"There is nothing to do in Marshalltown." That is a refrain we at the Times-Republican have heard from citizens or read via online from readers.
They are wrong.
There is a lot to do, much of it family-friendly, ranging from community theatre, to the Central Iowa Fair, farmer's markets, festivals, Free Fishing Days, music and rodeos. Just check the current T-R Community Calendar in both the print and online editions.
Additionally, since school dismissed in early June, our reporters have spent almost every weekend covering events not only in Marshalltown but in the surrounding area. Much of that coverage involved the many event-packed weekend and in some cases, three-day festivals in nearby Conrad, Garwin, Gladbrook, Grundy Center, State Center and elsewhere.
The events are as diverse as Central Iowa itself, ranging from the opportunity to eat fresh and tasty Latin foods at Marshalltown's Latino Festival to the celebrated Gladbrook Corn Carnival parade honoring that town's many veterans.
If eating is high on your list, then there was the chance to take in Iowa State Barbecue Championship held at Marshalltown's scenic Riverview Park.
The recently held Linn Creek Arts Festival in Marshalltown offered some of Central Iowa's best artists, with food and music, featuring the Emmy-award winning band World Port.
More inclined to participate than to spectate? Many of the festivals had events ranging from 5K and 10K runwalks to corn-on-the-cob eating contests.
For the ultra-competitor, Gladbrook's Cornman Triathlon provided not only running, but swimming and bicycling rolled into one super event.
And there is more to come.
In August, Marshalltown's newly remodeled Orpheum Theater will be showing weekend movies, pianist Lori Line will be at the Martha Ellen Tye Theater Aug. 3. The Mid-Iowa Antique Power Show begins a three-day run Aug. 6, while the return of the Central Iowa Music Festival is also on Aug. 7. Celebration Iowa, featuring young and talented Iowa musicians, comes to Marshalltown the evening of Aug. 7. Beginning Aug. 12 is the acclaimed Meskwaki Indian Powwow in Tama.
Then the Historical Society of Marshall County has been offering its "Third Thursday" programs every Thursday evening at its downtown Marshalltown museum.
Rounding out the calendar Sept. 23 - 26 with a four-day run is Oktemberfest, Iowa's Best Family Festival.
Nothing to do?