McGregor, Marquette offer variety of activities first two weekends in October

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Father and son Dan and Danny Tesar will provide their “fire and steel” blacksmith demonstrations in McGregor on Saturday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 12. It’s just one of the activities Marquette and McGregor will have to offer the first two weekends of October. (North Iowa Times file photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Spend the first two weekends of October in Marquette and McGregor. The two communities are offering a variety of activities for the whole family, starting with the return of the Great River Road - Road Race (GRRRR) on Saturday, Oct. 5.

The moderately difficult out and back 5K and 10K races will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Pikes Peak State Park near McGregor, follow Pikes Peak Road, then head south on the Great River Road. Walkers are also welcome. A kids fun run will also be included in the event too.

GRRRR is a chip-timed event. Prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place in different age categories, as well as to the best overall male and female participants in the 5K and 10K. 

All runners and walkers will receive a long-sleeve shirt, goodie bag from local sponsors and a complimentary ticket to the traditional GRRRR breakfast of pancakes with chicken gravy. If chicken gravy is not to your liking, butter and syrup will also be available. For a free will donation, family and friends can enjoy the unique menu too. The breakfast will begin in the Pikes Peak shelter at 8:30 a.m. and continue until 10:30 a.m. Proceeds from this portion of the event will go toward adding a splash pad at McGregor’s Turner Park.

People can sign up for GRRRR now at https://is.gd/greatriverroadroadrace. Registration forms can also be printed from the site and turned in, or picked up at the McGregor-Marquette Chamber of Commerce office, 146 Main St., McGregor, or McGregor City Hall, 416 Main St. Race-day registration will be available.

The McGregor-Marquette Chamber of Commerce is coordinating GRRRR with help from local volunteers, and, aside from the breakfast, will receive the event proceeds.

After the GRRRR races and pancake breakfast wrap up, the fun will continue in Marquette, McGregor and Prairie du Chien with the GRRRR Crawl and Poker Run. 

People can participate for a small fee by picking up a wristband at the chamber office in McGregor or at any participating business (Backwoods Bar and Grill, Old Man River, Pocket City Pub, McGregor’s Beer and Bratz, Steve’s Silver Dollar, Riverview Inn, Latino’s, Josie’s River Queen, Maggie’s Diner, By the Spoonful, Marquette Bar and Cafe and The Local Oven.) All GRRRR entrants will snag a complimentary wristband with their registration. Each wristband will come with a “passport” that notes each stop.

GRRRR Crawl participants will receive a free sample of an Iowa beer offered at each establishment. They will also be eligible for food specials at each place.

Pick up a playing card at every location, and use the cards to make your best poker hand. Turn in the hand at the end of the night for a chance to win $100 in chamber bucks.

The GRRRR Crawl and Poker Run will begin at noon and run through closing time.

Oct. 5-6 also marks the annual Fall Arts and Crafts Festival. Over 30 unique vendors will be set up around Triangle Park and in the Backwoods event center, selling everything from glassware, cards and jewelry to primitives, woodworking and handmade purses. The American Legion will have its famous brat stand open. While you’re strolling downtown, listen to live music. A bounce house and face painting will be available for the kids, and, on Sunday, carriage rides will be offered.

The Left Bank Shop and Gallery, located across the street from Triangle Park, will sponsor live artist demonstrations. On Friday, Oct. 4, Elizabeth Long will give lessons on steampunk jewelry making. Saturday, the highlight will be father and son Dan and Danny Tesar, who will share their “fire and steel” blacksmithing demo.

For the second year in a row, The Left Bank will also hold a chair auction. Decorated by exhibiting artists, the colorful chairs can be bid on via silent auction through the second weekend in October. Proceeds will benefit art programming at The Left Bank.

When you’re done in McGregor, head over to Marquette for the Flea Market Under the Bridge. Find a variety of arts, crafts and collectibles, and stop for a bite to eat at the food stand in the park.

The Driftless Area Wetlands Centre will host the annual HawkWatch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The day will include live bird programs, bird migration viewing, live raptor releases and hands-on educational activities. At 7 p.m., Big Blue Sky will perform.

Events in the two communities will continue Oct. 12-13. Vendors will be back in Triangle Park and in the Backwoods event center for the Leaf Arts and Crafts Festival. Visitors can also enjoy the Legion brat stand, live music, a bounce house and face painting and more artistic demonstrations. Saturday will feature carriage rides and dance performances.

Marquette’s Flea Market Under the Bridge will still be in full swing, again offering arts, crafts and collectibles.

“Everyone has pulled together and done their part to make the weekends great,” said Ashley Kishman, executive director of the McGregor-Marquette Chamber. 

For a full listing of local events and attractions, visit www.mcgreg-marq.org or follow “McGregor-Marquette, Iowa” on Facebook and Instagram.

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