Downtown Cultural Walking Tours slated for June 29

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO The YMCA-YWCA’s annual Downtown Cultural Walking Tours will be held at 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on June 29, free and open to the public. A free shuttle service from the Y to the downtown area and back will be available. Pictured are attendees of a past walking tour. Here Y staff members Cynthia Coury (center right) and Y CEO Carol Hibbs (center) take attendees on a tour of Maria’s Tacos.

The Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA will host its annual Downtown Cultural Walking Tours, visiting nine local, ethnic-based businesses, the afternoon of Thursday, June 29.

“This is the Y’s third year hosting this, and it totally fits with our mission of commitment to being bridge builders and active members of the community,” said Kim Jass-Ramirez, the Y’s financial development director and the coordinator of the walks.

The walks, which will be led by Y staff, are free of charge. Attendees can either park at the Y and meet in the building’s lobby to then connect with the shuttle, which will take people to and from the downtown tour location, or folks can just meet the Y staff on 1st St. just north of Main St. where the tour will begin.

The tours will be offered at two times: 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., and will last approximately 90 minutes.

All nine of the participating businesses deal in either grocery or food service and are as follows: El Guanaco, Abarrotes La Salud, Maria’s Tacos, El Puente, Goldenland Asian Market, Rainbow Bakery, Abarrotes Villachuato, Zamora Fresh Market and Jack’s Pho House. People may tour all of these entities during both tour times, except Jack’s Pho House, which will only be open for the 4:30 p.m. tour.

“We are trying to get people to feel comfortable visiting a business that may be foreign to them, and hopefully bring in more business,” Jass-Ramirez said. “We are going to take this first step with the public [to show them around].”

Many of the businesses will offer free samples of their products and cuisines, and its staff will be on hand to answer any questions tour participants may have.

“It’s been a very popular event and we continue to get a good amount of participation,” Jass-Ramirez added.

At least one Spanish-speaking Y staff member will be in attendance on the tours to help communicate with the business owners who may feel more comfortable conversing in their native tongue. “We will have a Spanish speaker with us, but you do not have to speak Spanish to go into these stores,” she said. “We encourage people to bring shopping bags with them.”

RSVPs are appreciated. Register online at: or by calling Jass-Ramirez at: 641-752-8658, ext. 206.