Iowans spending money on entertainment despite economy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowans spending money on entertainment despite economy

By Lauren Squires

DUBUQUE (KWWL) - As winter weather continues to blanket Eastern Iowa. The economy isn't getting any better but these tough times have not stopped us from paying for entertainment.

That is certainly the case in Dubuque. And the winter months are no exception. In fact, you'd be surprised just how many much money people are spending on entertainment.

"I've got a saw and we've got some nice exercise to be out here cutting ice," said Mark Wagner, Director of Visitor Experience at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.

As Wagner cuts ice from the Mississippi, he recalls the history of ice harvesting.

"Very very important industry that was done in Dubuque. Big ice companies came out of the Dubuque area," said Wagner.

But these days, Dubuque is harvesting up a lot more than ice.

"I think people are looking for a diversion to get away from the impending doom of a recession that everyone keeps talking about," said John Sutter, Director of Marketing for the Museum.

Everyone is talking about the economy but people are still flocking to events like this weekend's Ice Fest. The three week event is expected to draw more than 9,000 people.

"But there are a lot of things going on in the winter with the iowa winter games, the eagle watch , the big boy toy show at the grand river center," added Sutter.

Last year alone Dubuque saw 1.6 million visitors; who spent !$253 million.

"That's investing those real dollars, those dollars create jobs in our area and keep our economy going," said Molly Grover, President and CEO of the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce.

Keeping the economy going, without cutting too deep into the pocket book.

Of course those numbers from the Chamber don't include places like movie theaters or ice skating rinks. We'll save that story for another day.

Either way it's proving that in tough times, seeing your favorite team or spending money to have fun, is still a priority.

The Ice Fest kicks off Saturday in Dubuque and runs throughout the end of the month. Other Eastern Iowa cities plan special winter events to boost tourism.

The Cliff Keen Wrestling Classic is going on in Cedar Falls this weekend. Last year it brought almost 16,000 people and $2.7 million to the community.

The Cedar Rapids convention and visitors bureau tells us the Fire and Ice Festival, NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships, and hockey are big winter draws.

Online reporter: Lauren Squires

Powered by Frankly