Iowa City Weekender: July 30-August 1

In honor of the end of the month, and those of you waiting for payday, this weekend’s Weekender is all about the freebies, with one, sort-of exception.

Thursday, July 30

Johnson County Fair | County Fairgrounds, Iowa City | 7am-8pm | Free

Last day of the 2009 Johnson County Fair. I’ve never understood why all the fun contests are before 5pm during the week. Why can’t the working folk take part in rubber chicken throwing and the Mr. Legs contest? Ok, I’m getting off my soapbox. There’s still farm animals, carnival rides and delicious fried foods to make the county fair worth a trip.

Friday, July 31

Lonnie Bowden Benefit | The Mill, Iowa City | 7-10pm | $7 suggested

According to the Mill’s website: “It’s a benefit for musician Lonnie ‘Banjo Totin’ Man’ Bowden. Lonnie was grievously injured when his garage fell on him in June.” Help Lonnie with his medical bills and enjoy “kick-ass bluegrass” from Art and Stephanie Stevenson and Bob and Kristi Black. I don’t think Lonnie’s on the MySpace, but Google brought me this bit of Lonnie-related YouTube gold (I think they say “He’s got a Purple Heart on”):

Comics & Culture | UI Main Library | 7:30am-6pm | Free

Alright, I’m cheating, this event is happening all month. But, I happened in yesterday morning and it was well worth a visit. With the help of Daydreams, library staff has assembled a chronology of comic book history, characters, artists and styles. Fun, free, and easy to spend 5 minutes to an hour, whatever your pleasure

Saturday, August 1

Hooverfest | Hoover Presidential Library, West Branch | All Day | Free

Celebrate (or mourn) the presidency of Iowa’s only Commander in Chief. The main draw is always Hooverball-basically volleyball with a medicine ball. There are exhibits, food vendors, music acts and fireworks plus the Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Every Iowan (or temporary Iowan) should experience Hooverfest at least once.

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Close Encounters of the Third KindClose Encounters of the Third Kind | Pentacrest, Iowa City | Dusk | Free

Quick UFO lesson: Close Encounter of the First kind: sighting; Second Kind: physical evidence; Third Kind: contact. Drop that trivia at your next cocktail party. Oh, and I hope I didn’t ruin the film for you. Close Encounters is a classic ‘50s-era sci-fi tale beefed up with Spielbergian special effects (that hold up surprisingly well) and iconic pop-culture takeaways. Even for those of us not born in 1977, the theme music and the mashed potato sculpture live in our collective subconscious.

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