DES MOINES, Iowa — Two events on different sides of the political spectrum will draw crowds to the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Saturday.
The Planned Parenthood Book Sale started in the 4-H Building on Thursday. The 60-year tradition returned this year following a two-year break due to COVID-19 concerns.
“This is getting back to something that we all love,” said Ann, one of more than 150 Planned Parenthood volunteers who helped organize the event. “I’m guessing we have half a million books. As a reader, this is heaven to me to see all of these books and to get them back out into the community.”
However, the book sale is sharing fairground space with former President Donald Trump, who is headlining a “Save America” rally at the midway Saturday evening.
The two events are on opposite ends of the fair, and Planned Parenthood has no concerns about having their event at the same time as Trump’s rally.
“There are other ways to get into the fairgrounds,” Ann said. “You don’t have to come down Grand Avenue. You can come down Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway and come in from the south. I think it will be fine.”
However, some book sale customers did notice the stark contrast in the two events.
“I think the rally being close to here is really a detriment,” said Mike Thompson. “Trump has a right to do his speech, and we have a right to say what we want.”
Planned Parenthood volunteers said they are more focused on how much the return of this fundraiser will help their goal of providing health care and sex education to Iowans.
“I believe in the mission of Planned Parenthood,” Ann said. “I’m sure all of these shoppers must be supportive or else they wouldn’t be here.”
Some customers said they made the book fair an annual tradition because of Planned Parenthood’s mission.
“To me, this means supporting health care,” Annastasia Stegall said. “I always spend two hours here, and it was nice looking through everything.”
“We need to make sure people have the rights sexually to do what they want and control their own lives,” Thompson said.
“I’m carrying on the tradition of the women who started this 60 years ago,” Ann said. “I hope it can continue further into the future.”
The Planned Parenthood Book Sale will continue through Monday at the 4-H Building. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.