Market Experience

A kayaker is hanging out in his life jacket, sipping a bloody mary, and listening to live music as he peruses the organic offerings at the Farmer’s Market. He passes by people enjoying yoga on the new boardwalk down by the Ferris Wheel before kayaking home. This is not just a pretty story painting a picture. This is real life, and that kayaker personifies what Krissy Thiessen and Tracy Evans had in mind when they launched the market at Arnold’s Park.  

There are only five Farmer’s Markets in the USA you can boat up to. One is in Iowa and it’s a street party you can basically grocery shop at. Why hasn’t this always existed?  The intent was to create a new market with an atmosphere that emulated the lakes area: high quality produce and craftsman items like those of Lakeside Woodworking, live music, kids’ activities, and more  

all right on the water on Lake Street. This must see experience occurs every  Saturday during the summer and continues through the fall. 

“We started with around 15 vendors but continued to add on through the end of the first season and into last season. We were planning on 40+ vendors last year but COVID stomped on that a little. We’re hopeful this year we will have close to 40 vendors give or take!” commented Krissy Thiessen, Executive Director – Farmer’s Market in the Park and owner of Cherry Lane Farm. 

Investment in the Okoboji experience is abundant. Park goers now take picturesque strolls on the Norwegian kebony wood planks of a newly constructed boardwalk up to Preservation Plaza donning nine arches with 250 programmable LED lights that are lit up when bands like OAR and Iowa legend Damon Dotson take the stage. 

Rachel Carlson, RE/MAX Preferred hosted bands like Smashmouth on the very same stage during her time in the marketing department at Arnold’s Park.  

Beautification of the area is prominent and at its apex, the renaissance of The Inn Hotel. 

There is something magical about hotels and resorts of the past. In 1896, The Inn was erected on West Lake Okoboji and was labeled “the hub of society,” ushering in what was coined, “The Golden Age.” The legendary resort enjoyed occupants from all over the region for more than a century. Marc and Mercedes Steffes decided to run it back. In honor of the Inn and a nod to its history, they wanted to introduce a modern version that embodied the magic of an earlier era.  The design remained true to the Art Deco feel of its predecessor, while introducing next-level amenities including a rooftop pool and The Beach Club just steps away from Arnold’s Park. 

“The Beach Club transports lake-goers to the northern Caribbean in its heyday.  Inside the sweet smell of rum infuses handcrafted cocktails, while the luxe interior, romantic lighting, and vintage sounds of Cuban Jazz culminate in an island-inspired speakeasy vibe,” stated Mercedes Steffes, owner – The Inn Hotel. 

So. Much. Awesomeness. Is this heaven? No…it’s Iowa. 

Jeff and Rachel Carlson, Carlson Group @ RE/MAX Preferred

REMAX Preferred and RE/MAX Lakes Realty “Siouxland’s Gateway to Okoboji” 

Back in the day, when I was just a young boy, we took a ton of backroads to get from Okoboji to Sioux City. I would stay for a week a couple times a year with the Johnsons on Floyd Blvd. I remember their home seemingly sat on the highest point of Floyd and the massive sledding hills we were so fortunate to go down. As a kid, I felt like I was visiting a HUGE metropolis with trains, stockyards, and old buildings. Boy, what a transformation has occurred since then.   

The trip is so much easier by swiftly cruising down Highway 60.  We’re met with gorgeous new housing developments, golf courses, incredible retail, restaurants, event centers, the Hard Rock, and so much more. It is jaw-dropping for this non-local to see the progress and Sioux City’s opportunity for growth. It’s an exciting time to invest in the community and to be a part of a great team at RE/MAX Preferred. 

Okoboji Real Estate News

The Iowa Great Lakes continues to be the most sought-after vacation home destination in the Midwest. We’re fortunate to live in an area that seems to have a shield against economic and housing concerns like other parts of the United States have faced the last 20 years.  Property values continue to rise through market crashes, poor ag markets, and a worldwide pandemic. The real estate market in Okoboji this year was strong. Low interest rates have driven buying at a rapid pace. 

Inventory is at all-time lows. Let’s check stats. As of February 14, 2021 , there are only 3 homes on West Lake for sale and only 1 condo. On East Lake, 1 home and 2 condos. On the other 3 connecting lakes, Minnewashta, Lower Gar and Upper Gar, there are zero, yes zero, properties on the market. Finally, there are 3 Big Spirit listings, and none priced at more than $450,000. I’ve never witnessed such a limited inventory in my life and front foot lakeshore is setting all-time records. Perhaps there is no better example of how strong the market is than Bridges Bay. Between the hundreds of condos and cabins there, there are ZERO on the market.This is crazy. It’s a great time to be a seller but can be frustrating to be a buyer. 

This is due to the fact that the condo is not under contract.

If you’re a buyer looking for your Okoboji dream home, I highly recommend working with a REALTOR. During a tough supply time, they can be your eyes and ears. If you’re one day late finding out about that new listing, you are simply too late. More buying opportunities are  coming, but with a ton of competition. 

Though some people refer to the University of Okoboji as a mythical campus, nothing could be further from the truth. If you believe in the spirit of Okoboji, as everyone that steps their foot on campus does, you never want to leave. Summers are filled with endless fun for families and friends, and complete strangers develop lifelong friendships. If you aren’t ready to buy, then come for a week; visit all the local businesses that try so hard to make your stay memorable. We look forward to seeing you. 

Aaron Jones,  Broker,  RE/MAX Lakes Realty

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