Iowa July 22, 2018
You Don’t Want To Miss The Midwest’s Most Unique Festival In Iowa This Summer
Iowa’s small towns put on amazing festivals every year, but there’s nothing quite like the Great River Tug Fest. Two sister cities have joined forced to fight for the title of tuggiest town, and the day is filled with food trucks, carnival rides, and fierce tugging competition. This year, the festival runs from Thursday, August 9th (when the carnival opens up) to Sunday, August 11th.
In 1987, the towns of Port Byron, Illinois and Le Claire, Iowa, agreed to have a contest to see which town was, well, better.
They decided to do this by stopping traffic on the Mississippi River and stringing a 2,400 foot long rope across, to each town. Once the rope was laid, the contest began, and Tug Fest was born.
Today, this 32 year old festival is one of the most fun experiences in the entire midwest!
Tuggers from each state train all year in various ways to try to gain the advantage every August.
Year after year, tuggers come together to form teams determined to uphold their state's honor.
Each team is sponsored by a local business and consists of 20 tuggers. The women's team consists of 25, and there are youth teams as well.
There are 11 tug contests throughout the day, and the state with the most victories gets the trophy.
In the past 32 years of competition, Illinois has been a decisive victor, with a final score of 20-11.
As with any good Midwest festival, you can expect plenty of food, beer, and outrageous celebration.
There are always a few tavern teams who really know how to celebrate a victory.
The trophy ceremony is the end of the daytime festival, and Iowa is determined to win that trophy back in 2018.
When night falls, the party moves over to LeClaire, where a carnival and concert caps off the evening.
In the past, local and national acts have put on amazing performances.
Before all is settled for the night, Le Claire kicks off one of the best fireworks shows around.
After a long day of tugging (or cheering!), there's nothing better than relaxing with your loved ones and enjoying a riverfront firework spectacular.
Each day of Tug Fest features tons of food, entertainment, and family fun. The Tug itself runs from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.
The full Tug Fest Schedule can be found right here.
Iowa’s festivals are one of the best parts of a Midwest summer. For more of the best fests in the Hawkeye State, read
The 12 Best Small Town Iowa Festivals You’ve Never Heard Of and plan out your summer fun.