Tourists head to Tree Town

FOREST CITY, Iowa - Anticipation is growing as some of the nation’s top country stars prepare to take the stage and light up north Iowa.

When Gary Dewarrd envisioned putting together a music festival in small town Forest City, he always believed he could get a lot of people involved, but chances are he didn’t have all this in mind.

“It’s pretty amazing I mean we will double or triple the size of the town over the course of a weekend with people,” said Gary DeWaard, Co-Founder and General Manager for Tree Town Music Festival.

With more than 30 vendors and over 6,000 visitors expected to take Forest City by storm, Gary hopes to bring well-deserved tourism dollars to local companies taking part in the event.

“The most important part of it was the community aspect. We want to do something in our community to grow the community and get the name out there for Forest City. With Tree Town, it was Forest City’s nickname and it sounded right with the festival,” said DeWaard.

Campgrounds have been created for the hundreds of campers expected to make Heritage Park grounds home for the next three days.

Which Gary says will no doubt help promote tourism through the city.

“The camping is so important that we have the campground here and that Winnebago Outdoors is one of our sponsors because were hosting several thousand people over the course of the weekend so they’re staying in Forest City from basically this morning in fact we had some check in last night,” said DeWaard.

According to Laurie Serie, Backstage Manager for talent, it’s not just the fans excited for the jam-packed weekend.

“Some of them have played The Surf Ballroom through the years a long time ago but they’re also excited about the event. We’ve been sending pictures to managers. Sending them over to Toby’s people and the other artists. So they’re real excited,” said Serie.

The three-day event may be the first of it’s kind in Forest City, but with continuing support from the community, something tells Gary, it won’t be the last.

Winnebago County residents are also asked to stop by the Economic Development booth this weekend to browse the job opportunities in the area.

Gary says it just another way to make sure this event is focused on the community first.

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