Tourism Insider Meeting - February

February 27-28, 2024
10:00 AM
Decorah, Iowa

Join industry partners from around the state our first Tourism Insider Meeting of 2024. 


Tuesday, February 27 - Vesterheim Commons Downtown

  • 9:30 a.m. - Doors open. Come in for coffee and conversation!
  • 10:00 a.m. – Host welcome from Mayor Lorraine Borrowski, followed by introductions
  • 10:15 a.m. – Iowa Tourism Office update
  • 11:00 a.m. – Agri-tourism Panel discussion.
    • Executive Director Mike Bollinger from Seed Savers Exchange will share how the organization has worked since 1975 to keep heirloom seeds in gardens and on our tables, and how they educate and connect people through stories. Other panelists are will be Josh Dansdill, a Board Member of the Decorah Farmers Market, Maren Beard, Owner of Luna Valley Farm and Shane Pinter, Owner of Pinter’s Gardens & Pumpkins.
  • 12:00 p.m. - Lunch (provided) by the Mabe's Pizza, a fourth generation-owned eatery which celebrated 70 years in 2023.
  • 12:30 p.m. - Free time to explore downtown Decorah.
  • 1:15 p.m. –  Linking the Past and the Future.
    • Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson will share how Vesterheim both physically, with the new Commons space, and educationally works to connect the museum's collection with the Folk Art School to enrich the visitor experience. How can your aging assets continue to stay relevant and attract new and repeat visitors in the coming years? We will tour Vesterheim after the discussion.
  • 2:15 p.m. – Open Forum or roundtable Q&A at tables.
  • 3:00 p.m. - Wayfinding in your communities. 
    • Discuss best practices for planning and implementing on-site interpretation and wayfinding with Andy Nimrod, Decorah Parks and Rec Director, and then see the signage in action later at Dunning's Spring!
  • 3:30 p.m. – Group photos and meeting wrap-up.

Afternoon and evening activities:

4:00 p.m.: Dunning's Spring OR Toppling Goliath

  • Option 1: Hike at Decorah's most popular outdoor attraction. See for yourself how Decorah Parks and Recreation works with partners to update way-finding, parking availability, and accessibility. Please park in the gravel parking lot off Ice Cave Road, and carpooling is recommended! Note: we will aim to hike for 30-45 minutes.  
  • Option 2: Enjoy a tour at Toppling Goliath! Hear how TG has become world-renowned for its IPAs and barrel-aged stouts, and see the brewing and packaging facility. Note: tour starts at 4:15pm and will last 30-45 minutes.

6:00 p.m.: Dinner at Toppling Goliath (at your expense)

7:30p.m.: Transportation back to Hotel Winnesheik is available.

Hotel accommodation:

A hotel block is available at the Hotel Winneshiek (104 E Water Street, Decorah) for the nights of February 26 and 27. The rate is $119 + tax and you can book by calling the hotel at 563-382-4164. Reservation deadline is February 9, 2024.

Wednesday,  February 28- IMPACT Coffee

  • 7:40a.m. - Start the day with a short yoga session with the Driftless Yoga Center (upstairs at Impact Coffee) with Laree Schouweiler, Owner of Driftless Yoga Center and Driftless Yoga Festival (the latter a 2022 Iowa Tourism Award Recipient for outstanding diversity, equity and inclusion initiative)
  • 8 a.m.-8.45 a.m. – How niche markets and collaborations have helped Decorah small businesses flourish. Hear from small business owners Sean Brown (Impact Coffee), Laree Schouweiler (Driftless Yoga Center) and Lisa Lantz (The Getup)
  • 9 a.m. - Volunteer Opportunity at Decorah Chamber office (507 W Water St): 
    • Nordic Fest, Decorah's largest tourist event, will celebrate its 57th year in 2024. Help volunteer-board members paint stick-your-face-in-the-hole character boards to deck the streets during the festival!
  • 10 a.m. - Meeting ends

Any questions please contact Stephanie Neppl at (515) 348-6257 |

Contact Information
Stephanie Neppl
Phone +1 (515) 348-6257