Davenport is hosting what a community leader calls one of the biggest sports weekends in Iowa history.
Joe Taylor, president and CEO of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the bike ride RAGBRAI and the Bix 7 Run are bringing in a combined 30,000 cyclists and runners and tens of thousands of supporters.
A downtown Davenport street fair is also expected to draw large crowds. Taylor says there’s one small wrinkle in the plans.
“The rising river levels from rains a few nights ago in the Dubuque area are forcing some minor changes to the campground, the route and the ‘dip’ site for RAGBRAI but all systems are go,” he says.
Bikers on the seven-day statewide bike ride traditionally dip their front tires in the Mississippi River in the final city, after having dipped their back tires in the Missouri River at the start of the long trek.
Taylor says there are only a few spots where the floodwaters are causing ripples in the big tourism weekend.
He says, “The Quad City Times Bix 7 Run and the downtown Davenport street fest are not impacted in any way by the rising waters so we are planning for a party for around 100,000 people in the Quad Cities and in particular, in downtown Davenport.”
Planning for this weekend, Taylor says, has taken months. “Having 100,000 guests in our community is certainly unprecedented and no one has been able to identify a larger event in Quad Cities history,” he says. “A hundred-thousand people literally doubles the population of Davenport for the day.”
Taylor says next weekend will also be a huge event on the Mississippi riverfront as Davenport hosts the 40th annual Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival.