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Celebrating Iowa Aboard the USS Iowa at the 2023 Iowa By The Sea Picnic

Iowa By The Sea Picnic

June 7, 2023

Following WWII, Iowa servicemen stayed in southern California instead of going back home thanks to manufacturing and aerospace jobs at Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. These lucrative jobs, perfect for those with military experience, allowed them to work immediately after their service. Eventually, these servicemen and their families held the first Iowa By The Sea Picnic, drawing former Iowans together to reminisce about their beloved home state.

According to Des Moines Register writer Chuck Offenburger, the first Iowa Picnic was held in 1887 and welcomed 408 former Iowans, eventually growing to more than 150,000 at the Iowa Picnic in the 20s. The Iowa Picnic, which is like a family reunion in many ways, will hold its 122nd event in 2023, bringing attendees together to celebrate Iowa heritage, their families and those beloved Iowa connections.

2023 Iowa By The Sea Picnic

Held on the historic USS Iowa, the Iowa Picnic is put on by the Iowa Association of Long Beach on Pier 87. The museum offers views of the harbor, while the picnic is the best place in the west for socializing about your favorite Iowa cities, stops and memories. Upon arrival, the first thing picnic attendees do is mark their hometown with a pin on the giant map. From there, it’s easy to get to know other Iowans in the area.

In the past, the Iowa Picnic has featured Iowa artists like Grant Wood and Marvin Cone as well as samples of products from the Hawkeye state. It’s a walk down memory lane for those who grew up in Iowa and no longer live in the state, and the sense of nostalgia is bittersweet. Event planners are eager to find more Iowa artists to collaborate with or showcase at the Iowa Picnic as well and urge anyone with ideas on how to do this to reach out by calling (310) 984-9927 or emailing info@iowabytheseapicnic.com.

This year’s event will be held from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 22. It will feature a violinist, catered lunch and other activities like raffles giving away Iowa-related prizes. For Partnership Member businesses and Investors, this is a great opportunity to get your product in the hands of a Californian and share Iowa’s contributions with the greater country. To donate a product or become a part of the event, reach out at the phone number or email above.

Find out more about the Iowa By The Sea Picnic at iowabytheseapicnic.com. You can also find out more about Battleship Iowa at pacificbattleship.com.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership calendar of events is a one-stop resource for activities taking place throughout the region. Find networking information for Greater Des Moines (DSM) businesses or events specific to Downtown DSM.

Tory Blazek

Tory Blazek lives in Hermosa Beach, California and grew up in Creston, Iowa. She considers herself a friendly Iowa ambassador and stops to talk with anyone with an Iowa license plate. She works as a real estate agent, runs a food pantry, volunteers at nursing care centers and rescues handicapped dogs and cats.