Distinctly Different

Loving my role as Marshalltown’s tour guide

Andrew Potter gave a city tour to new Marshalltown Community School District teachers on August 11, 2021.

By Andrew Potter, Tourism Director

One of the best parts of my job is giving city tours to prospective employees or new hires for Marshalltown businesses and other entities. 

I get to talk about something I love – Marshalltown- and I essentially get to give a 45-minute commercial for the town.

I get to meet people from various backgrounds who are willing and interested in learning more. A few years ago, I also had the pleasure of helping a candidate push his airplane across the runway at the Marshalltown Airport so he could gas it up before his flight home – that always makes for a good story.

The route I take and each tour’s focus is usually dictated by the interests of the person I’m with. 

Several months ago, a young man on our tour said he loved playing tennis and biking on trails. As you can guess I had a field day with him pointing out the brand new Marshalltown Court Complex, the Linn Creek Recreational Trail and River’s Edge Trail. That was a slam dunk in my book.

I’ve also been fortunate to give tours to small buses of international visitors. I’ll never forget driving by the Alliant Energy plant east of town, which then started a discussion of power plants on the bus. One international visitor brought up a slice of Americana that he knew – Homer Simpson. I assured him that this was not a nuclear power plant and Homer Simpson, in fact, did not work at that plant in Marshalltown. It was good for a laugh, though.

I’m looking forward to one of my biggest tours yet this September. I get to lead a tour of a bus full of Marshalltown High School graduates from the classes of 1950-1959 as part of the Fabulous 50s reunion. They will visit as part of Oktemberfest weekend and are sure to have a lot of fun in town.

As we look to continue to get positive messages out about Marshalltown, I encourage all of you to be my assistant tour guides. When you have new people in town, point out the Linn Creek Recreational Trail as it winds through town. Hop out and do a quick tour inside the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA, which has impressed more visitors than I can count. Swing by Main Street which is seeing improvements by the day and then let them soak in the uniqueness of the 13th Street District. A few chocolates from Lillie Mae’s there can help sweeten any deal, by the way.

Many of the people that I’ve taken on tours are surprised and often say “I didn’t know Marshalltown had this much to offer.”

It is all of our jobs to make sure we get the word out on the great things we have to offer here in Marshalltown. Since we reside here, we already know what a great place Marshalltown is to live, work and play. Let’s be more adamant in not keeping that a secret.

Andrew Potter is Tourism Director with the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce.