WINONA, Minn. (KTTC)-- Steamboat Days welcomed visitors to bluff country for its 67th year on Wednesday. The annual Winona tradition is as much a part of the city as the bluffs or river that surrounds it.
"It's one time a year when people who've moved away from Winona, a lot of them take vacation to come back to Winona," said Matt Niemeyer, Winona Steamboat Days President.
The city's feature festival celebrates a time in Winona's history when steamboats brought people and business from all over the world to Minnesota's "Island City" on the Mississippi. Once again, the river is bringing tens of thousands of people to the area for a weekend of summer festivities.
"I think it goes back to the history of the river and the fact that the steamboats years ago traveled in and out of the community," said John Hale of Winona. Hale and his wife, Margaret, have been coming to Steamboat Days for more than 20 years.
"I think it's being on the river, being among the bluffs," said Laura Stussy. "It's a small enough community you kind of know everybody. It's just fun."
New to the five day event is a water performance by the Twin Cities River Rats Water Skiers on Saturday. The weekend's other events include a popular car show, sports tournaments, live music, fishing contests, "grande" parade and theatre presentations of "Seussical." The carnival closes Monday.
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