DES MOINES, Iowa – In less than 48 hours, media from around the world will pack Capitol Square in downtown Des Moines to capture the 2016 caucuses. And whether or not you’re into politics, this weekend, it’s nearly impossible to escape the caucus craze.
“Some people are music fans, they want to go to Coachella. Me? I love the political circus, I’ve never been to Iowa for a caucus, and I’m so happy to be here,” said Justin Robert Young, who came to Des Moines this weekend from California to watch the caucus process.
Young is the co-creator of a new card game called “The Contender,” and to celebrate the caucus season, he hosted a tournament of the game at UpDown in the East Village.
“The Contender is the game of presidential debate,” he said. “It’s a party, social game that you can play with your friends or family. Essentially, you are all now on the presidential debate stage.”
Young isn’t the only one getting festive about this first-in-the-nation phenomenon. Over at Red Door Fencing Club, another caucus-related tournament took place Saturday – members of the fencing club represented different presidential candidates, sword-fighting on their behalf.
“We were talking about how there’s all these different ways of doing the caucuses, and none of them involve swords,” said Kevin Powell, the head coach at Red Door Fencing Club.
Maybe combat isn’t your style – that’s why 515 Brewing Company hosted a “Caucus for your Beer” competition all week leading up to the Iowa caucuses.
“Monday everyone’s going to go vote, so we just thought this would be a fun way to bring the caucus into the brewery,” said Ryan Rost, owner of 515 Brewing Co. “We have a lot of people that, you know, fight over whose beer they think is best here at the brewery, so this way we kind of vote it out and figure it out.”
Everywhere you turn in Des Moines, you’ll see something caucus-related. Graphic tee shop, Raygun, is soaking up the national spotlight, as travelers and locals alike flock to rock their candidate in style.
We love it. We love having everyone from out of town stop in the store,” said Taylor Frame, a manager with Raygun. “We would like to think that we’ve had some kind of effect on the community and who they’re voting for, or that they’re voting at all, that they’re caucusing.”
On tap, on the menu, and on sale – before Iowans get serious about the caucuses, they’ve got to have a little fun with it.