MASON CITY — With the influx of Democratic presidential candidates to north-central Iowa this weekend as well as to the Iowa State Fair in the coming week, the C-SPAN Bus is making its way through Iowa.

The public affairs network’s Jenae Green says their nationwide educational bus tours have been taking place since 1993 in an effort to help people better understand what happens in Washington DC.  “We go to middle schools, high schools, and universities, public libraries, and special events like the Democratic Wing Ding as well. We just want people to come inside, whether you know about C-SPAN or not, whether you’re civically engaged to know everything about your government, or just curious and you want to learn more and gain information. We provide you with a place to not only have a little bit of fun, but also gain information about your elected officials ,your government, and how things work in DC that affect you personally right here in Iowa.”

Green says when you walk inside the bus, it’s just a little bit of Washington DC brought to the community. “There’s the Capitol and the White House on the outside. When you go inside, you’re greeted by tablets that have different videos and quizzes of Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, anything that’s going on in DC that just gets you a little engaged and excited about your government. When you go to the back of the bus, there’s a DC-themed selfie station which allows you to pretend like you’re reporting live from the set, in front of the White House, in front of Congress or the Supreme Court. There’s a 360 camera that shows you different places in DC and  around the country in a full mobile studio, so that you get to experience not only news and nonpartisan coverage of your government, but everything that C-SPAN has to offer when it comes to seeing your government live in action and unfiltered.”

The bus is not only for adults, but students as well. Green says kids will even have the opportunity to win $5000.  “We highlight our student-cam competition, which is a video documentary competition that we do every year for students grade six through 12 where they can make their voices heard about their government. It’s a five-minute competition. The grand prize is $5000, and we give over 150 prizes out nationwide. It’s a great opportunity even for our younger people in Iowa that are coming out to visit the bus to start at a young age, making their voice heard and being engaged, and maybe even winning some money as well.”

The bus will be at the Mason City Public Library Friday from 10:30 AM to 1:30 pm, and then head over to the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake where the public can tour it from 4:00-6:15 PM. If you miss the bus on Friday, you can visit it at the Iowa State Fair Saturday through Wednesday in the West Grand Exhibit Area south of Gate 11.

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