This year could make or break "My Waterloo Days" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

This year could make or break "My Waterloo Days"


Just two weeks from Thursday, the 31st annual "My Waterloo Days" festival will kick off.  This year, a whole new team of organizers is in charge.  And it could be a make or break year for the long-standing festival.

Organizers are pouring a lot of time and energy into making "My Waterloo Days" a success. Part of that means fully utilizing downtown Waterloo, including Lincoln Park, the River Loop Expo, and the new boat house on the Cedar River.

Organizers admit the festival's broke.  So without good attendance this year, the future of the event is very much in jeopardy.

From carnival rides to dragon boat races, "My Waterloo Days" is a long-standing summer tradition. But it's struggling to survive.

"There's nobody in the winds with a pot of gold making this happen.  It's through the hard work of the people that live here," said Vicky Bjortomt, My Waterloo Days director.

So organizers are pulling out all the stops this year, hoping to give  "My Waterloo Days" new life. 

"We're going back to the park for 'People in the Park'.  And we're going back to a night time parade.  We're back to the laser and fireworks show at the Waterloo Regional Airport.  Then we're going back to the Cedar River with the dragon boats and the Waterhawks.  We have a new dam, new boat house, and we want to showcase those areas of our town," said Bjortomt.

The festival costs around $70,000 to put on.  And with no money in the bank, the community's support is needed now more than ever to keep the festival afloat for years to come

"It's the memories that we create.  And we've had a lot of positive response about, oh, they're so happy we're bringing back all this stuff.  So hopefully they'll come and support it," Bjortomt said.

The festival runs May 31-June 3 in downtown Waterloo.  Of course the weather will play a big role in how many people turn out, so organizers are hoping for a streak of beautiful days.

Buttons for admission are just two dollars in advance, or four bucks at the gate.  Starting next week, you can buy them at Waterloo Hy-Vee stores, Hometown Foods, Jim Lind's service station, and Midwest One Bank.

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