Caffeine or Sugar?

Whatever your buzz, this event has the fix

Originally published April 2018 in The Campus Chronicle

On Saturday, April 7, coffee connoisseurs and businesses from around Iowa gathered at Seven Flags Event Center for the 2nd Annual Coffee and Donut Festival. I have now attended the event both years, and it has already grown more popular from its first year. It is an opportunity for consumers to sample products from new businesses and get a dose of their favorites. 

Of course, Hurts Donut Co. was in attendance and everyone knows they go big. Alongside their signature donuts with heaps of sweet toppings, they featured a glazed donut about the the size of an average human head. The super-size confection cost $5, a disappointing setback to the festival — admission includes a few amenities and there are free samples, but you pay for any other products. 

Well-known local coffee shop, Friedrich’s Coffee served their ‘Nitro’ Cold Brew coffee infused with nitrogen gas. I frequent Friedrich’s but haven’t tried that particular brew; a friend said it looked like a Guinness as it was poured and there was a foamy texture similar to beer, but the brew’s overall flavor was weak

Creativity took several forms at the festival, with an impressive representation for all ages and interests. The Donut Burger stand sold the peculiar concoction of a cheeseburger housed between glazed donut buns. While it drew my attention, I opted not to try it. 

Bruegger’s Bagels has attended both installments of the festival; and although they were not actually selling donuts, their bagels and cream cheese are certainly among the best in Des Moines. 

Included with admission this year was the Donut Bar, where you could top a donut to your heart’s content and wash it down with a cup of Friedrich’s coffee. Although delicious, the wait was easily 20 minutes. Given it is only the festival’s second year, there are bound to be some details to iron out.

Both years, several events were featured in addition to the vendors, and this time I experienced a few new ones. Jelly Donut Wrestling brought a pair of contestants wading into an inflatable pool full of Jell-O cubes to slip and flounder in attempts to pin one another. It was very entertaining for the crowd, especially when the Jell-O escaped the ring. 

Later, a donut eating contest was held between Des Moines area police departments. Each participating officer had a pile of 15 cake donuts and three minutes to eat as many as possible; Newton Police Department was declared the winner. The contest was held in support of a local charity serving police and their families.

Another addition this year was a whimsical mascot of sorts. “Jessie Sweet” wandered the festival clad in a cotton candy style wig and with a table of goodies surrounding her middle. She mainly appealed to the children in attendance, which also significantly increased from last year. Several games were provided for them at the festival to expend any and all sugar induced energy.  

The growing popularity of the festival depicts a new generation of consumers and how their ideals are driving the success and interest in events like this, where new trends are discovered or even inspired. Overall, it was a buoyant event to lift your spirits, or at least your blood sugar.

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