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On the first Thursday of every month, Main Street invites downtown business owners (and anyone else!) to sip a cup of Joe and chat about relevant issues at our monthly Coffee Talk. We meet at the Ivy Bake Shoppe, 8am. Coffee is on us!



First Fridays

Join nearly two dozen retailers, restaurants, and museums that are open until 7pm for your convenience, on the FIRST FRIDAY of every month!

All across the country, historic downtowns are adapting to the changing patterns of consumers over the last two decades. Many people now work until 5pm, or later, and cannot shop during traditional business hours of 9am-5pm. Recognizing this dilemma, some Main Street businesses decided to stay open until 7pm, on the First Friday of every month, for their shoppers’ convenience. “Our local business owners recognize that many people want time to be able to enjoy dinner downtown, and do some shopping, on a Friday night. It makes for a great date night!”

In the past, both Main Street and the Chamber, affiliates of Fort Madison Partners, have stressed the importance of shopping local and supported both the 3/50 Project and Independent We Stand movements. According to national studies, only 33.6% of the revenue from national chains is reinvested into the community, which is very low compared to the 64.8% return from local businesses. Ottoson states, “Buying local has a profound economic impact on Fort Madison. Look at the 3/50 Project statistics: for each $100 purchase made by a consumer, when spent locally, $68 stays in the community. Whereas at a national chain, only $43 remains. With that ratio, if every household in our community spent an extra $50/month locally (versus in national chains or online), that could mean over an additional $4,000,000 investment in Fort Madison every year!”



May 10th will mark the first “Mayhem on the Mississippi” 4k walk/run in Fort Madison.  The race will take place in Riverview Park, and will include some fun obstacles.  As May 10th is also the day of Faeth’s famous Main Street BBQ, the first 50 people to register will receive a free entry ticket to Faeth’s event.  Pre registration will begin in April, and registration the day of the race will commence at 7:45 am at the shelter house in Riverview Park.  The race will start at 9:00 am.  First 200 to register will receive a t-shirt.  Click on the link below to download the registration form.  Forms may be dropped off or mailed to 614 9th Street, Fort Madison, IA 52627.  Please make checks payable to Fort Madison Main Street.

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Mayhem on the Mississippi logo


Big Buckle Bash – The PREMIERE event in the Tri-State area! The first annual Big Buckle Bash was held in 2011 and had over 500 people downtown, rockin’ out to country hits and dancin’ in the street! 2012 proved to be a hit with over 1000! Come on down to Avenue G & 9th Street in Fort Madison to join in the fun!  In 2014, the event will be held on August 17th from 5-11pm. We have crafts vendors, food vendors, and classic car enthusiasts for a Cruise In!



Sidewalk Sales – a Fort Madison Tradition! Every Friday & Saturday of Labor Day weekend, the downtown business owners celebrate with huge sales and savings! The sidewalks are lined with great buys, including shoes, furniture, home decor, clothes, jewelry, and accessories!




Beggars’ Night - The traditional trick-or-treat event held in downtown businesses for children of all ages, including adults! Residents are encouraged to dress up and visit all of our businesses for their spooktacular treats! Tuesday, October 31, 2013, 5-7pm.

Wanna make it a weekend? There’s a ton to do here during a beautiful fall weekend- we suggest checking out some of the following activities during that weekend:

Harvestville Farm
Appleberry Orchard
Scenic River Wine Trail



WineBeerWalk logo no date

Shop n’ sip at the Wine & Beer Walk! Our historic commercial district and quaint boutiques offer wine, beer and even distillery samples from local and regional producers. Join us at our fifth annual Wine & Beer Walk (event page) on November 21st, 2013, 5-8pm.



Fort Madison Festival of Lights
Since its beginning 22 years ago, the Fort Madison Parade of Lights hasFestival of Lights experienced many changes, but this year is its biggest and most exciting yet! In lieu of the parade, the Fort Madison Festival of Lights will take place in Riverview Park beginning promptly at 6:30 PM the Friday after Thanksgiving (November 29th), when the American Flag will be lit with patriotic music and fireworks.
We invite spectators to enjoy the lighting of more than 50 completely lit floats; accompanied by fireworks and Christmas music from Ave H, between 4th Street and 7th Street. Highway 61/Avenue H will be entirely closed to vehicles for spectators to fill the street, sidewalks, and parking lots. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Santa will be available to pose for photos.
“The goal is to pique the interest of the spectators and to highlight the sponsors of these floats in a brighter light. We know the public will be as excited as we are to be part of this new experience!” Sam Manka, Festival of Lights coordinator stated.
Here’s how the event will take place for spectators; bring a lawn chair or plan to stand along Ave H. No spectators will be allowed in Riverview Park so a temporary speaker system will be installed along Ave H playing Christmas music and an announcer will announce each float that is lit in the park.
Each float will be individually announced, lit, and then go dark. After the first set of floats are announced, all floats in that set will be lit and fireworks will shine in the sky. All those floats will go dark; next set will be announced followed by fireworks and so on. Once all floats have been announced, all floats will be lit with a grand finale of fireworks. Fireworks and laser show is sponsored in part by Mohrfeld Electric and J&M Displays.
Those enjoying the Fort Madison Festival of Lights will see floats depicting Santa and elves fishing, a moving merry go round, a fireplace with real fire, a snowman being built, a moving butterfly and many more completely lit floats.

Every evening following the Fort Madison Festival of Lights the floats will be lit and on display in Riverview Park for drive-by viewing until the first week in January. Holiday cheer is in the air, with decorations and a visit from Santa Claus! Held every year on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving (in 2013, it will be on Friday, November 29, at 6:30pm)



Sensational Chefs – The most exquisite gastronomical event in the Fort Madison area! Hosted at the Ivy Bake Shoppe every January, a select group of local professional and amateur chefs offer 4-7 course gourmet meals. Since its inception in January 2010, this Main Street fundraiser has sold out in a matter of days and reservations are always in extremely high demand. For the last two years, we even had a waiting list! Details coming soon for the 2014 event!!