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Events and Activities in Northeast Iowa

Do you have plans made for the upcoming weeks? Not to worry. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls metro area is brimming with fun events and activities for individuals, couples, and families alike.

From educational and sporting events to holiday-themed festivals, there’s a little something for everyone in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and the neighboring cities that makes life as a local all the more rewarding and enjoyable.

Cedar Falls Events

When it comes to Cedar Falls, Independence, and the greater Cedar Valley area, there are numerous annual events that visitors and residents look forward to. Additionally, the local schools provide their own activities and programs that contribute to building a stronger community in Cedar Falls. As you’re planning your schedule for the coming months, here are some popular events in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area to check out:

1. Cemetery Walk

The Cemetery Walk is just as intriguing as it sounds, although slightly less macabre. This educational history event, which is part of the Cedar Falls Historical Society’s months-long “The Fight for the Right: Women and the Vote” exhibition, gives you a chance to gather at Fairview Cemetery and learn about the Cedar Falls citizens who advocated for women’s rights in decades past. The 2020 event is scheduled for 2 p.m., Sept. 27, and will take place rain or shine. Masks are required, and event organizers are requesting that attendees respect social distancing guidelines. The event is free to the public, but there is a suggested donation of $5.

2. R.A.S.H. Ride Too

The R.A.S.H. Ride Too, scheduled for late August, is an annual fundraising event for the Buchanan County Four Seasons Trail Association, which is comprised of a diverse group of citizens working to develop a recreational trail system within Buchanan. The ride derives its name from four veteran area bike teams: Rawhide Riders, Team Native, Subtle Savages and Team Fish. As of 2019, the R.A.S.H. Ride was combined with the Independence BrewBQ at Riverwalk Parks.

3. Pink Ribbon Run

Especially for You Race Against Breast Cancer - Cedar Rapids, IA ...


If you want to get outside with your community and raise funds for a good cause, you can sign up for the annual Pink Ribbon Run, a 5k Run/Walk near downtown Cedar Falls. This year, the event is being held Saturday, Oct. 3. It was started in 2006 to honor the life and memory of Michelle Friedley, who died of breast cancer. The cost to register is $30 and all funds are funneled to the Northeast Iowa Community Foundation's Beyond Pink TEAM to help women and men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

4. Halloween Hikes

Halloween is celebrated properly in the Independence and Cedar Falls area. One popular event that blends the Cedar Valley region’s rich natural beauty with Halloween fun for the whole family is the annual Halloween Hikes, put on by the Hartman Reserve Nature Center in October. During the days of the event, hikes begin at 6 p.m. and depart every 15 minutes. Along the candle-lit trail, you will meet performers dressed up in non-frightening costumes that depict them as various wildlife, plants and insects in conjunction with the unique theme chosen each year. After the walk, you can finish off the night with traditional autumn activities—such as apple cidering, voting on your favorite pumpkin in a contest, and viewing live animal exhibits—along with refreshments.

5. Strolling with the Spirits

Keep up the Halloween spirit with the Grout Museum District’s annual Strolling with the Spirits event in Waterloo. As you take this easy, family friendly stroll among the eerie gravestones of the Waterloo cemeteries, historic Cedar Valley movers and shakers come to life, portrayed by local performers. Go out and meet them, ask them questions, and learn more about the area’s history.

6. Trick-or-Treating in the Downtown District

Another fun activity to look forward to this fall is trick-or-treating in Cedar Falls’ historic downtown district. During the afternoon on Halloween, multiple downtown merchants open their doors for young trick-or-treaters—or preschoolers through sixth-graders. Traditionally, both Waterloo and Cedar Falls have designated community trick-or-treat hours for children. The Cedar Valley Region also features other trick-or-treating events put on by various organizations. If you go out this year for Halloween, make sure to follow proper mask-wearing and social-distancing guidelines.

7. Festival of Trees

The Festival of Trees, which takes place this year from Nov. 17 to 22, has been a beloved Cedar Valley tradition since 1989. The annual event, which is a fundraiser to benefit the MercyOne Cedar Falls Medical Center, is filled with activities and programs at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on the University of Northern Iowa's campus. The theme this year is “Merry and Bright.” Besides raising funds for the medical center, Festival Trees is also designed to offer the greater Cedar Valley community an opportunity to socialize and view stunning trees, wreaths, and other holiday exhibits.

8. Holiday Hoopla

Another much-anticipated holiday event in Cedar Falls is a month of hoopla downtown that involves local merchants and other community organizations. The Holiday Hoopla is generally kicked off the Friday after Thanksgiving, with the festivities starting with Santa’s Workshop on the corner of 4th and Main streets in downtown Cedar Falls. The grand event continues throughout the months of November and December, with open houses and other activities taking place every Thursday and Saturday. A few of these fun family friendly programs include:

  • Jingle & Mingle on Main on Dec. 5
  • Breakfast at the North Pole at the Cedar Falls Community Center on Dec. 7
  • Hoopla Cheer and Ugly Sweater Contest on Dec. 12
  • The Frosty 1-mile Fun Run and 5k on Dec. 14
  • Movie Magic at the Oster Regent Theatre on Dec. 21

9. Cedar Falls High School Football

The Cedar Falls Tiger Football team provides additional entertainment for families living in Cedar Falls and neighboring cities. The team has enjoyed a decade or so of noteworthy success, making an appearance in the playoffs nearly every year, as well as boasting a state championship from 1986. They play their home games indoors, so incremental weather is not an issue for spectators. Even when the Tigers don’t make it to the state championship, you can enjoy top-notch competitions involving other high school programs at the Iowa High School football playoffs, typically held the first three weeks in November at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.


10. UNI-Dome Events

UNI-Dome - Facilities - UNI Athletics

Speaking of the UNI-Dome, the state-of-the-art facility usually plays host to various sporting events, concerts, and other activities. The main seating area accommodates more than 16,000 for football games. With a domed roof made of fiberglass with Teflon coating and an electronic monitoring system, the facility is climate-controlled for year-round use. In general, the UNI-Dome is also open for recreational use by the UNI community and the general public, unless there is an event or practice for one of the Panthers' athletic teams. However, the venue is currently closed until further notice as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Best of Cedar Falls Living

When it comes to living in Cedar Falls or Independence, Iowa, there are generally better things to do with your time that handling home remodeling projects. Our team at Home Indeed is happy to alleviate that burden and deliver a seamless design-build process to keep your home in the Cedar Valley region fully functional and aesthetically pleasing so you can focus instead on work, family, friends, and enjoying events and activities in the area.

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