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Heading to the Knoxville Nationals this August for the second time in my life. This time I'm doing it right and getting tickets to all four days instead of just Friday and Saturday like I did last time in 2014. 

I'll be heading out with my father, who has never been. 

Since we're going to be there for four nights, looking for some suggestions on things to do outside of just the racing each night in the greater Knoxville/Des Moines area. I know the Iowa State Fair starts on that Thursday so that might be an easy way to kill the morning/early afternoon on one day. But still, looking for other ideas, suggestions, places to check out and eat and potential hotel situations.

We've currently got one about 30 minutes away from the track and it's quite pricey. Wondering if anyone might know of some hidden gems potentially. 

Thanks in advance for any information/advice! Looking forward to getting out there again!

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Slideways Karting center is a cool go kart place near the track. The fair as you mentioned is quite a big deal around there and a lot of fun. The hall of fame has great fan forums during the day (meet the Posse with Bruce Ellis on Friday is fun). Pella is a small town about 15 miles from Knoxville that is a replica of a Dutch villiage and has some cool bakeries and shops. 

As for hotels, we stay near the Des Moines airport which is about 40 minutes and a really straight shot from Knoxville. Lots of chain hotels there running between 100-150 per night. Go on hotels.com or Kayak and type DSM.

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People go to Lake Red Rock which is a man made Lake right outside of Knoxville. 

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I’m in the planning stages of going for the first time ever.   I can’t seem to find ticket prices for all 4 days?   I would image they allow you to stay on the grounds with tents? Any help would be appreciated 

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1 hour ago, 22racingteam said:

I’m in the planning stages of going for the first time ever.   I can’t seem to find ticket prices for all 4 days?   I would image they allow you to stay on the grounds with tents? Any help would be appreciated 

https://knoxvilleraceway.ticketforce.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=117&_ga=2.72753233.338814808.1554772787-69383239.1554772764

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Been going for the last 13 years or so and some of the cool things we've found to do locally:

1. Hall of Fame 

2. Slideways Karting Center (go karts and mini-golf)

3. Mr C's is a good food hot spot.  Usually a lot of drivers eat there during the day.

4. Don't know if you are into garage sales, but there is a ton throughout town and every now and then you find some cool stuff.  Found a few 1/64th diecast cheap a couple of years ago.

5. Dingus - not my favorite place simply because there will be a lot of people, but fun in the afternoon.  They have bands/cornhole tourney's etc

6. Thursday Night of 410 Nationals - Always a chicken bbq under the grandstands, plus live bands nightly on the stage at night by the media center.  Make sure if you plan on drinking at all have a DD, they don't mess around.  Also go the speed limit.  I've seen more than my fair share of people going 60 in a 55 get pulled over.

7. Daily shows on the stage with Steve Post and the Winged Nation gang.  It's right next to the Iowa Beer Bus.  Just saying lol.

8. Walk the midway - not as big as it used to be but some cool trailers, collectibles and stuff to do.

9. I want to say it's Peace Tree Brewing Company downtown if you are into craft beers.

10. The lake isn't bad.  The park is there and you can go check out the sites as well as some bald eagles if they are still around.

There is plenty of other stuff to do.  We always seem to find something new to do every year.  If you type in Knoxville Nationals Blog on Youtube it should bring you to our yearly trek and the dumb stuff we end up doing.  I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

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50 minutes ago, MikeMallett said:

If you type in Knoxville Nationals Blog on Youtube it should bring you to our yearly trek and the dumb stuff we end up doing.  I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

You can kill an afternoon just watching Mallett and Sasquatch tool around town on YouTube. 

My personal favorite is a  vlog from a few years ago after they decided to go to Husets on the Sunday after the nationals.  Something like 5 hours in the wrong direction with a better than 50% chance of rain.  My buddy DC was with them, and lets just say he was less than enthused at the thought of driving 5 hours in the wrong direction with that high of a rain chance... 

He wasn't happy on the ride there, and he REALLY wasn't happy after it rained out... but I get a chuckle every time... lol 

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Also, if you don't go to Knoxville that early on Saturday, I would suggest the Downtown Farmer's Market in Des Moines. 

I went the last time I was there and it was massive and took over the entire downtown like 7 or 8 square blocks with vendors, food, music...etc.  and the parking was free in the downtown garages.  I wish we had gone earlier in the morning instead of only spending 90 minutes there.

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LMAO!!!

Of the 10 things Mallett listed for things to do outside of racing, 3 of them included the word beer. What are you trying to say Mike? Not much to do out there but get drunk?

I've been to the Knoxville Nationals twice. The first time I stayed a half hour away in Pella, where they make Pella windows and doors. There is also a large farm equipment manufacturer there. When I say those two factories are the whole town, I'm not kidding. The second time I stayed almost an hour away on the west side of Des Moines. There's really not that much to do in that town either as historically, it is brutally bland - especially for a state capital.

I wish I were exaggerating, but I'm not. Do yourself a favor. Use your favorite search engine and look up Des Moines, Iowa history. Nothing critically major ever happened there, so there's no museums that would appeal to a tourist. The City of Des Moines doesn't even have a major sports team... probably because the population in the area is too low to support one. If you look at the State of Iowa on a map, Des Moines is almost dead center in the middle of the state, and probably where the expression "In the middle of nowhere" came from. Aside of the Sprint Car Museum (an absolute must see for race folks), you're not going to find much to do out there.

 

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Hahah Bob Miller.  If you've been to Iowa in August it's HOT so you need to replenish your fluids.  I also like Peace Tree as they used to do tours etc.  I find that kind of stuff fascinating.  

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My cousin and her husband just got transferred to des Moines. So a lot of my family from western new York have decided that they will probably be missing her considerably about the time of the nationals. I wish I could afford to  miss her enough to take a drive out to see her about that time but my budget won't support spending that much money on alcohol. I will not be answering the phone from any of them that week because I can't afford bail either. 

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Having been fortunate enough to travel much of the country with various sanctioning bodies, I do have to say... I've enjoyed almost all of it because I would study the internet hard before going and would find interesting stuff to do while I was on the road. The most dreaded road trips I've ever been on were Iowa and Nebraska because there is very little to do out that way aside of racing.

I think the highlight of those trips were stopping at the World's Largest Truck Stop, just over the Mississippi River on I-80. Being a CDL driver myself, this was always a must. I got lucky on one of my trips because they were just parking show rigs for their truck jamboree. We race fans drool over the fancy stackers and and tow rigs, but even the most elite stuff we see here at home is nothing compared to what gets shown at that jamboree. If you are a fan of heavy trucks, you gotta see this place just once. Kind of like the South of the Border for trucks.

https://iowa80truckstop.com/

 

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Spent many nights there. Buy a sticker inside that says no lot lizards and put it in your window. You will get a better night's sleep,  and score points with your wife. 

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On 4/9/2019 at 1:25 PM, MikeMallett said:

Been going for the last 13 years or so and some of the cool things we've found to do locally:

1. Hall of Fame 

2. Slideways Karting Center (go karts and mini-golf)

3. Mr C's is a good food hot spot.  Usually a lot of drivers eat there during the day.

4. Don't know if you are into garage sales, but there is a ton throughout town and every now and then you find some cool stuff.  Found a few 1/64th diecast cheap a couple of years ago.

5. Dingus - not my favorite place simply because there will be a lot of people, but fun in the afternoon.  They have bands/cornhole tourney's etc

6. Thursday Night of 410 Nationals - Always a chicken bbq under the grandstands, plus live bands nightly on the stage at night by the media center.  Make sure if you plan on drinking at all have a DD, they don't mess around.  Also go the speed limit.  I've seen more than my fair share of people going 60 in a 55 get pulled over.

7. Daily shows on the stage with Steve Post and the Winged Nation gang.  It's right next to the Iowa Beer Bus.  Just saying lol.

8. Walk the midway - not as big as it used to be but some cool trailers, collectibles and stuff to do.

9. I want to say it's Peace Tree Brewing Company downtown if you are into craft beers.

10. The lake isn't bad.  The park is there and you can go check out the sites as well as some bald eagles if they are still around.

There is plenty of other stuff to do.  We always seem to find something new to do every year.  If you type in Knoxville Nationals Blog on Youtube it should bring you to our yearly trek and the dumb stuff we end up doing.  I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

Mr. C's...  Mallett, you go there?  I have a few times, try the beef, fries and gravy.  :) 

Mallett is right about the Speed Limit, my last speeding ticket (honest) was about 13 years ago in Knoxville.  I had the ESS Pace Vehicle and the cop was IN FRONT OF ME!.  He pulled to the side, got behind and flipped on the lights.  Do this day I still say I wasn't doing the speed he said (since..he was in front of me!).  I am not sure if this was a "local cop vs. a far out of towner who won't come back to fight this thing." type of deal but it sure felt that way.  So....yes, do the Speed Limit!!  Or actually, in my case, maybe under it :) 

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