Fairfield: Known far and wide for amazing dining and offering a metropolitan feel in a small town setting.
Arts & Culture
Come to know our unique town that combines the best traits of a traditional agricultural community with a sophisticated center of arts and culture.
In Fairfield, there is a free-flowing feeling that art belongs to everyone and everyone can be an artist, exemplified through our Fairfield 1st Fridays monthly event. Other annual events attracting visitors while entertaining the locals include the Vintage Power Wagons Annual Rally, Dutch Oven Cook Off (attracting contestants from across the region and held at our beautiful Jefferson County Park), annual Gem and Mineral Show, Kiwanis Kids Day, Oktoberfest, and the Greater Jefferson County Fair.
Shopping is eclectic and often one of a kind. Books, art, unique gifts, jewelry, organic products, antiques, toys, furniture, baked goods, local wines, culinary supplies, and food from all over the world and more can be found around our town square.
We are also home to artisans making clothing, pottery, art, and musical instruments on contract. Want to sit down and enjoy a break at cafes serving food and exceptional gourmet coffee, tea, and locally made Kombucha (fermented tea)? We have several delightful venues to visit on our square. Live music in the evenings and a friendly atmosphere bring out the locals and are very popular with visitors. Our residents are ready to chat and answer any of your questions.
Getting hungry for lunch or dinner? Over 40 restaurants abound in our town from steak and pizza to organic vegetarian fare and international flavors including Indian, Chinese, French, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Jamaican, and Ethiopian. Iowan's vote for the best organic beef burger and local hard cider can be found at one of our newest bar/restaurants. One of the only organic dairy herds in Iowa is a local hit with their milk, yogurt, cream and cheese. Our health food store compares favorably to the best in the country, especially in summer when they are serving soft serve, fresh mango ice cream from our local dairy! There is always space on the shelves for local value-added food products.
Just outside city limits is a unique community called Vedic City where visitors can visit the Raj, a world-class Ayurvedic health spa attracting celebrities and locals alike. Surrounding the spa is a community of beautiful homes, built around the principles of Vedic architecture, emphasizing the use of natural building materials and design principles said to enhance the experience of the occupants. And don’t miss a trip to the Vedic Observatory where you can see a model of ancient astronomical instruments that were used to observe the heavens thousands of years ago. There are also greenhouses providing food to our local university using organic Vedic agriculture and sustainable practices.
Looking for yoga, exercise, sports, or a beautiful hike? A variety of opportunities for physical well-being are conveniently located around town. The community recreation center has indoor and outdoor pools, weight rooms, and a new gymnasium opened in 2016 with basketball courts and a walking track that rivals any big city. Baseball and soccer fields, tennis and racquetball courts, two golf courses and an 18-hole disc golf course provide facilities for just about any sports enthusiast. A state-of-the-art skateboard park keeps the kids happy. There is also a reason to take a walk or ride your bike on our beautiful Jefferson County Trail System; 22 miles of trails meander through woodlands, wetlands, prairie, lakes, and bridges.
Fairfield Arts & Convention Center and Sondheim Center
Located in the heart of the cultural district downtown is the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center and Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts: a gathering place for all segments of the population with an expo hall, meeting rooms, art gallery, and performance spaces. The main theater seats over 500 and hosts an exciting schedule of national touring performances: dance, comedians, orchestras, and off-Broadway theater. Nationally known names and international acts like the Chinese Acrobats fill the schedule. Local music and dance groups have a fantastic venue for their productions. It also hosts the local Chamber Society and Fairfield Area Community Theater productions.
One deeply embedded cultural tradition in small towns, libraries play an important role in communities. We are proud to have the first Carnegie Library west of the Mississippi, built in 1893 and now serving as a museum of local history. Our state-of-the-art public library offers actual “printed” books along with internet access, videos, and audiobooks. And, of course, there is an ongoing schedule of engaging programs for youth and adults.
Agriculture, both conventional and organic, is the bread and butter of Jefferson County, as it has been throughout time. Our farmer's market operating in Howard Park north of the historic courthouse offers not only produce, but unique products such as handmade skin care products, hand-turned wooden bowls, and diverse ethnic food offerings, always accompanied by live music, children, and dogs. Fairfield enjoys a very vibrant local food economy and a growing culture of sustainable living.
Maharishi International University
Our local international university, Maharishi International University (MIU) is a hub of activity and scholarship. MIU is a fully accredited university by the Higher Learning Commission and offers bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in a variety of traditional fields, including Business, Media and Communications, Art, Literature, Film, Education, and Computer Science. MIU has developed some exciting new disciplines as well, including one of the top Sustainable Living programs in the country. It is a multicultural environment where all students practice Transcendental Meditation as part of their day. Also bringing hundreds of international students to MIU are the computer and accounting professionals programs, which offer Master's degrees in Computer Science or Accounting while combining classroom work with company internships. This program has a very high success rate in placing graduates in top jobs throughout the US, and has created an outstanding international reputation.