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Festival to benefit Dogtown neighborhood


The Drake Neighborhood Association is hosting a block party this weekend to come together and celebrate the neighborhoods surrounding Drake’s campus. This event, called Dogtown Fest will take place Saturday, Sept. 24 from 2–10 p.m. Dogtown Fest includes entertainment for all ages ranging from face paint and balloon animals for children to concerts and beverages targeted toward an older crowd.

Dogtown Fest is a yearly event organized by the Drake Neighborhood Association.  The Association was founded in 1979 and is the second oldest neighborhood association in Des Moines. Dogtown encompasses the neighborhoods surrounding Drake’s campus and includes nearby establishments such as Mars Café, the Dublin, Jethro’s, Varsity Theater and Drake Diner to name a few.  The block party will cover the eastern side of the Dogtown area spanning from 23rd to 25th Street along University Avenue.  Each year Dogtown Fest features several vendors set up along the street and various local bands performing throughout the night.   Bob Tyler and the Restless Hearts, which primarily plays classic country and rock and roll type music, will be performing from 3-6 p.m. followed by Toaster from 7-10 p.m.  Toaster is a local rock group that has significantly gained popularity since it started in 1993.

Aside from the musical entertainment, games and other activities will be provided to keep a younger crowd occupied. Carnival type games, such as bag toss and miniature fishing are just a few games that will be set up and run by both students from Drake’s Law School as well as members of First Christian Church.

A special feature of Dogtown Fest is a bike cruiser show and contest sponsored by Ichi Bike.  This includes cruisers, low-riders, and ‘fixies’, or fixed-wheel bikes where the pedals are always moving if the wheels are in motion.

Those who live in the neighborhoods surrounding Drake, as well as business owners and workers in the Dogtown area, recognize the importance of Dogtown Fest in order to promote and improve the Dogtown area.

Woody Wasson, owner of Woody’s Smoke Shack, a nearby barbecue restaurant, is a familiar face to the Dogtown Fest. The Smoke Shack will have a trailer set up throughout the day with its food available.

“This will be the third year we’ve been at the Fest,” he said.  “It’s always a lot of fun and it’s really good for the neighborhood.”

All of the proceeds from Saturday’s event are put toward Dogtown, which is a business association for the Drake neighborhood area that is associated with the Westside Chamber.  The money raised at the event will be used by Dogtown to help pay for the event itself and to make improvements in the Dogtown neighborhood including putting up Dogtown banners throughout the area and various neighborhood projects such as installation of new security lights.

Wasson feels that the event is important for the community and is a good time for all.

“This is a really good event to promote the Dogtown area and it’s just a fun event for the whole neighborhood.”

Dogtown Fest

Saturday, Sept. 24

2-10 p.m.

University Avenue, between 23rd and 25th Streets

Featuring local bands Bob Tyler and the Restless Hearts and Toast

Bike show sponsored by Ichi Bike

Food, beverages, games and entertainment for all ages


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