Events bringing large crowds to Cedar Rapids, boosting economy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Events bringing large crowds to Cedar Rapids, boosting economy


Angie Ungs and Mary Rinaldi came to Cedar Rapids for the Downtown Farmers' Market.

"We always like to buy some of the baked goods and sit and eat on the corner and watch the people go by," said Renaldi.

People were going by not just for the market but for many other events going on downtown.

One example, the family-oriented Duck Race which turned into Pluck the Duck due to a fast-moving river.

"We're benefiting several great charities, great organizations, so we want to go ahead and have the event," said Rob Gettemy, Cedar Rapids Daybreak Rotary. "We'll pluck the duck, we'll pull random numbers, and we'll give away those 38 prizes."

Also going on Saturday was the public art project at 2nd Ave. and 3rd St. SE. Painters are creating artwork on the street in the intersection to beautify it.

"When you're standing in the new convention center and you look down Third Street, this is what you're going to see," said Marilee Fowler, Cedar Rapids Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Ungs and Renaldi are glad to see so many different things going on.

"There's a lot of great things happening and I need to make an effort to get down here more," said Ungs.

That's exactly what organizers are hoping for. They want to see people come to these events and then come back to support businesses when there's not a big event going on.

"We're trying to show off downtown," said Doug Neumann, Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. "We're trying to show off the community. Just trying to put on a great event so that they'll come back, also so that they'll just feel proud of Cedar Rapids and what's going on here."

The large crowds help Eastern Iowa vendors, too, whether they're selling fruits and vegetables from the farm or promoting their small-town business at the BBQ & Brew event at NewBo City Market.

"People come in and they buy our sauces," said Jim Bido, Chef at Phat Daddy's in Marengo. "They come out here, they can try them. It draws a lot of business to a small town."

These businesses hope their new customers will become regulars.

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