Iowa City Weekender: July 24-29

The big story is RAGBRAI. It’s an awesome experience, but if you don’t already have bicycling plans, you may want to steer clear of North Liberty and Tipton as things will be awfully crowded. There’s still a lot of other stuff going on this weekend, and one show on Tuesday.

Thursday, July 24

Johnson County Fair | Johnson County Fairgrounds | All Day | Free

I know the kids are on summer vacation, but why on earth does the county fair not have a single weekend event? Puzzling. But, the fair is fun. You’ve already missed the rubber chicken throwing contest, but get down to the fairgrounds by 4pm and you may snag an award-winning pie in the bake-off auction. Proceeds go to charity. And of course, there’s the obligatory midway games and rides, plus funnel cakes, carmel apples and more. It isn’t summer without a trip to the fair.

Funkmaster Going Away Show | The Mill | Thursday, 9pm | $5
Euforquestra Going Away Show | Yacht Club | Saturday, 10pm | $10

Funkmaster AKA Funkmaster Cracker is a hip-hop, afro-cuban beatsmith who also spends time with local mainstays Euforquestra and Lunatix on Pogostix. Funkmaster, and sadly Euforquestra too, are skipping town for Colorado. This is your last chance to catch either perform as residents of Iowa City. Hopefully, they’ll swing by on tour in the future.

Friday, July 25

Elevenses | Biology Building East, Room 101, UI Campus | 11am | Free

The last of a series of free readings every weekday during the Summer Writing Festival at 11am. Fridays are faculty readings, so bring a snack, relax and learn something.

Rod Peirson Big Band featuring Craig Boche | Iowa City Ped Mall | 6:30pm | Free

What happens in Vegas…also happens in Iowa? Craig Boche channels Sinatra and other crooners while the Rod Pierson Big Band backs him with an impressively tight sound and a full set of instruments. With many of the area’s best instrumentalists and a lengthy, versatile set-list these guys put on a show that will impress the big band traditionalists and younger fans as well.

Saturday, July 26

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Rummage in the Ramp | Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp | 8am-8pm | Free

A flea-market for the entire city. Designed to keep tons of trash out of the landfill, the event encourages college kids (and other folk) to donate their gently-used unwanted goods, which will then be sold to benefit local charities. Donations accepted all day, sale starts at 5pm. The event actually runs July 24-August 2.

Ghostbusters | Saturday Night Free Movie, Pentacrest | 7:30pm | Free

The 1984 classic with Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray is still as much fun today as it was twenty-some years ago. If you haven’t seen it, shame on you. Or, if you’ve seen it a dozen times, like me, it’ll be a blast to see it on the big screen again. Bring your own picnic basket and blanket and keep it to a whisper as you recite every line of the movie. “Where do these stairs go?” “They go UP!”

Roommate | The Picador | 9pm | $5

LV’s Craig Eley says Roommate has “quietly made one of 2008’s best albums with We Were Enchanted.” The Chicago group started as a one-man experiment by frontman Kent Lambert. Like so many of modern-alt contemporaries, Roommate blends melancholy lyrics with rich instrumentation.

Tuesday, July 29

Wailin’ Jennys Benefit Show | The Englert | 8pm | $24

Regular guests on Garrison Kelior’s Prairie Home Companion, the Jennys bring their folk harmony to the Englert for a Friends of the Animal Center Foundation (FACF) benefit show. All proceeds will be used directly to benefit the animals at the Center, which was severely damaged by flood waters in June. The animals need the help, might as well get a free concert with your donation.

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