The Mississippi River is getting a little too big for the 52nd annual Great River Days in Muscatine, Iowa.
The river is expected to reach major flood stage just in time for the annual festival this week in Riverfront Park. The event is set to run Wednesday through Sunday.
With less than 48-hours notice, organizers JJ Koehler and Kerry Keller had to search for an alternate location for the event, which includes a carnival, arts and craft fair, three nights of concerts and other attractions and contests.
They reached an agreement Monday with Muscatine Community College to host the Great River Days event in its entirety at the campus in Muscatine. Within two hours, the first carnival rides were arriving to set up and other logistical arrangements being made to move events from Riverfront Park to the college.
While organizers had contingency plans in case of flooding, those plans weren't meant to be implemented in such a short time frame so close to the event date.
"Canceling the event was never an option," Koehler said. "We have been working since Saturday morning to secure a new location off the riverfront for the festival where we have room for all the events, concerts and carnival."\
Muscatine Community College President Jeff Armstrong volunteered the use of the campus parking lots, which are large enough to hold the events as scheduled.
Keller said the owners of Muscatine Mall agreed to let people park there with a shuttle bus running the two blocks between the mall and campus to get people around.
Other details have yet to be announced, but organizers say most of the planned activities will take place as scheduled. Details will be announced through the event website, GreatRiverDays.com as they become available.
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Recreation area still open
Fisherman's Corner Recreation Area remains open, and the free campground program scheduled for Saturday is still on as the Mississippi River continues to rise.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi River Project will have an evening presentation of the book "The Lorax," by Dr. Seuss. Marsha Johnson will present a fun reading of the Dr. Seuss classic at 7 p.m. at Fisherman's Corner Campground Amphitheater on Illinois 84, just north of Hampton, Ill.
For information or updates on river conditions, call (309) 794-5338.