Sweet Corn, Popcorn, and Holiday Cheer: Progress Iowa Announces 2019 Events


Progress Iowa Corn Feed to take place at NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids as a free event featuring Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer and Presidential candidates

A new progressive film festival and follow up to last year’s hit musical round out the year’s events

A film festival, a musical, and Iowa sweet corn: what more could Iowans and Presidential candidates want from their political events? Progress Iowa announced their lineup of events today for 2019, and it includes a unique and accessible approach for candidates and progressive activists to engage and organize in the year before the Presidential election.

Progress Iowa’s annual Corn Feed and Holiday Party, both described as “can’t-miss” events by CNN, will take place on July 14th and December 19th, respectively. The organization will invite all candidates running for the Democratic nomination for President to speak at both. In addition to welcoming remarks from Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer and speeches from Presidential candidates, the Progress Iowa Corn Feed will feature games, organizational booths, live music, and more. This year’s Corn Feed is moving to Cedar Rapids, taking place at NewBo City Market, and will be free to attend, with required online registration and lunch available for purchase.

“I’m excited to have the Progress Iowa Corn Feed come to NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids,” said local activist Cindy Garlock. “Not only will we get to hear from national and local leaders, but this is a great way to get involved with grassroots activism. I’m looking forward to meeting people from across the state who can help us spread the message as we prepare for 2020.”

The Progress Iowa Holiday Party in December will also be held in a new venue for the organization, at Hoyt Sherman Place, and will feature live entertainment, a live auction, and even audience-led caroling. Presidential candidates will also be invited to speak, and general admission tickets for the holiday party will be just fourteen dollars.

“Political events should be meaningful and impactful, but they also can be a lot of fun,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “And we want to reach beyond just the usual attendees and typical events. Our events will dive deeper on the issues, and with our musical and film festival, our hope is to bring out the best of our state’s artists, performers, and filmmakers, all while putting a priority on accessibility. No one should have to spend an arm and a leg to join the fun.”

Progress Iowa has announced at least one major event per month throughout 2019. On June 12th, they will partner with Guns Down America, to host a town hall discussion about gun safety in Iowa City. Igor Volsky, the founder of Guns Down America, is holding similar events as part of a nationwide tour in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the tragic school shooting at Columbine.

“I’m thrilled to talk with Iowans about what we can do together to build a future with fewer guns and push our leaders to embrace proven solutions that will help save thousands of American lives,” said Igor Volsky, founder of Guns Down America.

In August, Progress Iowa will put on a follow up to the twice sold-out musical adaptation of Hamilton that was reviewed as “smart and savvy.” Producers Madison Ray and Rae Fehring will return to lead this year’s production, The Sound of Progress, which will feature music from a variety of sources, all adapted in order to inspire Iowans to get engaged in the political process.

“How exciting that Iowa has the attention of the nation right now,” said Madison Ray, a Cloris Award nominated actor and recording artist who will co-produce the performances of The Sound of Progress. “I’d like to think that we can really make some noise so the whole country can hear the sound of progress.”

The First in the Nation Film Festival will call for submissions from Iowa filmmakers, to focus on a progressive issue as it relates to Iowa. A prominent group of politically active screenwriters, Writers Action, will partner with Progress Iowa on the festival, and cash prizes will be given to the winning filmmakers, along with the films being screened at the festival, to take place on October 16th at Fleur Cinema in Des Moines.

Over the past seven years, Progress Iowa has grown from less than 2 dozen members to a community of more than 75,000 progressives, the largest online organization in the state. The organization works closely with local progressive groups across a spectrum of issues, and reaches millions each year with creative social and earned media tactics. More information for each event can be found below or by visiting Progress Iowa’s website.


Guns Down America Town Hall

WHEN: Wednesday, June 12th, 7:00 PM

WHERE: Prairie Lights Bookstore, Iowa City, Iowa

DETAILS: Igor Volsky, founder of Guns Down America, will join Iowans for a discussion about how we can fight back and end the epidemic of gun violence.

COST: Free to attend, online registration required. Click here to RSVP

5th Annual Progress Iowa Corn Feed

WHEN: Sunday, July 14th, 12-4 PM

WHERE: NewBo City Market, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

DETAILS: A free event for the public to meet and hear from Presidential candidates, with an anticipated crowd reaching into the thousands. Live music, local food vendors, and organizing opportunities for Iowa’s progressive community highlight this festive, family-friendly event.

SPEAKERS: All candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination will be invited and given equal time to speak

COST: Free to attend, with lunch tickets available for purchase. VIP tickets and vendor booths available as well. Sign up to learn when registration & tickets become available

The Sound of Progress Musical

WHEN: Thursday, August 8th at 7:00 PM & Sunday, August 11th at 3:00 PM

WHERE: Stoner Theater, Des Moines, Iowa

DETAILS: Madison Ray & Rae Fehring will produce a musical featuring adaptations of theater favorites in order to highlight progressive issues and encourage Iowans to take action. Last year our production of Reynolds Pamphlet sold out multiple shows, and we are thrilled to be bringing back the same team, and to be working with Des Moines Performing Arts!

COST: $30 for each general admission ticket, sponsorships available. Sign up to learn when tickets go on sale

First in the Nation Film Festival

WHEN: Wednesday evening, October 16th (exact time TBD)

WHERE: Fleur Cinema, Des Moines, Iowa

DETAILS: Held in partnership with Writers Action, this will be a first of its kind film festival in Iowa open to submissions from Iowa filmmakers. Short films of all genres will be included, as long as they fit a running time of no more than 15 minutes, and focus on a progressive issue related to Iowa. Winners will receive cash prizes and have their films screened at a showing on October 16th in Des Moines.

COST: $5 entry fee for each film submission, $11 to attend the First in the Nation Film Festival. Sign up to learn when film submissions will be accepted and tickets go on sale

7th Annual Progress Iowa Holiday Party

WHEN: Thursday, December 19th, 7:00 PM (VIP Reception at 5:30)

WHERE: Hoyt Sherman Place, Des Moines, Iowa

DETAILS: At Progress Iowa’s longest running event, attendees will enjoy live entertainment, remarks from candidates, a live auction, audience-led caroling, and holiday cheer!

SPEAKERS: All candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination will be invited and given equal time to speakCOST: $14 for general admission tickets, VIP tickets and sponsorship opportunities available. Sign up to learn when tickets go on sale