Wednesday was a true test for the validity of the Fourth of July festival in Clinton.
It was hot. And I know it's July in Iowa and we should expect some heat, but with heat indexes over 100 for the majority of the late morning/afternoon, even Wednesday felt a little different than your typical Iowa summer day.
Despite all the challenges that came with it, there were still hundreds of people lining the parade route, with many of them converging to the park following the action. And once evening came, a packed Ashford University stadium concluded the festivities.
The festival is in its seventh year, and for all of the excuses that surfaced as to why Riverboat Days disappeared almost a decade ago, it doesn't seem to hamper this now annual event.
People are still looking for ways to celebrate the Fourth of July, even if it falls mid-week and the outdoors feels like a sauna.
What helps the festival draw such a large crowd each year is the event's diversity.
People can come to the riverfront in the morning to catch several different events, like Wiffle ball, grass volleyball and bags, and many will stay for the parade.
In-between, the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre offers a children's program that caters to the arts/youth community. And the festival has enough children's activities to keep any youngster busy, while also providing food and music for adults.
And when that's over, usually the best attended LumberKings of the season allows everyone to convene one last time before the fireworks shoot off. This year was a little late thanks to a power outage that held up action, but the stadium and riverfront were still packed well past 10 p.m.
Throughout the day, it's not hard to figure out why this event maintains success, even when sweat never stops pouring off your forehead. Volunteers, clad in specifically designed T-shirts, are everyone.
They're helping run the parade, organizing events and being a source for people to just ask questions.
All of the organizers and volunteers should be commended, because they're not only giving up their holiday for the event, they're also giving up plenty of time beforehand in actually putting this entire thing together.
The event is a great success story in recent years in Clinton. One long-time event stopped, so the community rose up to offer something new. And now that new event isn't so new anymore, but it still has a fresh take and offers a nice community event that thousands support.
Now, hopefully organizers can take a slight breather before readying for the 2019 version.
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor of the Clinton Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @ScottLevineCH on Twitter.