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estivals & events throughout the entire upper Midwest are increasing in popularity for all kinds of motorcoach groups. The American Bus Association even compiles festivals and events that are very “group-friendly”. If you want more information about an event for your package, itinerary, or even daytrip, contact the local convention & visitors bureau (CVB), tourism office, or Chamber of Commerce for assistance (usually in that order). Always first check the directory in every issue of this magazine to see if their contact information is listed.

Sand on the Riverfront august 15-16, 2008 – La Crosse,Wisconsin

Imagine more than a dozen teams of energetic “sand-sculptors”, each having only about 6 hours to create a fun, whimsical, beautiful, and often thought-provoking sculpture from a load of sand the size of a large dumptruck. With the help of area artists and architects, these teams have been planning and scheming for months to get their hands into the wet sand used for this event. Last year (2007) the theme was Toys. In 2008, your group will see amazing sand sculptures that will remind them of what it’s like to be Down on the Farm. Visitors are always amazed, since the competitors who create these amazing structures aren’t professional artists, but everyday folk like you and me. Contact the La Crosse Area CVB (WI) for details about bringing your group.

Northeast Iowa Artists’ Studio Tour october 10-12, 2008 – Decorah, Iowa

Attention, art-loving tour groups! The 11th Annual NE Iowa Artists’ Studio Tour – a scenic event where 56 area artists at 43 locations have opened their studios for rare behind-the-scenes views of their creative workspaces. Your group members will see original works of pottery, jewelry, painting, basket-weaving, kaleidoscopes, photography and much more! Nestled among the wooded hills and winding rivers in scenic NE Iowa are award-winning and national caliber artists, many who open their studios to the general public only for this annual event to display, sell their art, and even share techniques. Contact the Winneshiek County CVB (Decorah, IA) for details about bringing your group.

2008 North Dakota Rodeo Association Championship Finals september 12-13, 2008 – Watford City, North Dakota

Get your entire group to pull on their boots and grab their hats! This exciting indoor event was named one of America’s Top 100 Events by the American Bus Association, and is a “must-see” for all who enjoy an authentic western experience. The 2008 North Dakota Rodeo Association Championship Finals held in Watford City, ND will take place September 12-13. The top twelve contestants from throughout the entire state of North Dakota will compete to earn the honor of NDRA State Champion in nine regular rodeo events that include steer wrestling, breakaway roping, barrel racing and bareback riding! For more information about bringing your group, contact the Watford City Tourism Bureau.

The Historic “Vatican Splendors” Exhibit october 10-12, 2008 – The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul, MN

Experience 2,000 years of Vatican art and history at the Minnesota History Center beginning September 27, 2008. See the very special, limited engagement of “Vatican Splendors from Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and Swiss Guard.” This extraordinary exhibit has more than 200 works of art and historical objects from the Vatican and Vatican Museums, many of which have never been seen before by the general public. Included are significant artistic masterpieces, venerated relics of Saint Peter, and artifacts related to the election of Pope Benedict XVI, and comprises one of the largest Vatican collections ever to tour North America. Contact the Minnesota Historical Society for details for bringing your group. ITINERARIES MINNESOTA SUMMER 2008 7

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