The Grand River Excursion continues to steam up the Mississippi, recreating a voyage first put together in 1854 to promote travel in the Louisiana Purchase and the completion of a railroad through the region. Today the flotilla of riverboats sailed past waving crowds in Clinton, headed for Dubuque before the end of the day. Tomorrow it’ll arrive in Guttenberg, where M-J Smith is a volunteer. There’ll be a dinner cruise and a moonlight cruise, for people who want a ride on the boat out on the river between Guttenberg and Cassville, Wisconsin. The local German band will provide live music. A big limestone warehouse building’s been restored to serve as a riverfront inn, featuring the city’s pearl-button history and a display by commercial fishermen. Smith says the big river still shapes the way Guttenberg looks at the world. Guttenberg has the largest riverfront walkway on the upper Mississippi, all the way from the D-N-R boat ramp to the Great River Road and Bussey Lake. Smith says tourism’s an important part of the economy and it’s expected to be on the rise this summer in the riverside communities. Guttenberg is the last Iowa stop on the cruise of riverboats, which arrive Saturday in the Twin Cities.
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