From small-town parades to giant urban sculptures; changing seasons to friendly faces, there's a wide array of reasons why we're proud to call the Midwest home. Check out the following potpourri of 101 shining examples. We know. There are lots more. But we had to stop somewhere.
1. The absolute, unspoiled solitude of the Nebraska Sandhills.
2. The stranger who helps dig you out of a snowdrift.
4. Norton wine. Cheers to the overall growth of Midwest vineyards, and to this product of a Missouri grape, in particular, for the worldwide praise it's won.
5. Low cost of living.
6. Motown. The funky, soulful music style was born in and named for our very own Motor City (a.k.a. Detroit).
7. The Indy 500 -- the world's greatest rev fest.
8. The ethereal swoops and swirls of the Northern Lights.
9. Iowa pork chops.
10. Art festivals. The Art Fair SourceBook annual ranking consistently puts half of the nation's top 10 right here.
11. Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills, South Dakota.
12. Valleys erupted in full fall color set against a clear, blue autumn sky.
13. Big yards for kids to play in.
14. Real people. Real friends.
15. Storytellers, such as Mark Twain, James Thurber, Jean Shepherd, Garrison Keillor and more, skillfully weaving logic and humor into their Midwest-rooted tales.
16. Kansas' Flint Hills -- North America's largest remaining tract of original tallgrass prairie.
17. Potlucks loaded with delicious hotdishes.
18. Not quite the center of the universe, but still impressive: Rugby, North Dakota, is the geographic center of North America.
19. Corn on the cob drenched in golden butter.
20. A notable (and comfortable) lack of pretension.