In 1992, the District of Rock Island hosted its very first outdoor festival with the debut of its Caribbean-themed celebration Ya Maka My Weekend. Twenty-six years later, the District's longest-running annual tradition will continue with the 2018 Ya Maka My Weekend on August 11, an event boasting a marketplace, arts and crafts vendors, ehtnic food of all flavors, and concert sets by four sizzling ensembles of musicians.

Performing blues, folk, country, and Americana music that, according to NPR, “evokes the old-timey spirit of a thousand crackling 78 RPM records” whose “energy makes them feel new and alive,” Midwestern singer/songwriter Pokey LaFarge plays an August 9 Moeller Nights concert at Maquoketa's Codfish Hollow Barn, the artist's most recent album Manic Revelations described by Paste magazine as “all sass and swagger, with plenty of juke-jump energy to spare.”

Winner of three 2009 Tony Awards and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the wildly acclaimed Broadway hit Next to Normal receives its debut staging at Moline's Black Box Theatre August 9 through 18, the New York Times raving that this pop/rock musical “throbs with an emotional intensity” and “is steeped in an inescapable, aching compassion for people crippled by pain.”

From August 9 through 11, an eagerly awaited summertime tradition will take place both on and in between the LeClaire and Port Byron Levees, as the 32nd Annual Great River Tug Fest delivers outdoor family fun with carnival attractions, live music, arts and crafts vendors, fireworks displays, and the hotly anticipated tug-of-war over the Mississippi River.

Those who love dinosaurs and all things Mesozoic will be in Putnam Museum paradise when the venue welcomes families to the August 10 through 12 celebration Dino Days – three afternoons of dinosaur-related information and entertainment that are sure to delight even those who can't distinguish a triceratops from a T. rex.

Presented as part of the venue's examination of Mexican artists during the display of its Rufino Tamayo exhibition, the Figge Art Museum hosts a lecture on Mexican modernist photography with noted scholar Dr. Monica Bravo, an assistant professor in History and Theory of Photographic Media at California College of the Arts and a lecturer in History of Art and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration at Yale University.

Delivering what Glide magazine called “a night of superb musicianship capable of time travel and otherworldliness,” acclaimed drummer Kofi Baker, son of legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker, brings his three-man ensemble to the Redstone Room on August 10, his Kofi Baker's Psychedelic Trip trio reinventing the music of Cream and inspiring MusicEnthusiast.net to rave, “Across the board, these guys nail the sound and the feel without – and this is important – seeming like some Las Vegas tribute band. They're the real deal.”

A two-time winner of Nashville Scene's citation for “Best Local Album,” pop singer/songwriter Tristen serves as the latest visiting artist in the Moeller Nights series, her most recent album Sneaker Waves described by NPR as a work that “abounds in toothsome melodies and glistening layers of guitar and synth” as the artist herself “bears quietly lacerating witness to vulnerability.”

Headlining a two-day music festival at the Codfish Hollow Barn, the South Carolina-based ensemble SUSTO brings its Americana and alt-country stylings to Maquoketa on August 10 and 11, the artists' Fine 2Day Fest demonstrating the skills that led SoundingBoardBlog.com to rave, “The band brings a level of passion and thoughtfulness to their performance, and the way they play engulfs your attention and resonates a sense of authenticity. You can see how this is one of those bands who truly love to play music.”

An intimidating green ogre, a feisty pricess, a wisecracking donkey, a diminutive tyrant, an ambulatory gingerbread man, and other fantastical figures take over Moline's Prospect Park Auditorium when Quad City Musis Guild presents its August 3 through 12 run of Shrek: The Musical, the Tony Award-winning fairytale slapstick based on the Oscar-winning animated smash, and a show USA Today called “a triumph of comic imagination with a heart as big and warm as Santa's.”

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