One of the highlights of the year for me and my family is attending the Pyrotechnics Guild International convention. The 2009 convention in Mason City, IA, was one of my favorites. The weather was great. The shows were spectacular. And our accommodations were awesome. We stayed in nearby Clear Lake in a condo right on the lake. My son, Culver, and I also visited a couple of local attractions including the public library in Spencer, IA, home to Dewey Readmore Books, made famous in the book, Dewey the Small-town Library Cat Who Touched the World. Clear Lake is home to the Surf Ballroom, site of the final concert by Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper. After that final concert, their plane went down in the nearby Iowa countryside. We visited the Surf Ballroom which still has a stage, dance floor, and booths in addition to a museum. Site seeing and relaxing by day, fireworks by night. What could be better. Below is a slide show of photos from our trip.