DYERSVILLE, Iowa — In the year that has passed since Major League Baseball played its first game in Dyersville, the town has welcomed multiple new businesses and attractions to greet visitors as the second MLB game approaches next week.
“I think Dyersville’s always going to be evolving in a good way,” said Tara Rahe, owner of Fuse, a Dyersville restaurant, sports bar and wine lounge that opened in March. “There’s more and more businesses and things that are growing and coming, and with all the different events, people will see a lot more than what they saw last year.”
The Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds will face off at the stadium adjacent to the Field of Dreams on Aug. 11, with a Minor League Baseball game on Tuesday, Aug. 9. Rahe’s business will team up with Textile Brewing Co. to hold a tailgate event ahead of the minor league game.
Fuse also will host multiple private corporate parties the week of the MLB game, and Rahe has been recruiting family and friends to ensure the eatery is well-staffed for the rush of attendees she anticipates on game day.
“Our sports bar area will be open the whole time, and we’ll have almost all the TVs showing the game,” she said. “I think it’ll be great for a lot of people coming in from outside the area who want a little bit different atmosphere but still a small town feel.”
In the past year, the city has also welcomed a new coffee shop, Aslan’s Square, which opened in June in the same building as Fuse. Dyersville Family Restaurant saw an extensive remodel in March, and the Palace Saloon reopened and rebranded under new ownership in late 2021.
Jacque Rahe, executive director of Dyersville Economic Development Corp., said that since last year’s MLB game, the number of inquiries from potential new business owners seeking space in the Dyersville area has “almost quadrupled.”
The latest addition is 7 Hills West, a Dyersville location of Dubuque-based 7 Hills Brewing Co. that will include a taproom, restaurant, arcade, bowling alley and patio. Jacque Rahe said the business, located at 703 13th Ave. SE, is planning a soft opening the week of the MLB game, with an official opening around Labor Day.
“It just gives visitors a wider variety of things to do and interesting things to see,” she said of the new businesses. “If they get to town a little early, or if they don’t have tickets and they’re planning on enjoying the viewing party and all the activities down at City Square, they can walk to a few shops and enjoy the local flavor there.”
This year, visitors also can check out two baseball-themed museums that have moved into the former Tegeler Dairy building at 310 Second St. SE. The structure, now known as the Baseball Building, houses both the If You Build It exhibit and the new Baseball Hall of Dreams museum.
Amanda Schwartz is the manager for the If You Build It exhibit, which was open for two years on First Avenue West before moving to its new, larger location.
“(The new location) allowed us to expand our story and tell it even more fully,” she said. “Having the Baseball Hall of Dreams partner with us in the same building really connects the community and increases the value for people to come and visit us.”
The Baseball Hall of Dreams is owned by Dwier Brown, who played John Kinsella in the “Field of Dreams” movie, along with his business partner, David Feigin. The museum, which focuses on the history of baseball and highlights players with disabilities or from minority populations who broke barriers, will hold a grand opening Aug. 10.
Brown said the museum is designed to celebrate baseball’s impact on American culture and offer visitors another activity in Dyersville. There still is another 10,000 square feet in the property for other businesses, and Brown said Baseball Building officials are working on adding batting cages and recruiting an operator for a baseball-themed eatery at the site.
“We tried to focus on the love of the game in all its forms,” he said. “With all the expansion they’re doing at the field, we thought that clearly more baseball fans will be coming to Dyersville, and if we could give them something else to keep them in town, it would be a benefit to everybody.”
Earlier this spring, officials with Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams, announced plans for $80 million in projects and investments at the site. The master plan, to be completed in phases by 2025, includes a youth baseball complex with nine new baseball and softball fields, a 104-room boutique hotel, an amphitheater, a recreational vehicle park, jogging trails and more.
“They have so many big plans out there, and we’re obviously very excited about that,” Brown said. “Hopefully, this growth that seems imminent for Dyersville will be done in a tasteful way that keeps the charm of the small town and accommodates the visitor who comes and wants to have something else to do other than what’s out there for them at the great movie site.”