DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) — The city of Dubuque is welcoming thousands of people this weekend for America’s River Festival, a music event city leaders say has helped Dubuque build its brand of being a fun, viable community.

Travel Dubuque President and CEO Keith Rahe, who also organizes the event, said events like this one help put Dubuque on the map when competition between cities is at an all-time high.

“A lot of communities are looking for people to move in, people to work, different businesses and such, so when you do have a good product and you’re able to showcase it like events like this do, it’s very helpful,” Rahe explained.

The two day music event could draw in anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 people, according to Rahe. Friday night consists of shows from country acts Lindsay Ell, Restless Heart, High Valley and Michael Ray. Saturday is classic rock night with appearances from Night Ranger, John Kay and Steppenwolf and Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo. Saturday afternoon there is also a craft beer event.

Rahe said the event exposes Dubuque to so many people. He said, “this year we’ve got advanced ticket sales from 28 states and over 500 communities so to continue to get that kind of exposure to people, you can’t put a price tag on that. It’s extremely important.”

City of Dubuque Public Information Officer Randy Gehl agrees with Rahe. He said, “that event and others like it bring lots of people to our downtown, to our river front, to our historic Millwork District, lots of those parts of our community where public and private partnerships have really revitalized Dubuque.”

Young professionals are often the demographic cities like to attract. Spencer Bowers is in his third year at Cottingham and Butler, a job he said he knew was a great fit for him.

“Came up here, felt the energy inside the building and just decided that you know this would be a good spot to work at,” Bowers explained.

He’s from Indianola, a suburb of Des Moines. Bowers said he ended up really liking Dubuque.

“It’s got a ton more restaurants than say my hometown, so compared to that I like it a lot,” he said. “It seems like a bigger city feel which is cool.”

According to Bowers, Dubuque does a good job of attracting young people like him through events like America’s River Festival.

“That’s a really good way I think to get people to Dubuque at least to see it and maybe you know consider living here,” he said.

He doesn’t think Dubuque should slow down anytime soon.

“Just keep expanding stuff like that and getting more of the community involved,” Bowers said. “I think that would definitely help keep young professionals specifically in town.”

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