Mount Vernon is a destination town, and tourism is an important part of the local economy. Each year this town of 4,500 welcomes more than 100,000 visitors.
One of the annual signature events is "Chalk the Walk," which brings more than 10,000 visitors together to create a larger-than-life chalk mural. Also annually, the Lincoln Highway Arts Festival attracts art lovers and allows local and regional artisans to show off their masterpieces. The town takes pride in producing family-friendly events and entertainment for visitors of all ages.
Many local events are coordinated by the Mount Vernon Area Arts Council, which has also funded programming to sustain artists and the council’s own work. It has helped fund two murals, a work by a local playwright, educational/music performances for school children by a local group, multiple learning experiences, an official Mount Vernon Poet Laureate Mount Vernon is one of the smallest towns in America with an official poet laureate.
Mount Vernon was designated a Cultural & Entertainment District in 2019.
Arts and culture play a starring role in more than a dozen annual festivals that liven up the Iowa Cultural and Entertainment District in Mount Vernon. Exhibit A: The Lincoln Highway Arts Festival in 2021.