Thursday, August 9, through Saturday, August 11
LeClaire IA and Port Byron IL Levees
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.
The Great River Tug Fest began in 1987, with 10 20-member tug teams pulling with all of their strength on a 2,700-foot, 680-pound rope that spanned the Mississippi between LeClaire, Iowa, and Port Byron, Illinois. Each year since, teams have competed to see which state will claim the festival's alabaster statue of a bald eagle in flight, and on an annual basis, as many as 35,000 people have come to the levees to view the only tug-of-war held across the longest river in the United States. This local tradition has been featured in numerous travel and vacation magazines, as well as on several television programs, including The Montel Williams Show and the Discovery Channel's Wreakreation Nation.
In addition to the bi-state tug-of-war itself – scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 11 – the Great River Tug Fest will feature carnivals at both the LeClaire and Port Byron levees complete with rides, games, food and beverage vendors, and children's activities. In LeClaire, the live-music performances include sets with Bobby Ray Bunch (7 p.m. Thursday), North of 40 (7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday), QC Rock Academy (4 p.m. Saturday), and The Brat Pack (8:30 p.m. Saturday). Port Byron's live music features concerts with the Dirt Road Rockers (7:30 p.m. Friday), Tomb (10 p.m. Friday), The Binjers (6 p.m. Saturday), and Electric Shock (10 p.m. Saturday). And both levees will also boast additional events and attractions, with LeClaire hosting bingo games, a superhero-themed parade, a 5K run/walk, and an arm-wrestling tournament, and Port Byron featuring a petting zoo, a pancake breakfast, a bags tournament, and the annual Prince & Princess Pageant.