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Morning concoction and connection 

FuseDSM, Your Chamber of Commerce serving the Des Moines metro area is holding its weekly, virtual event, Caffeinate and Conversate, on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. Participants can make fresh social connections and share their experiences with new and old faces alike. This event is free and requires registration to receive a link to the meeting. Zoom Meeting information will be emailed out on Monday evening to anyone who has registered to attend. More details can be found here or at and by calling (515) 829-4189.

Become a supportive Santa 

Spread the Christmas cheer by helping the Orchard Place 2020 Holiday Drive provide gifts to more than 1,000 children battling mental health issues. Sponsor children, donate cash, fund a Giving Tree, or more. Individuals and businesses are vital partners in this program for Orchard Place, 2116 Grand Ave., Des Moines.  Find more details and register here, or contact Orchard Place directly at (515) 246-3514 or go to

Special Olympics Iowa Pen Pal Program 

Registrations are open for the Special Olympics Iowa Pen Pal Program, connecting fellow members of the Special Olympics Iowa community across the nation. Launching on Dec. 17, participants will receive Pen Pal kits to craft handwritten letters, and potentially correspond virtually, with their pen pals – a fun way to stay close while remaining healthy. Registration is open until Dec. 4. Volunteers are asked to send at least three letters. The letter-writing program operates Dec. 17-March 5, 2021. More information can be found here, by going to and by calling Special Olympics at 515-986-5520

Walk off the year with some holiday cheer 

The 19th annual Holiday Promenade will take place over six Wednesdays and Sundays throughout November and December at the Historic East Village. Maintaining social distance and safe practices, Wednesdays will feature exclusive deals from Historic East Village businesses and classic holiday light displays. Sundays will involve special events from scavenger hunts to horse-drawn carriage rides to reindeer games; they will also have reserved parking meters for online pickup orders.  

Kids in the Kitchen at the State Fair

Iowa State Fair announces fall and winter online “Fair School” Classes. While the Iowa State Fair is postponed until August 2021, the excitement continues online. The Iowa State Fair is conducting  online classes this fall and winter. Although the first two Fair School Series classes are full, registration is open for Kids in the Kitchen Deliciously Scientific Class, sponsored by the Iowa Egg Council, Jan. 30, 2021, at 10 a.m. Students age 5-14 will join the ISU Culinary Science Club to learn how to prepare food and the science behind it. ISU students will be demonstrating how to make vegetable filled egg muffins and a tasty s’more dessert. Participants will learn basic knife skills, while practicing food safety.

Registration is $10  and is open for a limited number of students. Classes will also require the purchase of supplies prior to the virtual session, details of which will be provided when signing up. Deadline for registration is January 28 at

Brenton Skating Plaza opens 

The Brenton Skating Plaza in downtown Des Moines will open Nov. 20 – an early Christmas present of sorts. Capacity at the Plaza is capped at 50% to allow for safe, socially distanced skating. Masks are required while not skating. Check in will be conducted outside the facility. Due to these precautions, reservations are required. Information for parking, registration and admission fees can be found at 


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Drive-Through Farmers’ and Makers’ Market is around the corner 

UnityPoint Health presents the Drive-Through Winter Farmers’ and Makers’ Market, set to take place on Nov. 21. While previous years’ venues have been indoors, the new location this year is at the Principal Park parking lot at 1 Line Drive in downtown Des Moines. Open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., come for some local end-of-the-season produce and unique Christmas gifts. Check out the instructions for online shopping here. 

Partnership encourages equity and inclusion 

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is offering Certified Diversity Professional and Certified Diversity Executive credentialing programs through a new licensing agreement with The Society for Diversity Inc. Announced on Nov. 10 at the Inclusion Summit held by The Partnership and United Way of Central Iowa, this additional resource will maximize the Institute for Diversity’s certification process to push for progressive diversity management in a dynamic cultural landscape. Information is available at

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Fall leaves have begun their change to yellow, red and orange on the banks of Backbone Lake in Backbone State Park on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Delaware County. Backbone, Iowa’s oldest state park, turned 100 this year.  (Photo: Kelsey Kremer/The Register)

A hundred years of Iowa state parks 

The Iowa Author Series will feature Rebecca Conrad, contributing author of Iowa State Parks: A Century of Stewardship, and photo editors Angela Corio and Jim Scheffler, at the virtual event on Dec. 3. Register to participate in a live Q&A session with the team as they share the story of their work and the history of Iowa’s state parks here. 

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