Bald Eagle Appreciation Days is one of Keokuk's biggest money makers. Executive Director of the Keokuk Area Convention and Tourism Bureau Kirk Brandenberger said it was a successful weekend, both for the event and for the local businesses.
Brandenberger said 7,000 tourists flocked to Keokuk for Bald Eagle Appreciation days on Saturday alone, from nearby places, like St. Louis, and others from as far away as China. They came hoping to catch a glimpse of the majestic birds that can often be seen soaring through the sky this time of year.
"The eagles. The nature. We want to learn more about American nature and the different animals," said Emily Xu and Isabella Li.
The event started 29 years ago as a way to showcase the endangered birds.
"The eagles were in danger and they wanted to bring awareness to the eagle problem," said Brandenberger.
Since then, the event has grown significantly and Brandenberger said this weekend isn't the city's biggest event, but gives the city a boost in the winter.
"This weekend brings a lot of revenue into town that's normally slow. In other words it would just be a sleepy weekend and it brings a lot of activity," said Brandenberger.
Brandenberger said the high turnout helps local business.
"It is a boost for the hotels, gas stations, restaurants," said Brandenberger.
Waitress Brenda Huntington has waited tables at River City Restaurant in downtown Keokuk for 20 years, and said she thinks they will be slammed this weekend.
"It'll be a lot busier yeah. It's a very busy weekend," said Huntington.
Huntington said the crowds keep coming until the event ends on Sunday.
"Just like all day. In and out," said Huntington.
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300 Main Street
(All exhibits open Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.)
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