Tickets go on sale today (Friday) for what’s being billed as the largest flotilla on the Mississippi River in more than a century. Event spokeswoman Jean Freidl says the Grand Excursion’s 10-day Grand Flotilla event has much to offer sight-seers, adventurers and history buffs. She says there are 16 different ports and they’ll offer port cruises for a couple hours, day-to-day excursions or the full cruise from Saint Louis to Saint Paul. Freidl says 70,000 tickets are available for the various cruises. The event begins June 25th of 2004 in the Quad Cities and ends in the Twin Cities on July 4th. Freidl says it’s a re-creation of an 1854 publicity tour during which some 12-hundred people from the East Coast came to celebrate the connection of the railroad to the river. She says the area above the Mississippi was largely unsettled and relatively unexplored up until that point, so they boarded flotilla boats to show these folks what the possibilities were in this incredibly fertile and beautiful land in the heart of America. Freidl says during the excursion, many towns along the river will hold community showcases. Dubuque is opening the new Mississippi River Museum, the Quad Cities is holding a Buffalo Bill Days event with covered wagons, horse-drawn buggies and such. Tickets are available today to Grand Excursion Navigator club members. Tickets for the general public will be available September 14th. For details, call 866-439-2004 or surf to “”.