"My Waterloo Days" organizers feel good about this year's event - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

"My Waterloo Days" organizers feel good about this year's event

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

This year's "My Waterloo Days" Festival is now officially over.  Organizers have said the event's bank account is empty, so lots of changes were made in an effort to revive the festival.  Its successes and shortcomings could determine if "My Waterloo Days" has a future.

A warm Sunday afternoon along the Cedar River was the perfect setting for dozens of dragon boat racers to paddle across the waters.  After the races, the Waterhawks Ski Team performed on the Cedar for the first time in several years.

Organizers say the change of venue for the water events was just part of what they feel contributed to a successful "My Waterloo Days".

"We sure appreciate the support of the community in helping us put this together.  We can put our best efforts into it, and if nobody shows up, it doesn't work.  So we appreciate their support," said Vicky Bjortomt with "My Waterloo Days".

A lot of other changes were made to "My Waterloo Days" this year in hopes of getting that support, in order to bring the festival back into good financial shape.

The parade returned to a Friday night.  The carnival moved to Cattle Congress.

Robin Shatek and her family say finding all the events was a bit confusing, but they've enjoyed the festival and hope it continues.

"We go every year.  I grew up with that," Shatek said.

While overall many are pleased, the four-day festival has had its shares of both highs and lows.   It got off to a soggy start with rain Thursday, causing low attendance.  Saturday night--the opposite problem.  Thousands turned out to the Waterloo Regional Airport for the fireworks and laser show, causing a major traffic jam.

"We tried to go out and went to the lake in North Cedar to watch the fireworks just so we could avoid the traffic," said Shatek.

Organizers say it was an overwhelming response, but a good problem to have.

"We didn't know if people would come to the laser show.  It was a risk on our part, but they did come," Bjortomt said.

"We wanted crowds that big.  We had a great crowd at the expo grounds Friday night, but the crowd we experienced Saturday would've been problematic to include into that space.  It made more sense where it was," said Jeff Kurtz with Main Street Waterloo.

And if the festival made enough money to keep going, there are plenty of things they'll work to improve.  For now, it's too soon to know whether those discussions will even be needed.

Starting Monday, the hard work begins of tallying attendance numbers and paying the bills. Ultimately, that will determine whether the long-standing summer festival has a future.

This is the 31st year for "My Waterloo Days".  The annual event costs about $70,000 to put together.

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