Fall Colors Bring Business, Despite Color

BALLTOWN, Iowa (KCRG) This time of year, people are starting to go leaf hunting- not to take them home, but to take in the views. Up in Dubuque County there are plenty of spots people have picked out to get the best look at the foliage.

Due to the wet weather over the past weeks in eastern Iowa, it actually may change the colors on the trees that usually show bright oranges and reds- but it is not slowing things down for businesses that rely on tourism or the dedicated "leafers."

In Balltown, a town with a population of less than 100, it is extraordinarily rare to see a need to direct people where to park, due to high traffic and the number of people coming to the area. Due to the Annual Balltown Street Sales event, it was necessary. People traveled long distances to check out the event, but also check out the scenery.

"We've been doing this for so long, I've had customers here for 40-50 years that have been coming back every year, this time of year," said Mike Breitbach, owner of Breitbach's Country Dining, a staple restaurant in the area.

Marnie Wilkes traveled from Waterloo after seeing the event on Facebook, and thought it was a good chance to see the views, while also looking at what vendors had to offer.

"We thought 'let's take a road trip and check it out and see some scenery,'" Wilkes said.

A few steps down the road from the restaurant, people took pictures and admired the hills and trees from the scenic overlook on the side of the road.

"Oh, it's gorgeous," said Curtis King, who came up from Independence to explore the scenery in northeast Iowa. "It's nice that you can overlook and see so far. I wish the leaves were a little bit more colorful."

Despite the lack of color, it did not effect business or the experience for those who traveled just to look out and admire the view.

"We think the colors are very good right now and hopefully if the weather holds this week they're really going to be good for the next ten days," Breitbach said.

"This is perfect," King said. "The color would be nice if it was more brilliant, but this is still nice. At least the sun's out. That's a big plus."

"Whether it's muted colors like it is this year or more brilliant in other years, but this is God's work behind us and we always have to be thankful for that," Wilkes said.

According to the Iowa DNR, October 13 was the peak day for "leafers" to admire the view in northeast Iowa. Typically the further south, the later the peak foliage date. But for those visiting and in Dubuque County, they are still optimistic those colors will show up in the coming days.