Celebrate Iowa during Festival 2020!

Get ready to celebrate Iowa during Festival 2020, February 22-23, February 28-March 9 and March 14-15, on Iowa PBS! From discovering Iowa’s state parks and culinary heritage to meeting Blenko Glass collectors and a grandmother who competes in BMX events, a variety of specials will explore the state’s culture, people and history. In addition, this year’s Festival schedule also features concert specials with Celtic Thunder and David Foster, celebrations of cultural icons such as Julia Child and Sesame Street and so much more.

Festival programming airs on Iowa PBS .1, Iowa PBS WORLD .3 and Iowa PBS Create .4. New programs airing on Iowa PBS .1 are listed below.

Iowa PBS Productions

  • Blenko Glass: The CollectorsMonday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. The Blenko Glass Company has been famous in the time-honored craft of hand-blown glass since the family owned company began in 1893. Why do people collect Blenko? What draws them to this exquisite, handmade glass? Hear from Iowans who share what inspired their passion for Blenko Glass and their unique collections.
  • Gardening With SteilSunday, March 1 at 2:30 p.m. Host Aaron Steil is joined by Cindy Haines to share current garden trends in this gardening special. Cindy travels to Independence, Iowa, to learn about succulents and airplants from industry expert Josh Spece while Aaron explores becoming a citizen scientist with a volunteer from the Iowa Butterfly Survey Network. Cindy also discusses how to design a cutting garden and how to make cut flower arrangements using some unexpected plants from your backyard.
  • Greetings From Iowa: Pledge SpecialMonday, March 2 at 8:30 p.m. Originally an online-only series from Iowa PBS, Greetings From Iowa is a personal, firsthand exploration of the colorful people, places and events that make Iowa great. This compilation special features a variety of the unique stories that have been told over the past two seasons.
  • Iowa Ingredient: Iowa’s Culinary HeritageThursday, March 5 at 6:30 p.m. On this special episode, we'll sample a small slice of Iowa's culinary heritage with author Darcy Maulsby who joins host Charity Nebbe in the studio kitchen to make traditional favorites like butter cookies and radish salad. They'll also prepare a unique Midwestern favorite--cinnamon rolls paired with chili.
  • Iowa Outdoors: 100th Anniversary of Iowa State ParksWednesday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m. As Iowa’s state parks celebrate their 100th anniversary, this special explores their natural beauty, artistic inspiration and historic significance. Featuring artists profiling their own parks, and utilizing modern aerial videography and historic images, Iowa Outdoors brings viewers to the state parks of yesterday and shares the inspiration they may bring for the next 100 years.


  • Julia Child: Best BitesSunday, March 1 at 1 p.m. Celebrate the first lady of cooking with Martha Stewart, Jacques Pepin, Vivian Howard, Marcus Samuelsson, José Andrés, Eric Ripert, Rick Bayless and others as they share personal insights and screen some of Julia Child’s most-beloved episodes.
  • Ken Burns: Country MusicSaturday, February 22 at 2:30 p.m. Join host Kathy Mattea to learn more about the making of the epic documentary series devoted to the history of this truly American art form. This program features interviews with Rosanne Cash, along with Ken Burns and other members of the filmmaking team.
  • Sesame Street: 50 Years and Still Sunny—Monday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic series with favorite memories and special guests. This new documentary includes celebrity appearances, interviews with puppeteers and clips of Sesame Street’s most unforgettable moments.

Arts & Entertainment

  • Celtic Thunder IrelandWednesday, March 4 at 8 p.m. This new special combines 10 years of Celtic Thunder hits and focuses on their most popular songs of the last decade—their Irish and Celtic fan favorites.
  • Celtic Woman, The Best Of…Sunday, March 1 at 8:30 p.m. Be transported to Ireland to celebrate magical moments and memories from 15 years of making music. Filled with favorite songs from their journey so far, this new special showcases Celtic Woman's angelic voices and instrumental virtuosity.
  • Chuck Berry: Brown-Eyed Handsome ManSaturday, March 7 at 10:30 p.m. Celebrate the father of rock-'n'-roll with legendary artists including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Jimi Hendrix, Tom Petty, Linda Ronstadt, Jeff Lynne and others performing favorite songs by their self-proclaimed hero.
  • Doo Wop to Pop Rock: My Music Celebrates 20 YearsSaturday, February 29 at 8 p.m. Celebrate 20 years of greatest hit songs from the 50s to the 70s featuring legendary performers The Kingston Trio, Glen Campbell, Aretha Franklin, Engelbert Humperdinck, Judy Collins, Davy Jones, Mel Carter, Patti Page and others.
  • Great Performances: An Intimate Evening With David FosterSunday, February 23 at 5 p.m. Enjoy at star-studded concert with celebrated 16-time Grammy Award-winner David Foster as he explores the music of his career.
  • John Tesh: Songs and Stories From the Grand PianoSunday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m. The pop music composer, pianist and Emmy Award-winning radio and TV host looks back on his life and career through music, pictures and humorous reminiscences. The concert special blends together heartfelt songs and performances by John's daughter Prima and son Gib.
  • Rise Up: Songs of the Women’s MovementMonday, March 9 at 10 p.m. Celebrate the centennial of women's right to vote through popular music. This special includes performances by Aretha Franklin, Lesley Gore, Helen Reddy, Loretta Lynn, Gloria Gaynor, Dolly Parton, Joan Jett, Cyndi Lauper, Melissa Etheridge, Tina Turner and others.
  • Soul Legends (My Music)Sunday, March 15 at 4 p.m. Join host Pam Grier in a tribute to the greatest soul hits and performers from the 1970s and ’80s. This program features classics by The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Bill Withers, The Spinners, Isaac Hayes, Minnie Riperton and others.
  • Story Songs (My Music)Saturday, February 29 at 10:30 p.m. Join host B.J. Thomas for vintage performances of the songs that united us by original artists like Don McLean, Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell.


  • 5 Steps to a Loving & Purposeful LifeSaturday, February 29 at 6 a.m. Through a daily practice of small steps, Dr. Michael Brown provides an actionable plan for how to build our lives around compassion and kindness, and by doing so, make sense of living.
  • Brain Wash With David Perlmutter, M.D.Saturday, February 29 at 8 a.m. Neurologist David Perlmutter focuses on the role of lifestyle changes in wellness and longevity.
  • Change Your Brain, Heal Your Mind With Daniel AmenSaturday, February 29 at 2 p.m. Discover practical steps to help you feel happier, sharper and more in control of your own destinies.
  • Dr. Fuhrman’s Food as MedicineSaturday, February 29 at 10 a.m. Dr. Fuhrman provides practical, easy-to-follow steps to help prevent disease and improve health.
  • Relieving Stress With Yoga With Peggy CappySunday, March 1 at 8 a.m. Using simple strategies that can be added to a daily routine, Peggy Cappy shows how to calm the nervous system and ease symptoms of anxiety, including tensions, tightness and pain.


  • Retire Safe & Secure With Ed Slott: 2020Tuesday, March 3 at 10:30 p.m. Ed Slott combines a vast in-depth knowledge of retirement tax rules with his legendary humor to help people learn how they can protect their hard-earned savings.
  • Suze Orman’s Ultimate Retirement GuideSaturday, February 29 at noon. Suze Orman delivers powerful advice on the actions she believes are key for anyone trying to achieve their “ultimate retirement.”

In addition to these new specials, many viewer favorites will return during Festival 2020, including Iowa Land and Sky, Historic Buildings of Iowa: Des Moines, Quilts of Valor II, Alone in the Wilderness and John Denver: Country Boy