Are There Too Many Festivals in Dubuque?

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

Crews set up the stage for the Summer's Last Blast festival in Dubuque on Friday, August 23, 2013. (KATIE WIEDEMANN/KCRG-THE GAZETTE)

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By Katie Wiedemann

DUBUQUE, Iowa — Festival season is wrapping up in Dubuque this weekend with two big festivals. “Summer’s Last Blast” is happening under the Town Clock on Main Street in Dubuque & “Irish Hooley” is taking place at the Alliant Energy Amphitheater. The two festivals are among several summer festivals in Dubuque. Some people worry there might be too many.

“Sometimes I think some people might get a little “fested out” because there are so many,” said Mike Bries, who owns the Watershed Cafe.

You can usually find Bries making Pizza in his kitchen. Or chatting it up with his customers. But you won't find him serving food at Summer's Last Blast.

Bries said, "for us to do a festival, we have to make sure it's going to be worth it both in exposure and monetarily. "

The long time restaurant owner says in order to make money, he has to pick and choose festivals because there are so many scheduled each summer.

Summer's Last Blast Organizer Mike Bries said, "it's almost every other weekend now between jazz fest and summer fest and Labor Fest and all the other festivals. It's the place to go and Dubuquer's just say 'it's the weekend. Let's go to the plaza and see what's going on.' "

The Town Clock has been home to "Dubuque and All that Jazz" for the past 22 years. That's scheduled on four Fridays each summer. Organizers say they've seen a drop in attendance since other festivals followed suit.

"The revenue is slightly down from sales on beverages but it is what it is, " said Dubuque Main Street's Laura Bertjens.

As for organizers of Summer's Last Blast, they've been around for 15 years but say they haven't seen a drop in revenue.

They believe many festival goers don't even know which festival is which. They just enjoy being outside with music, beer and food.

"Would I like to see a few of them go? Maybe. But again who are you going to pick and choose. I certainly wouldn't want to pick mine," said Peiffer.

Bands will perform both Friday and Saturday nights at “Summer’s Last Blast”. The rish Hooley takes place Saturday night.

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