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Ingersoll Live!

Posted August 08, 2012 in Des Moines West

Last year, more than 10,000 people attended Ingersoll Live, up from 6,000 in 2010.

The ninth annual Ingersoll Live will take place from 2 – 11 p.m. Aug. 25 on Ingersoll Avenue between 28th and 29th streets. It will follow the same family-friendly format as previous years’ events with rides and activities for children.

“We always promise to be bigger and better,” says Liz Adelman, the event planner. “We kind of have a cult following, and each year we have more and more attendees.”

Ingersoll Live, which began as a way to draw people to the Ingersoll Avenue area in order to boost interest in revitalization of the corridor, has grown each year. Last year about 10,000 people attended the event; that number was 6,000 in 2010, Adelman says.

The event is free to attend, as is the entertainment. Rides, games, food, drink and vendor items cost.

Adelman says Ingersoll Live is a great neighborhood event and something for families to do after the conclusion of the Iowa State Fair.

“We try to make it as affordable as possible for people coming down,” she says. “It’s almost a giving back to the community.”

 Entertainment for this year’s Ingersoll Live includes:

Ingersoll Live will once again feature ides, games, food, drink, and vendor items.

• The Isiserettes Drill and Drum Corps., a group of Des Moines-area youth, ages 7 to 18, that was formed in 1980. The group will kick off Ingersoll Live with its signature march up and down Ingersoll Avenue beginning at 2 p.m.
• Brother Trucker, an Americana roots rock band, which will play from about 5 to 8 p.m.
• Faculty Lounge, a band whose members are school teachers, coaches or administrators in the Des Moines area. The band plays an assortment of jazz, funk, soul and R & B music. The group will play from about 8 to 11 p.m.

Each group will perform a two-hour set, with music running the entire day except for breaks between sets.

The bicycle valet will continue again this year. It’s located between Star Bar and the Mansion for anyone who rides his or her bicycle to the event. Adelman says the bicycle valet was a huge success last year.

“The bike valet was packed last year,” she says. “People were really excited that they could just bike down there and park their bikes.”

It costs about $13,000 to put on the Ingersoll Live event, which is paid for through vendor fees and sponsorships from neighborhood businesses and the community. Most businesses along Ingersoll will have a booth set up during the event.

Any money generated goes toward the Restoration Ingersoll project. Last year, about $500 was raised toward the revitalization efforts.

Restoration Ingersoll is an effort under way to beautify the Ingersoll Avenue corridor from Martin Luther King Junior Parkway to 42nd Street. The project has been expensive with more than $1.2 million in private contributions and taxpayer money invested thus far to landscape and rebuild the sidewalk area between 28th and 31st streets. That area was finished in 2009. A bicycle lane was added in 2010. Within the past year Dahl’s Food Marts has finished its portion of the streetscape project in front of its new store. The goal is for the effort to be completed by 2014 or before.

Key points of the overall Restoration Ingersoll project include new trees and flowerbeds; the location of public art along Ingersoll; improved street parking and improved off-street parking; enhancements at the major intersections; and a new sign ordinance to allow business owners to have greater creativity in displaying signage for their businesses.

Future areas for revitalization include finishing the streetscape between 31st and 42nd streets and between 15th and 28th streets. The cost to do this is expected to be between $10 million and $11 million, according to the Ingersoll and Grand Avenue Revitalization Plan document.

The Ingersoll Live event has played a big role in drawing people to Ingersoll Avenue so they can see firsthand the work that has been done to beautify the area, neighborhood leaders say.

Each year, Ingersoll Live organizers aim to add something new to the event in order to draw more people. First, it was additional food vendors to the point where now almost all of the major restaurants in the neighborhood participate. Next, more regional and neighborhood performers were added for entertainment, along with local artists. About eight to 12 local artists show their handiwork, which ranges from various genres of art to jewelry making.

This year, one of the event’s sponsors, Des Moines University, will have its mobile health unit on site and will provide free blood pressure screenings.

Adelman says event organizers had talked about adding a wellness perspective to Ingersoll Live in light of the fact that Des Moines is a running and bicycling community, where many tend to be health conscious.

“Street festivals don’t have to be just beer and food,” she says. “It’s another aspect of an event where you can piggy-back on the people who enjoy biking and cycling and being active.”

Adelman says Ingersoll Live is truly a family event. “I feel like this is the type of event where there’s something for everybody to do,” she says. “It’s something you can bring your kids to and leave or come back in the evening and enjoy the bands or even listen to music while your kids are there.”

Neighborhood bicycle ride to lead off day’s events
Prior to the start of Ingersoll Live, the second Tour De Ingersoll will take place.

Organizers started the bicycle ride last year to add a new component to the Ingersoll Live event and were pleased with its success, says Matt Coen, who is organizing the bicycle ride and is on the Ingersoll Live planning committee.

New this year is that two routes will be offered. One bicycle ride will take participants on a 10-mile ride through the west side neighborhoods from Des Moines University on Grand Avenue along Ingersoll Avenue to the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park and to Waterworks Park before ending back on Ingersoll in time for Ingersoll Live to begin. Bicyclists will be able to park their bicycles at the valet located between Star Bar and The Mansion.

Coen says this ride worked well last year for families who were riding while pulling their children’s bicycles or children in Burley trailers, and for children who rode independently.

“We had a number of families participate because of the length of the ride,” he says. “We’re looking to continue to grow (the number of participants). We think that it’s a great opportunity to demonstrate the Complete Streets concept for Ingersoll and how bikable and walkable our community is.”

This year, organizers hope to attract more riders. They will add an additional leg onto the route that will take riders farther west and up through the Waterbury neighborhood, as well. The extended route will be about 20 to 25 miles, Coen says.

Organizers hope between 50 and 100 riders will participate in the event, which they hope to continue on an annual basis. Riders can ride at their own pace.

There is no cost to participate in the bicycle ride. Organizers will take donations for the bicycle valet and put it toward Restoration Ingersoll.





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  1. Pingback: The 9 Best Resources for Biking in the City | ecofluence | Persuasion for the Planet

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