Consider this your front row ticket to the greatest fashion around!
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend America’s River Festival in Dubuque, Iowa. And since it’s such a short jaunt from my house, I made it into a day trip!
I’ve been to Dubuque a lot in my life but it’s always changing and I’ve almost never done the same thing twice. This trip was no exception, especially because of the once-in-a-lifetime concert featuring three legends of 1980s music.
Keep reading for outfit details and to get tips for your own day trip to Dubuque!
What I Wore
My outfit inspiration came from Pat Benatar herself circa 1980-something. She was often in slinky garments and could rock an animal print like nobodies business.
My search for the perfect garment led me to online consignment store thredUP, where I bought this leopard print maxi with high slits. It was a great choice for the humid summer weather! We did have an emergency run to Hartig’s to buy a sewing kit when the slit started unraveling. Thank goodness drug stores are on every corner in the Midwest!
I accessorized my look with a “heart breaker” pin, pork pie hat, moto jacket, red lipstick, and a bum bag. Because nothing says you’re a tourists like a bum bag, amirite?
👗 WHAT I’M WEARING 💄
thredUP dress, paid with shop credit (shop similar dress) | ASOS pork pie hat, paid with gift card (shop exact hat) | Thrifted bum bag, $1 (shop similar bag) | Old Walmart broken heart pin, $1 (shop similar pin) | Lulu’s sandals, $19 (shop exact shoes) | Sephora lipstick in Belly-dancing (shop exact lipstick)
🛍 SHOP MY LOOK 🛍
Where I Went
Our main objective was secondhand stores and free happenings, both of which were sparse in the downtown district but here’s how we made it work:
• Art Wall Crawl. I was in heaven with all the colorful murals! There are too many to list (though Travel Dubuque has a great round-up) but I definitely want to go back and take more pictures in the near future. Totes Instagram-worthy! And free! (All outfit pictures in this post were taken in front of multiple walls within a few blocks of one another.)
• Watershed Cafe. I’m normally an adventurous eater but my recent dietary needs have really put a cramp on my vaca eating habits. I did a bunch of research beforehand and came across Watershed Cafe that had a few options for me.
Afterwards, we popped into the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquariam (it was one of the few air conditioned buildings in town) and learned they had a small food court with some healthy options. I’m definitely keeping that in mind for next time because their atmosphere trumped the cafe by a lot!!
• Dubuque Missions Thrift Store. This is one of the few things I’m familiar with as I’ve been there a couple times before. I appreciate how charitable this store is but the location itself leaves much to be desired. While it’s arranged by item type, it crams too much into it’s tiny building. Walking through feels very treacherous and I wouldn’t say it’s handicap accessible, which is unfortunate as that’s who it’s there to help.
I did pick up a few things on my visit as they were running a couple $1 specials when I was there. You’ll see them in my June thrift haul at the end of the month!
• Curious Goods Thrift Store. I seem to recall more thrift stores in the downtown area but I guess most have closed since I was last there. But I did come across Curious Goods thrift store in an obscure neighborhood and was happy with it. It featured an organized selection of both old, collectible, and closeout products.
The location is small and off the beaten path which is too bad because the older man running it was very friendly (he was playing with a Bop-it when we walked in. lol) and it was overall an interesting place.
Who I Watched
The America’s River Festival took place in the Port of Dubuque which is such a lively location. We arrived early, grabbed a great spot, and then were informed that the show was being rushed along as there was impending weather. But a little overcast sky couldn’t stop the rock ‘n roll!
• First up was Night Ranger. They totally killed it! I went in with no expectations (admittedly I only know there most popular hit Sister Christian) and was blown away.
Their energy was electric, they hammed it up for the crowd as much as possible, and even threw out guitar picks, signed someones vinyl album, and touched as many hands that went up. (I was THISCLOSE to getting fist bumped by lead signer Jack Blades)
Fun Fact: I recently discovered the ’80s movie “The Secrets To My Success” (starring Michael J. Fox) and learned at the concert that Night Ranger sang the eponymous track to that film… guess who else had a song in there? Pat Benatar! Small world!
• Steppenwolf. It’s hard to believe that Steppenwolf has been in the music biz for 50 years! Feel old, yet? They put on an excellent show, considering their age. Something fun they did was play clips from their old shows on the video screens next to the stage.
The crowd really went wild for “Born To Be Wild” but can you blame them? I’d say it was the most popular song of the night.
• Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo. I am so in awe of these two! They put on a powerful show in the short time they were allotted on stage before we all were instructed to leave early because of the weather.
I think Pat was upset most of all and tried to stretch her time out by playing a quick medley before they ushered her off. You can’t say she didn’t try to put on one heck of a show and her enthusiasm was admirable!
Next year will mark the 15th anniversary of the America’s River Festival and I would highly recommended keeping an eye on the line-up. It’s a well organized venue with lots of grounds to explore, food to fill you up, and merch to spend your dollars on.
I’d say my day in Dubuque, overall, was well spent. I had a good time and can’t wait to go back and try more new things on my next visit. What’s your favorite thing to do in new towns or cities? Tell me in the comments!
Thank you for joining me in my adventures. If you liked this post, be sure to Pin it, share it with a friend, or bookmark it for later. 🙂
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