River crests in time for major tourism weekend - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

River crests in time for major tourism weekend

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MCGREGOR (KWWL) -- The rising Mississippi River crested just hours before the McGregor and Marquette area's biggest tourism event of the year.

The river crested around 2 a.m. at just above 19.4 feet, but that was enough to put half the parking lot of McGregor's Beer and Bratz Garden under water.

"One business actually helped [the Beer and Bratz Garden] out here with the walkway so that they could stay open," MarMac police chief Randy Grady said of the restaurant's now-floating entryway.

He and other city officials want to send one message:

"Everybody is open for business," mayor Gay Hallberg said.

The river crested just in time for McGregor's Fall Arts and Crafts Festival and Marquette's Flea Market Under the Bridge.

"We were worried because of the high water with the river, we thought it was going to deter some people from coming down here," Grady said.

The mayor agreed.

"With the times the way they are, we really need these two weekends," Hallberg said.

Busy streets and a bustling festival area showed no signs of low attendance, and city officials say next weekend may be even better.

"We have our great share of leaf- lookers," Hallberg said.

MarMac Chamber of Commerce director Sasha Dull said the cities plan these two major weekends of events around the changing of fall leaves.

"The Iowa DNR estimates northeast Iowa usually peaks around the 10th of October," Dull said, "so we do expect that next weekend will probably be even busier for our festivals and flea market."

Both events continue Sunday and next weekend.

The Mississippi River crested in Guttenberg at 10 a.m. Saturday at nearly 17.5 feet and, as of Saturday evening, the National Weather Service expected the river to crest in Dubuque on Sunday night at just above 20 feet.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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