Big bucks roll into Dubuque as the leaves start to turn - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Big bucks roll into Dubuque as the leaves start to turn

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

It's Vicki Ruby's first time in Dubuque.

She's on the Spirit of Dubuque for a blustery lunchtime cruise up and down the Mississippi River.

"We've heard about it for years and just thought it was time to come out," she said.

She's celebrating her birthday and hoping to see changing leaves along the river.  But today, it's not to be.

"The colors, we're probably a little early for that, but we're still having a good day," she said.

Despite the fact that the trees along the river remain mostly green, she's still in Dubuque, spending money on the local economy.

Fall is a big tourist draw for the area, and October especially, is a big driver of that.

"Because of the wonderful land we have around here, the hills, the bluffs, and the trees changing colors, really makes a difference in bringing people to the area," said John Sutter with the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.

For a full look at Iowa's fall colors update, visit http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/Forestry/ForestryLinksPublications/FallColor.aspx.

And while the Spirit of Dubuque and other excursion boats are taking advantage of the changing leaves, Schuster's Pumpkin Patch is taking advantage of another key driver of fall tourism in Dubuque: agrotourism.

Pam Schuster has been in business for 16 years, selling pumpkins, sending people through corn mazes and now, letting people shoot the ever popular pumpkin shooter.

An average weekend for her sees somewhere between 300-500 people come through.  But with a weather forecast predicting temperatures in the 80's on Sunday, she says they could see even more this weekend.

"You know what, the weather can make or break ya when you're in a business like this.," she said. "When you have outside activities like this, the weather can make or break ya. And we have had real good luck with weather this year and past, we have had actually really nice fall weather."

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