Londonfest encompasses downtown Ames

Flags hang over festival-goers during the first Londonfest, Saturday afternoon in downtown Ames. Londonfest featured multiple food trucks, activities, live entertainment and a beer garden. 

Nic Wackerly

Brats and beer were replaced by bangers and ale as Londonfest invaded downtown Ames on Saturday afternoon.

Parts of Main Street were blocked off and filled with food, music, games and a Ferris wheel for the event. It was a coming together of all ages for a celebration of the unique community in Ames. Local businesses and Iowa State students teamed up to organize the event.

“We have been having this ongoing 10-year celebration [at London Underground],” Jana Byers, promotions coordinator for London Underground, said. “This is the big bang celebrating the end of it.”

In addition to celebrating London Underground’s 10th year of business in Ames, Londonfest was also a celebration of Ames and what makes the community so special.

“We are celebrating British culture, we are commemorating our 10 years, but we are looking to do something where the whole community can be engaged and have a good time,” Jess Clyde, owner of London Underground, said. “Part of the reason we got the Ferris wheel and the Quidditch team was to try and encourage people of all ages and all backgrounds.”

The organization of the event involved Iowa State students and London Underground, as well as other local businesses, such as Cafe Diem.

“This has been a collaborative and community effort,” Clyde said. “Dr. [Linda] Niehm, she generously let us work with her class to find six interns, and our intern team really brought in a different demographic than sometimes you see downtown.”

Working with Iowa State students to plan and organize the event was not only helpful for Clyde and Byers but it also was a rewarding process for the students.

“This is the biggest event that I have been a part of, and it is just a great experience to see how something works through monthlong planning and coordination,” Bailey Banger, senior in event management and co-leader of the intern team, said. “I have been working on [Londonfest] this whole semester so I am excited it is finally here and I’m really happy about all of the community support and excitement that we have received.”

Londonfest included entertainment for all ages and interests. In addition to a Ferris wheel and games of human foosball, the event also featured activities for kids and live music. Food trucks and a beer garden lined Main Street to make sure there were plenty of options for those in attendance. 

As for the prospects of the event returning, Clyde had an open mind.

“If it goes really well today, we could see it happening again,” Clyde said.