August festivals take to the water, sky, and land this weekend in the Quad Cities, August 12-14, 2021. From the only tug-of-war across the Mississippi River to giant hot air balloons to Caribbean festivities, the QC welcomes back these popular summer festivals.
Named as one of the 10 most unusual festivals in the country, Tugfest is pulling together the 2021 festival on August 12-14. For the past 34 years, this annual event puts teams against each other from Port Byron, Illinois, and LeClaire, Iowa.
From 12:00-2:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 14, barge traffic, pleasure boats, and paddleboats yield the right of way to a 2,400-foot, 680-pound rope that stretches across the Mississippi River between Illinois and Iowa.
Eleven teams from each side are formed from different organizations to compete. Each team tries to gain an advantage as they tug on the giant rope stretched across the river between LeClaire and Port Byron. The side with the most winning teams takes the Alabaster Eagle in Flight trophy for that year. Currently, Illinois is in the lead with 22 wins over Iowa’s 11.
One of the largest fireworks displays in the two-state area on Friday night sets the tone of excitement for the competition. Tugfest is a family weekend event filled with spectacular carnival rides and amusements, live entertainment all weekend, a huge parade, scenic 5K run/walk for adults and children, food, arts and craft vendors, and children’s games and activities, including a child’s tug-of-war on both LeClaire and Port Byron Riverfronts.
Quad Cities Balloon Festival
The focus on the river shifts to the skies for the Quad Cities Balloon Festival on August 13-14, 2021, on the grounds of the Rhythm City Casino Resort, 7077 Elmore Ave., in Davenport, Iowa.
The free event begins Friday with a balloon launch at 6:00 p.m. to watch the colorful balloons inflate and fly. Then enjoy a Night Glow around 7:45 p.m. when the tethered balloons’ colors light up in the night. On Saturday evening, the balloons again launch at 6:00 p.m. and then return to the field for a Night Glow at 7:45 p.m. Seeing a Night Glow is truly a unique experience. You can come up close to these gentle giants, take pictures, and talk to the pilots during the Glow.
Admission is free, and an item for the Quad City Animal Welfare Center is appreciated. For more information, visit www.quadcitiesballoonfestival.com.
Ya Maka My Weekend
The Quad Cities turns tropical for Ya Maka My Weekend on Saturday, August 14, in downtown Rock Island, Illinois, as the city transforms into a tropical paradise for the night with reggae and steel drum music from five different bands, Caribbean cuisine, and a market offering authentic island wares.
Take a ride on the 220-foot zipline through the concrete jungle. Gates open at 4 p.m. Tickets are $10, children under 12 are free. For more information, visit www.downtownrockisland.org.
The Quad Cities is a family of communities located on the Mississippi River. The area is easily accessible via I-80, I-74, I-88 and several major state highways. For more information, visit www.visitquadcities.com or call 800-747-7800.