Veterans Memorial Auditorium

Veterans Memorial Auditorium is an arena in Des Moines, Iowa, that is part of the Iowa Events Center complex. It opened on February 1, 1955, and was named to honor the World War II veterans of Polk County. It has 7,227 permanent seats, with the capacity to add an additional 4,000 seats for concerts and an additional 7,500 bleacher seats for basketball games. Vets also features 44,972 square feet (4,100 m²) of exhibition space at its main arena and an additional 50,806 square feet (4,700 m²) at its exhibition hall.

Prior to the opening of Wells Fargo Arena, Vets Auditorium had served as the primary venue of sporting events and concerts in the Des Moines area for many years; this was also the site of the January 20, 1982 concert, where Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a bat.World Wrestling Entertainment also broadcast their WWE Raw program from the venue. The Vets was also the longtime home of the Iowa state high school basketball and wrestling tournaments until 2005. Vets Auditorium also hosted Drake University basketball games until 1992, when the Knapp Center opened, and the Des Moines Dragons professional basketball team from 1997 to 2001. In recent years, however, Vets began to show its age as newer and larger arenas were opening in other cities. The Barnstormers moved out because of the inadequacy of "The Barn" (as Vets was known during their games) and concert promoters began to bypass Des Moines for other cities.

Vets Auditorium was modernized as part of the Iowa Events Center work. It continues to be used for smaller arena events and exhibitions. The Des Moines skywalk system connects Vets with Wells Fargo Arena, Hy-Vee Hall, and the Polk County Convention Complex.


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