For the second year, the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau has packaged a handful of major events and festivals together into one big Quad Cities Marathon weekend. In addition to the marathon itself on Sunday morning, the Riverssance Festival of Fine Arts (Saturday and Sunday), MidCoast Fine Arts' Gallery Hop! (Friday), and WQPT's Brew Ha Ha (Saturday) are all packed into the same weekend. Also associated with the marathon are a kick-off party on Friday night, a Celebration Belle Marathon Cruise (Saturday afternoon), and a Health & Fitness Expo on Saturday.
When the Convention & Visitors Bureau took over the marathon last year, it worked with the organizers of other events to schedule and cross-promote them.
The effort was successful, said Jennifer Fowler, executive director of The District of Rock Island, which hosts the Gallery Hop! Last year, she said, "several of the artists who were at Riverssance came over [to the gallery hop] on Friday night," she said.
"Cross-promotion never hurts," said Charlotte Doehler, vice president of marketing and communications for the Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Everybody benefits."
She added that the package of weekend events is a rare opportunity for her organization. "It combines all the cities in the Quad Cities," she said. "That's exciting for us. We're one of the few entitities that sells the Quad Cities as one entity."
The Gallery Hop! event, from 5 to 10 p.m. in The District, continues to grow. In May, artists were featured both in galleries and on the Great River Plaza. This hop will spread 17 street-level artists over a greater area, essentially connecting 15 different galleries and art sites.
The event will also feature the musicians from River Prairie Minstrels at seven different locations throughout the district, as well as Intensity! on the Fountain Stage.
Gallery Hop! will also give visitors the opportunity to see the nearly completed loft apartments in the Goldman building. Residents are scheduled to move into the 28 apartments at the end of the month. Visitors can also visit the future site of the Cynthus 2 Gallery and the MidCoast Fine Arts Gallery West on the first floor of the Goldman building.
Fowler said last week's attacks in New York and Washington didn't alter the scope of the gallery hop. "This is one way for people to get out and be in the community," Fowler said.
Also on Friday night will be a Marathon Kick-Off Party at Finney's Bar & Grill in the John Deere Commons from 5 to 10 p.m. Fowler said she's not concerned that the event will be held at the same time as the gallery hop: "There's definitely room for both," she said.
Riverssance runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday in Lindsay Park in the Village of East Davenport, featuring more than 120 artists from 11 states and Canada, with works ranging from jewelry to paintings to sculpture. There will also be plenty of live music and food. The entertainment lineup features Ken Kline, John Gere, Dalziel, and Tim's Hooligans on Saturday and Kraig Kenning, Iowa City's Orquesta de Jazz y Salsa Alto Maiz, and folk artist Peter Mayer on Sunday. There's also a hands-on children's art tent to keep the kids happy. Admission is $1.
Art of a different sort will be celebrated on Saturday at WQPT's Brew Ha Ha, held for the first time in LeClaire Park, from noon to 5 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to sample more than 100 craft brews from around the country while be entertained by bands Listen, the Anachronistics, and Rock Grass, along with the comedians of Comedy Sportz. Also new to the event's second year are food vendors, miniature golf, and caricature artists. "The whole event is much larger," said Lora Adam's WQPT's marketing director. Tickets to Brew Ha Ha are $10 and $25. Proceeds benefit public television.
The Celebration Belle Marathon Cruise will run from 3:15 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and runners registered for the marathon can ride for free. For the rest of us, the cost is $9.
Of course, all this beer-sampling, eating, art-buying, river-watching, and music-listening doesn't have much to do with running a marathon. The event around which all other things circle starts at 7:30 a.m. Sunday at the John Deere Commons in Moline. The fourth annual Quad Cities Marathon runs through five cities and two states and crosses three bridges. A variety of other races also kick off at 7:30 a.m., and kids can get into the act with Micro-Marathon Fun Runs Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
Saturday also features three events geared toward runners at the Isle of Capri Convention Center: the Palmer Chiropractic Symposium (1 p.m.), Ora Health & Fitness Expo (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.), and the Fazoli's Pasta Party (5 to 8 p.m.).
For full details on the marathon and these related events, visit (http://www.qcmarathon.org).