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Three Main Street America Staff members standing in front of a mural in Marion, Iowa.

Marion, Iowa © Tasha Sams

About

We work in collaboration with thousands of local partners and grassroots leaders across the nation who share our commitment to advancing shared prosperity, creating resilient economies, and improving quality of life.

Overview Who We Are How We Work Partner Collaborations Our Supporters Our Team Job Opportunities Contact Us
Two community members in Emporia Kansas pose with a sign saying "I'm a Main Streeter"

Emporia, Kansas © Emporia Main Street

Our Network

Made up of small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts, the thousands of organizations, individuals, volunteers, and local leaders that make up Main Street America™ represent the broad diversity that makes this country so unique.

Overview Coordinating Programs Main Street Communities Collective Impact Awards & Recognition Community Evaluation Framework Join the Movement
Dionne Baux and MSA partner working in Bronzeville, Chicago.

Chicago, Illinois © Main Street America

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Looking for strategies and tools to support you in your work? Delve into the Main Street Resource Center and explore a wide range of resources including our extensive Knowledge Hub, professional development opportunities, field service offerings, advocacy support, and more!

Overview Knowledge Hub Field Services Government Relations Main Street Now Conference Main Street America Institute Small Business Support Allied Member Services The Point Members Area
People riding e-scooters in Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo, Iowa © Main Street Waterloo

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Your one-stop-shop for all the latest stories, news, events, and opportunities – including grants and funding programs – across Main Street.

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Woman and girl at a festival booth in Kendall Whittier, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Kendall Whittier — Tulsa, Oklahoma © Kendall Whittier Main Street

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Join us in our work to advance shared prosperity, create strong economies, and improve quality of life in downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

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August 29, 2018 | Community Spotlight: Ames, Iowa |

Ames Main Street Rocks RAGBRI

RAGBRI crowd in Ames, IA. Photo credit: Nitin GadiaApproximately 15,000 people came out for Ames Main Street’s RAGBRAI party (on a Tuesday night!), which featured 12 bands and 20 food trucks. This photo of the Spazmatics concert was taking from an upper floor apartment window by downtown resident Nitin Gadia.

Last month, Downtown Ames hosted a festival for the 46th annual RAGBRAI race (The Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa). Every year, the bike ride takes a different route through Iowa, stopping in a different city each night. The last time RAGBRAI came through town was in 2008, before Ames joined the Main Street program. That year, the festival was held in a field near Iowa State University because downtown was not a place you wanted to invite a crowd of people to visit—too many vacant buildings and dilapidated facades.

Times have changed! That Tuesday night in July, Ames Main Street hosted the largest crowd it’s ever seen by far—15,000 attendees filled downtown for concerts and food trucks. (The next-largest event was their annual Fourth of July parade, clocking in at 6,000 attendees.) Five blocks of Main Street and three side streets were closed for stages with a lineup of 12 bands. Downtown bars and restaurants were packed to capacity from about 2:00 p.m. until they closed. Festival attendees said this year’s downtown event was the best RAGBRAI party in many, many years. 

“Fifteen years ago, no one came to downtown Ames—it was a dying part of our community,” explained Cindy Hicks, Ames Main Street Cultural District Executive Director. Since becoming a Main Street America community under Main Street Iowa nine years ago, all that has changed. “That Tuesday [of RAGBRAI] —that’s right a Tuesday—we hosted a crowd of over 15,000 people: wall-to-wall people for three blocks! Ames Main Street is thriving in the middle of Iowa!”