Downtown Waterloo will be abuzz this weekend as Explore Waterloo is hosting its first Explore Waterloo Days event this weekend.
“We’re kind of combining some successful events we’ve had in the past, like Shopping Bags and Barstools, and making it a more inclusive event that helps us shine light on all Waterloo has to offer,” said Elizabeth Hahn, one of the event’s organizers.
The three-day event runs Friday through Sunday and offers a plethora of reasons to visit downtown.
Many of the city’s businesses will have special attractions such as sales, balloon artists or live music.
Explore Waterloo is also inviting any artists or musicians to create their art in the open air of downtown.
That means artists from painters to chalk artists can come downtown and create their art while musicians are free to perform on city sidewalks and ask for donations.
The city OK’d that latter plan. All artists and musicians are welcome to participate as long as they respect others around them.
There will also be a rock painting station ahead of the annual Waterloo Rocks event.
Finally, Explore Waterloo is offering self-guided walking tours with marked trails and maps.
All those activities are designed to meet the event’s goal.
“(Our goal is) getting people to think about the local community and what we have to offer,” said Hahn, who owns Philomena + Ruth at 118 W. Mill Street. “We have so many great parks and little quirks. It’s such a beautiful, walkable town.”
This marks the first time Explore Waterloo, which promotes, eating, drinking and shopping locally, will hold Explore Waterloo Days.
It plans to hold another one this fall.
Explore Waterloo may make these regular occurrences, depending on the response to these first two weekends.
“We just want to add to the charm of the town and pull from our local talent,” Hahn said. “It’s not always just about coming in and spending your money at the businesses, which is part of it, but we are a full community with talented people beyond the brick and mortars.”
Hahn said Waterloo has plenty to offer for such an event.
“There’s so much to explore in Waterloo,” she said. “There’s so much to do. You can fill your day with going to the museum. You can eat all three meals down here. It’s an exceptional town. People are always pleasantly surprised. They’re never disappointed. There’s something for everyone and just everything is beautiful.”
To learn more about the specific attractions during Explore Waterloo Days, follow Explore Waterloo on Facebook or visit downtown between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. this weekend.