CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- It’s 15 days and counting to the kickoff of the first-ever NewBo Evolve festival in Cedar Rapids. And organizers are fine tuning some of the details as opening day, August 3rd, draws near.
Aaron McCreight, president of Go Cedar Rapids, says lining up hundreds of volunteers remains one of the top jobs on the two-weeks-to-go list. That’s followed by finalizing where thousands of participants will park and encouraging most to ride free shuttle buses to the event site.
Go Cedar Rapids leaders won’t say how many tickets they’ve sold to the concerts, with headliners Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson, but McCreight called sales “good.”
He says they still need at least 200 more volunteers to make sure the event runs smoothly and people have a good time.
“I think the call out for RAGBRAI (in 2012) was 700. So we’re a little less than half that. And the response has been phenomenal. In the first 24 hours, we filled almost 30 percent of those spots,” McCreight said.
Volunteers are being coordinated through United Way of East Central Iowa volunteer dashboard and the Go Cedar Rapids website.
McCreight is estimating 30,000 to 50,000 people as the likely total attendance over the three day event.
During peak times, he expects crowds similar to those seen during the Market After Dark events in downtown Cedar Rapids with 20,000 to 30,000 people on hand at any one time.
Coordinators will have three free shuttle drop off points near the events. Details aren’t finalized yet on what people can hop on the shuttles but it will likely center around the downtown parkades.
As a first time event, a lot of NewBo and Czech Village merchants aren’t sure about the impact on businesses.
Will a big crowd mean lots of extra business or will it be a crowd that simply replaces some of the regular customers—or perhaps a bit or both.
Lou Thompson, owner of the Village Meat Market in Cedar Rapids, is expect some people to stop by on the way to the event. But she’s not expecting a real rush.
“We’re going to get trickle down like we do in all the events. I’ll beef up a little bit but not too much,” Thompson said.