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Clear Lake’s Surf Ballroom Gains National Historic Landmark Status

The Surf Ballroom, a storied music venue in Clear Lake, is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake is best known for being the final place Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper performed before dying in a plane crash on February 2, 1959.

While The Surf is best known in association with the Winter Dance Party Tour, the ballroom has seen a whole lot of history, all of which is now honored under a new National Historic Landmark status.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe is joined by Laurie Lietz, executive director of the Surf Ballroom and Museum for a historical look at this Iowa treasure.


  • Laurie Lietz, executive director, Surf Ballroom and Museum in Clear Lake
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa