The annual Tug Fest — a unique 3-day event unlike any other festival in the nation — will run August 11-13, 2022. This year’s theme is “Mardi Gras – Beads and Boots” and the Tug-for-a-Cause beneficiary is the 9/11 Memorial at the LeClaire Fire Department.
Tug Fest hosts live bands, carnival rides, great food, a grand parade, 5K run and the greatest fireworks spectacular in the two-state area, according to a LeClaire tourism release Wednesday. “What makes Tug Fest truly unique is the fact that it is the only Tug-of-War event in the country between two states and the only event that closes the Mississippi River,” the release says.
On August 13th from 12:30-3 p.m., boat traffic yields the right of way to a 2,700-foot long, 680-pound rope that stretches across the river between the two towns. Eleven teams from each side are pitted against each other trying to gain advantage by pulling in the most feet of rope within 3 minutes. The town with the most winning teams takes the coveted Alabaster Eagle trophy and bragging rights for that year.
In 2021, the Illinois side won, putting Port Byron ahead 23-11 over the history of the tug.
Tug Fest has been going steady for 35 years with each year’s competition between Iowa and Illinois tuggers getting more intense, Wednesday’s release said. This year’s festival kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 11th with Family Night, FREE admission to all, live entertainment from Ky & Ty (and the other guy) and a Bags Tournament.
Friday, Aug. 12th will host our grand parade, fireworks spectacular and live music performed by North of 40. Saturday, Aug. 13th is Tug Day with a children’s tug at 10:30 a.m. and the main Tug at 12:30 p.m., followed by live entertainment by Haphazard at 4 and Soul Storm at 8 p.m.