Tales from the Road - Road to Rights

We stumbled upon a lot of fun in small towns across Iowa during our 99 county tour which we call the #RoadtoRights. Sarah breaks down a good one in our latest Tales From the Road. 

A small town sitting right on the border of a county of 17,000 may seem like a blip on the radar of a 99-county #RoadtoRights tour across the state of Iowa, but my trip to that little town of Dysart, Iowa was anything but. It is a trip I will remember fondly for years to come as I look back on our work to educate folks across the state about constitutional rights for victims of crime. 



It was the end of June 2018, and we were heading to our last stop of a Marshall/Tama Counties week-long tour. We had already stopped in Marshalltown for a few meetings with local elected officials and survivor voices, who would go on to become some of our strongest advocates. And had spent the weekend before at the Gladbrook Corn Festival. I was exhausted from the week and it was pouring down rain. To say my motivation to table the Dysart Farmer’s Market was low, is an understatement. We considered simply turning around and foregoing the farmers market. In a small town of only 1,300, who would really even come out in the rain? But when we called the organizers of the market, they told us they were setting up and couldn’t wait to see us. Something about their joy came through the phone and we decided we could make it to one more event before getting some weekend rest and setting our sights on four days at the Madison County Fair.

We pulled up to the city center and immediately saw three or four booths along the sidewalk behind the local library. Almost before we could even step out of the car, we were greeted by the organizers of the market who joyfully welcomed us and immediately started helping us carry our table, tent and materials over to the other booths. They helped us set up in the rain, while the other booths joined. We were woefully underprepared for a farmer’s market in the rain, having usually attended markets that were simply called off for bad weather. Not in Dysart. The booths around us offered additional tarps, connecting our tents together and collecting the rainwater into little concaving roof puddles. The market got started and to my surprise we had a decent turnout! The Iowans we met were eager to learn about how we can better protect victims in our state.


As the market winded down we said our goodbyes to our hosts and gladly took the fresh bakery gifts from the fresh bread stand. On our way out, the market organizers encouraged us to check out the optical illusion art that the city is “known” for and what we found was cooler than I could’ve ever envisioned. I’ll always pick Dysart as one of my favorite towns in Iowa and hey, maybe even one day I’ll move there.


Sarah Shambrook

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