America's River Festival Wraps Up - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

America's River Festival Wraps Up


America's River Festival in the Port of Dubuque wrapped up Sunday, following what organizers call the biggest concert in the event's nine years.

The classic rock concert, with Starship featuring Mickey Thomas and REO Speedwagon, drew a crowd of more than 7,000 people Saturday night.

The festival site closed at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Among the many who gathered for the final day were two familiar and fuzzy faces. Elmo and the Cookie Monster greeted visitors.

Kid-friendly fun brought Matt Langenberg and his family to the Port of Dubuque.

"We came down to see Cookie Monster and Elmo for the little one here and then the dogs jumping into the water, into the pool," he said, holding his daughter. "We really enjoyed the weather. It's been a beautiful weekend."

Among the giant inflatables, caricature drawings and all the other activity sat a booth for Speak Your Peace, a new awareness-raising campaign through the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.

Jessica Rose, with the foundation, is heading it up.

"It is focusing on these nine tools of civility, and it's bringing it all back to being a more inclusive and welcoming community."

The nine tools of civility include showing respect, listening and taking responsibility. This was the first festival for Speak Your Peace, but it won't be the last.

"The festivals that we're going to be at this summer, it's really starting to talk to the kids about it first and then how that translates back into their parents realizing what these different tools are and how it applies back to them also and just community-wide how we can get it started," Rose said.

The Speak Your Peace campaign is launching a nine-week push in mid-July. Each week, it will focus on a different of the nine tools of civility, ending on September 21, the International Day of Peace. The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque also hopes to have Speak Your Peace in schools this fall.

Friday's concert drew more than 3,500 people to the festival, and Saturday's event saw more than 7,000.

"And the bands, they go right with that," festival coordinator Keith Rahe said. "When they see that, they get enthused, excited. When I heard that from REO last night, they just loved it and they had a lot of fun."

Festival organizers will begin planning next year's event in about a month. They'll be celebrating America's River Festival's 10th year.

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