An annual Labor Day-weekend tradition blasts into the District of Rock Island in this year's Xstream Rock Island Grand Prix, the September 1 and 2 event in which thousands will cheer as hundreds of racing kart drivers traverse the tree-lined streets at speeds close to 100 MPH.

Called “hilarious and sharp-spoken” by The Huffington Post, and described by BookStr.com as a poet who “has taken no small steps toward proving her brilliance, strength, resilience, and power,” author, activist, and spoken-word artist Olivia Gatwood headlines a special engagement at Davenport's The Stardust on August 31, her recent release New American Best Friend lauded by Thought Catalogue as “the book I wish I had as a teenage girl.”

Presented at Moline's Black Box Theatre in the style of a radio play complete with live music, sound effects, and actors with scripts in hand, three new episodes of the locally produced podcast All You Care to Eat will be performed by the area troupe Comedy Thingy on August 25 and taped in front of a live “studio” audience.

More than two dozen local, regional, and national comedians will be bringing the funny to this year's Alternating Currents festival, with August 24 and 25 standup sets – plus one hilariously awful movie – scheduled to make patrons roar with laughter at four venues in downtown Davenport.

Two venues in downtown Rock Island will co-host one exciting literary event when the Midwest Writing Center presents readings and a release party for the annual literary magazine THE ATLAS, the latest volume of which will, on August 15, be showcased in a late-afternoon event at the Rock Island Public Library and an evening celebration at the neighboring Rozz-Tox.

An Emmy-winning, Grammy-nominated comedian will make a rare area visit to the TaxSlayer Center on August 15, with the Moline venue presenting an evening with film, television, and standup star Jim Gaffigan, the bestselling author and multi-platinum-selling artist appearing in the latest stop on his acclaimed “The Fixer Upper Tour.”

A day of outdoor fun culminating in an attempt to break a pair of Guinness World Records is set for August 18, when River Action hosts the annual celebration of paddle sports s Floatzilla, with participants and spectators gathering at Rock Island's Sunset Park to see if the Quad Cities can boast the world's “Largest Raft of Canoes and Kayaks” and “Largest Simultaneous Kayak Launch.”

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.

Described by Broadway World as “a very unique and original concept devised by a very creative imagination,” YouTube sensation Miranda Sings – the fictional creation of actor/comedian Colleen Balinger – strides upon the Adler Theatre stage in the August 4 touring presentation Miranda Sings Live, a blend of gut-busting comedy and intentionally terrible singing that Real Detroit Weekly called “delightfully hilarious” and that the Irish Independent praised for its “endearing sweetness.”

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