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Details on Viva L'Italia, Beer Camp Across America, Devour Des Moines, and more

Viva L'Italia 2014 is July 25 and 26 in Des Moines' Western Gateway Park.
Viva L'Italia 2014 is July 25 and 26 in Des Moines' Western Gateway Park.
The Italian-American Heritage Festival of Iowa

There are a number of events coming up in the next few weeks involving Des Moines area restaurants. Viva L'Italia, Beer Camp Across America, Devour Des Moines, and Johnny's Hall of Fame's 5th annual charity golf outing are all set to take place before the end of August. Here are the details.

Viva L'Italia: The Italian-American Heritage Festival of Iowa will take place this Friday and Saturday, July 25 and 26, in Des Moines' Western Gateway Park. The fifth annual event will feature live music (Little River Band will headline), folk dancers, cultural exhibits, bocce tournaments, children's activities, cooking and eating contests, cooking demonstrations, a queen contest, comedy, and of course, food. Admission to Viva L'Italia is free up until 5 p.m. both days with a food or monetary donation to the Food Bank of Iowa. After 5 p.m., admission is $5 for anyone 12 or older. A portion of the gate proceeds will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Greater Iowa. The festival's gates open at 11 a.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday.

A number of local restaurants, food vendors, organizations, and chefs will be participating in this year's Italian-American festival. Tursi’s Latin King, the Society of Italian Americans and Auxiliary, Scornovacca’s Ristorante, Tumea & Sons Restaurant, Yanni’s Grill & Vineyard, Baratta’s Restaurant, Centro, Parlo Pizza, Mama Lacona’s Restaurant, Bordenaro’s Pizza, Scimeca’s Famous Homemade Italian Sausage Sandwiches, Pagano’s Italian Kitchen, Dahl’s Foods, Capanna Coffee and Gelato, Chocolaterie Stam, Streets of Europe, Fini’s Concession, and Phat Jac’s will all be providing food and beverages for the event. Chef Brian Gorman of +39 Restaurant in Ames, Chef Tony Lemmo of Café di Scala in Des Moines, and Chef George Formaro of Centro in Des Moines will all be presenting on stage. To learn more about the 2014 Italian-American Heritage Festival of Iowa, go to the festival's website.

El Bait Shop in Downtown Des Moines will be hosting the Beer Camp Across America Tour on Saturday, July 26 at 6 p.m. Sierra Nevada Brewery will be traveling across the country from its home in Chico, California to the future site of its second brewery in Mills River, North Carolina. The brewery has set up an eight-stop tour along the way to showcase its beer and others. That's right, there will be 13 breweries and beers represented on the tour. Your $40 ticket will get you a 12-ounce Sierra Nevada, 12 five-ounce samples of other beers (see list below), a sampling glass, and a dinner courtesy Carl Blake of Rustik Rooster Farms that includes Swabian Hall pork, sweet corn, and baked beans. The event is limited to 300 people, so buy your tickets soon. Here are the 12 beers (besides Sierra Nevada) that will be sampled: Myron’s Walk Belgian-Style Pale Ale from Allagash Brewing Company, Tater Ridge Scottish Ale from Asheville Brewers Alliance, Electric Ray India Pale Lager from Ballast Point Brewing Company, Maillard’s Odyssey Imperial Dark Ale from Bell’s Brewery, Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock from Cigar City Brewing, Torpedo Pilsner from Firestone Walker Brewing Company, There and Back English-Style Bitter from New Glarus Brewing Company, Double Latte Coffee Milk Stout from Ninkasi Brewing Company, CANfusion Rye Bock from Oskar Blues Brewing Company, Yvan the Great Belgian-Style Blonde from Russian River Brewing Company, Chico King Pale Ale from Three Floyds Brewing, and Alt Route Altbier from Victory Brewing Company. This will be a "rain or shine" event.

El Bait Shop will also be the start/finish line for Devour Des Moines 2014. Devour Des Moines is a team race that combines triathlon type events with competitive eating and a costume contest. The event benefits the John R. Grubb Community YMCA and the Greater Des Moines Chapter of Buy Fresh, Buy Local, and it will take place on August 2, starting at 10 a.m. Co-ed teams of four will compete with each member finishing one food challenge and leg of the race. The entire team then completes one last food challenge together before crossing the finish line as a team. Here is how the fourth annual race works out:

Team Member #1: Eat Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots from High Life Lounge then run two miles

Team Member #2: Eat Bacon Wrapped Smokies from El Bait Shop and complete the Slip n' Slide Water Challenge

Team Member #3: Eat Bacon Cheese Balls from University Library Cafe and then run two miles

Team Member #4: Shuck and eat an ear of Deardorf sweet corn and a bacon tomato stack and bike 6.5 miles

Whole Team: Split a huge Bacon Bourbon Apple Fritter from Zombie Burger + Drink Lab and run around the block

Team entry is $120, and there are prizes for the Top 3 teams, as well as prizes for the team with the best costumes. All entrants and volunteers helping with the race will receive an event t-shirt. For more information on the 4th Annual Devour Des Moines, go to the event's website or Facebook page. Spectators are welcome. (There is no charge to watch.)

Another Downtown restaurant/sports bar also has an event coming up in August. Johnny's Hall of Fame will host their 5th annual charity golf outing on Thursday, August 28 at Copper Creek Golf Course. Entry for the 4-person, best ball event is $80 per person, all the proceeds go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa. The $80 entry fee includes your greens fees, cart, and dinner following the event. Check-in for the outing begins at 11:30 a.m., and the event kicks off at 12:30 p.m. with a shotgun start. Dinner follows the outing, and there will be prizes awarded and a raffle drawing after dinner. The menu for the dinner has not been announced as of yet. To register a team for the event, click here, print out the registration form, and mail it to the address on the form. To get more information, call Johnny's at (515) 280-6679.

Two other quick notes to jot down:

  • Des Moines Restaurant Week is August 15-24. Preview coming soon!
  • The 2014 World Food & Music Festival will be held on September 19 through 21 on the Walnut Street Bridge.