Working a job or researching a Mentored Advanced Project in Grinnell this summer has an added benefit for Grinnell College students — they’ve discovered city festivals, lakes, and trails to explore.

“Grinnell really comes alive in the summer,” says Angela Harrington, president and CEO of the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce.

Aaron Juarez ’15, an independent human ecology major from Santa Maria, Calif., is working this summer as an apprentice with Grinnell Area Local Foods Alliance. Juarez lives downtown and bikes to campus.

“I finally took a bike ride out to Arbor Lake and found some cool paths and wooded trails to explore,” Juarez says.

Students enjoy the city’s two lakes, parks, an aquatic center, and bike trail.

“Grinnell is a very bike-friendly community,” says Craig Cooper, owner of Bikes To You.

Kyle Moorehead ’15 is a computer science major. He’s working as a systems and security administrator at Montezuma Manufacturing, which processes small car parts.

“I think there is more going on in Grinnell than a lot of other small towns, between Music in the Park, Friday Fest, the Grinnell Games, the Farmers Market, the Duck Derby, and all the activities that happen on the Fourth of July — and that is just the start of a long list,” says Moorehead.   

Grinnell also boasts nearly 40 restaurants and three new businesses which Harrington hopes will appeal to students — Gamers, The Purple Cucumber, and The Fix, a new frozen yogurt shop opening soon.

“Those things are happening because more students are venturing downtown,” Harrington says. “That’s why you’re finding entrepreneurs taking more and more risk trying to attract college students.”

Juarez agrees.

“I’m particularly excited about the new frozen yogurt place,” he says.

Here’s a look at some of the fun things to do this summer in Grinnell:

Grinnell Games

In early June, Moorehead and Juarez participated in Grinnell Games, a sports festival which included a half marathon, 5K races, and children’s activities.

Friday Fest

Friday Fest, a summer block party takes place on the first Friday of each month between Fourth and Fifth Avenues on Broad St. The event will be held from 7-10 p.m. July 5 and Aug. 1. Friday Fest features a street dance and music. Bands include Whiplash on July 5 and Decoy on Aug. 1.

“Friday Fest is a big part of our community,” says Cooper.

Farmers Market

More than 30 vendors participate in Grinnell’s Farmers Market, selling fresh produce, barbeque, baked treats, and crafts. The market, which runs through Oct. 25, is held from 3-6 p.m. on Thursdays and 10 a.m.-noon on Saturdays.

Music in the Park

Adriana Walsh ’15 will perform folk music at 5:30 p.m. June 19 during the summer live music series at Central Park Gazebo.

The Grinnell Area Arts Council series began in 2002 and is held in conjunction with the Farmers Market. Starting times are either 5:30 p.m. or 7 p.m., on Thursdays. Check out the band schedule. The series concludes Aug. 21.

“Music in the park connects college students with community members. It’s a great way to come together to meet new people and enjoy some music,” says Mary Rellergert ’13, the council’s arts director.

A summer resource guide for students contains six pages of summer events. 

“The guide is fantastic. It’s just the type of thing students can use to become more aware,” says Rellergert.

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