKings Banner

2. Recognizable Faces & Voices. The team also features a number of players who are local talent, including several from Mt. Mercy, University of Dubuque, Wartburg College, and University of Northen Iowa (UNI). You might remember guys like Marvin Singleton and Anthony James from their days as UNI Panthers. And, we can’t forget local attorney Matt Craft who walked on at Iowa State University. For those of us who are familiar with UNI basketball on the radio, there’s a familiar voice that we might hear during games offering a “KABOOM” or two as three-pointers are made. 

CourtKings Faces

3. Exciting Atmosphere. While games are the primary reason to show up, the CourtKings will offer plenty of extra fun and excitement surrounding the games. The dance team, contests and prizes during timeouts and in between quarters, plus theme nights will provide fans with an awesome experience. On May 15, it’s Jordan Eglseder autograph/picture night. The first 75 people also get a free CourtKings tee shirt.

CourtKings Swag

4. Home Court Advantage. The Cedar Valley SportsPlex, featured in Season 1 (episode 31) of Travel Waterloo, offers a great environment to cheer on the home team. Concessions will be available and seating is close enough to the guys to feel like you’re IN the game.  

Follow the hashtag #IDigWaterloo for photos, videos, and travel inspiration.

- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau
Photo Credit: Cedar Valley CourtKings.

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