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The first ever Iowa Culinary Tourism Summit will be held on March 27 in Ankeny

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The Central Iowa Tourism Region, the Iowa Tourism Office, and the Iowa Economic Development Authority have organized the first ever Iowa Culinary Tourism Summit. The event will take place at the FFA Enrichment Center (located at 1055 SW Prairie Trail Parkway adjoining Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny) on Thursday, March 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The event is open to producers, growers, markets, chefs, restaurants, wineries, breweries, agricultural groups, food and food production associations, educational institutions, students, and those in the general public interested in culinary tourism. Registration is $25, if done before March 19, and $35 thereafter, and one can register by clicking here for the form with the instructions. Registration can be done via mail or email.

The keynote speaker for the Iowa Culinary Tourism Summit will be Rebecca LeHeup. LeHeup is Executive Director of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance and creator of Prince Edward County’s award-winning programs that include the Taste Trail, Countylicious, and TASTE! Community Harvest Dinner. LeHeup spoke at the Iowa Tourism Conference in October. "Known world-wide for developing culinary/food tourism (including agri-tourism), LeHeup will focus on how to attract food tourists, the value of creating partnerships across the agri-food value chain, and best practice examples for turning culinary tourism into a significant economic driver for individual businesses and regions." [Summit Facebook event page]

Here is a look at the event's schedule:

9 a.m. - 10 p.m.: Registration & Networking
10a.m. - Noon: Keynote Session - Creating a Taste of Place
Noon - 1 p.m.: Lunch
1p.m. - 2:30 p.m.: Barcamps and additional Q&A with Rebecca LeHeup

[Note: Barcamp (forum) topics will be determined by attendees during the registration and lunch portions of the schedule.]

More information about the event may be found by going to the Central Iowa Tourism Region website or calling 800-285-5842.

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